We can’t believe anything is true just because it’s on the internet. Unfortunately, many people believe things they see on the internet and take them as facts, especially when it’s in alignment with their beliefs. On today’s podcast, Bill Stierle and Tom look into the power of published messages and how people perceive them as truth. Using a commercial for a state farm insurance as an illustration, they emphasize how we should all be cautious about the internet and check our biases at the door to really see how much truth is in there.
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Finding The Truth In Published Messages
The internet is a double-edged sword.
It’s crazy. We’ve got the need for truth and we’ve got the information we want to do. People want to be free to meet their need for expression and get things out in the world. There’s some magic to that and there are some other things that go with that. Let’s see how we can get some truth out of this.
There’s a wonderful commercial and it’s a cautionary tale about the internet and it’s humorous. The wonderful thing is it’s not political, which I appreciate. It’s a YouTube commercial for State Farm Insurance. It’s a State Farm commercial where two people are talking on the street, two acquaintances. They’re having a discussion about the internet, like, “Where did you learn about this?” “On the internet.” “How do you know it’s true?” “It was on the internet.” It feeds on itself and becomes humorous when you see the beliefs this person has.
To those of you, you can appreciate some of it but I recommend you go to the blog post and watch the video because you’ll get the humor of it. I was having to hold myself back from laughing again when she says, “Here’s my date. He’s a French model.” When you look at this guy, he’s not a French model. It’s meant to be humorous and it’s over the top in terms of few people would believe he’s a French model and a few people would believe everything is true just because it’s on the internet. Unfortunately, or regrettably, too many people do believe things they see on the internet and they take it as fact, especially when it’s in alignment with their beliefs.
The biases and beliefs that we have, the preset conjuring in our brand brain called French model. Already, the blinders are up from the phrase French model. All of a sudden, if you’re believing that French model is something that’s gorgeous and has a wonderful, aesthetic value and I can’t wait to be next to this person, the woman is telling herself the story based on the French ideal that she’s going out with a French model. She can tell her friends, “I’m dating a French model.” Meanwhile, he doesn’t look like a French model. He doesn’t even have enough things other than he is projecting himself like that.
It’s humorous because when you’re watching it, you go like, “She can’t be that gullible. Can’t she?” She can’t even see-through that the guy is probably not telling the truth around the French model because, “It’s not like you are a French model to anybody.” One of the double-edged swords of the internet is it’s an interesting place to start. It’s an okay place to start for truth, but you got to check your biases at the door and you got to set it aside like, “How much truth is there in that? How much is it there? How much trust do we want to place in this wonderful resource that’s in front of us? It might not be true.
I love and appreciate the internet for all of the dangers and all of the problems that exist in the world because of it. There are many things that I love about it. It keeps me in touch with friends and family, half a world apart from that otherwise I would not be in touch with. I have a weekly happy hour Zoom call with my friends. We became my friends when we were in third grade and we’ve been friends ever since, but we’re much closer because of Zoom and using the internet. Facebook does the same thing with a lot of my high school class that I keep in touch with people that I would never would be in touch with.
There are wonderful things about it. Along with having all these wonderful freedoms we have in the United States, appreciating them, valuing them, being willing to fight for them, the reality is being an American citizen comes with responsibility too. We have to understand that people can say whatever they want on the internet. If I see a message that maybe seems too good to be true, or I haven’t personally done the research on it, I’m going to go digging and find out where does the truth lies. Is it real? Is it not? We all have a responsibility to do that, but regrettably, not a lot of people are doing that.
It’s the pressure on us. There are people who are taking it well. It’s a weird thing to say, but there’s always been this since the beginning of TV and radio. There has been this projection of truth and trust towards that technology that somebody on the other end is vetting this material that’s coming in our direction. The new media that took place before the start of World War II was the radio. Before the World War II, there was a radio signal that Nazi Germany sent out to deliver the messages of propaganda and the same thing that America was starting to figure out how to learn out how do you send messages over the radio.
People that were listening projected truth through this media because it was how they were accessing the outside world to get an understanding of their outside world. “I’m living in this house. I’m raising my kids. I’m listening to this radio show. I am trusting this radio show.” When something comes on like a newscast that has the feel of a newscast, that looks like a newscast, people don’t like them to, but they do not create a line and say, “This is more about entertainment than it is about the news.”
I know that we’ve talked about this in past episodes, but even Orson Welles Show, which was a science fiction entertainment show, when he started talking about the evasion of Martians and War of The Worlds, people believed it. It caused a panic. A person committed suicide rather than to be eaten by the Martians. We are thinking, “How could a person believe that so quickly?” Our human belief structures are set up for storytelling. We’re set up to tell and believe stories. That’s problematic because we’re believing stories that are not true and then even ones that are in effect to our detriment.
It’s easy with the internet to put stories out there that are hard for people to vet or at least for the average person that is believable. Unfortunately, talking about communication here in this show, the reality is if the message is already something that they would tend to believe that the audience, or would want to believe if it’s in alignment with their biases, they tend to not question it and not research it. It continues to give the false story oxygen and then riles people up. The biggest example we can use that makes sense of this is the violence that’s been happening across America in cities. Share with us what you have found from your research on that.
I started with an internet piece. I saw something on the internet and I said, “What is the difference between the right violence and the left violence? How many have there been where there a death has been couriered because of a belief structure on the right versus a belief structure on the left?” I saw a video about it. It said, “There are over 101 videos of violent deaths from the right and there’s three from the left.”The internet is a double-edged sword. Click To Tweet
I said, “Could that possibly be true that a person that is more left-leaning only committed three acts of violence and on the right, there could be over 101 violent pieces?” I then looked further. These are cases of violence that are real, that this piece of video that I watched had more vetting behind it than other pieces of things. I said, “Now, I have this 1st and 2nd source, how about a third source?” I looked again, I go like, “The numbers are good. I’m seeing it from a couple of different sources.” It’s one thing to see the initial imprint, but it’s another thing to validated and find out, is there other research or people using the information to give us good truth? Another thing that’s important is whether it’s medical studies or it’s the promises that certain products promote. Is there a secondary piece of research?
In Purchasing Truth, one of the things that we do is saying, “Are there any validation studies?” We don’t fund validation studies. Some scientists don’t do validations. They don’t even look at it and then meanwhile, the media is saying, “Red wine helped your heart.” There wasn’t enough research about this, but this paper wrote something. It was particularly things that got some traction. There is a molecule in red wine that helps.
The researcher says, “This molecule and chemical is here, so that must mean that red wine is good for your heart.” The local evening news picked it up and then it ran around all over the place. The same thing as promises with chocolates. It does take a little bit of looking at things 2, 3 or 4 times before we can say, “It’s still not a 100% true, but I’m looking at it as a good place where I can create some stability on the truth about.”
This is helpful to talk about because we’ve seen and we talked briefly about this in a past episode, but there was a Republican campaign television commercial that used video of fires, raging, and protests to say that there’s too much violence in America and it’s part of Donald Trump labeling himself the law and order president saying, “You elect me, we will have law and order. We will not have this kind of fires and out of control violence.” When people did the research on that, the videos they were using of the protest and the fires that were raging, the violence that was there was from Barcelona, Spain in 2019. It wasn’t even in the United States.
That one’s difficult because the picture conveyed rioting, but it wasn’t the truth of rioting. The scope of the ramp writing wasn’t captured because all you got to do to get the truth is standing in front of that burned building but it wasn’t capturing the piece regarding rioting. Was it the scope of a district that the thing and is this a photo op to do something? We both know that if somebody wants to sell a message, they’ve got to sell the message that they want to sell.
Whether it’s the right message or a left message, we’re not naive that the right and the left don’t try to capture the truth or create and capture up perspective. Why is healthcare not being redone? There’s too much money in emergency rooms and elective surgeries. If you take those two pieces and you level them out, there’s too much money that’s in those different activities. We’re set up to be an emergency room culture. We’re fueling our crisis mindset. We’re setting up tension where there doesn’t need to be tension. We’re not interested in the peaceful process of making a decision. We’re escalating conflict and crisis in order to be more impulsive, create more scarcity and Americans are the ones with a whole set of mental health issues in comparison to other nations. We’re the ones that worked wheat because it’s good for capitalism.
That’s a sweeping way to say it, but it doesn’t mean that other societies that have authoritarianism don’t have their set of psychological problems and their set of hopeless and helpless set up about nothing changing, which causes a series of psychological issues for that culture. I’m not naive to say that there are no psychological problems on both sides. Do we need to create that? I think that you sent me a news anchor or a columnist that sent me something about that that leads into it’s like, “What is government for? Is it for this thing that we’re doing it or we should get it back to where it needs to be?”
That was a video put out by S.E. Cupp. She’s talking about Joe Biden and the title is He’s Speaking My Love Language. To her, she’s like exacerbated, overloaded with all the political rhetoric, with the divisiveness with the country being torn apart. She’s like, “At the end of the day, I don’t care about specific agenda or policies that Joe Biden is in alignment with or would advocate for. I want some calm, peace, and restoration in America. It needs to get off of the rollercoaster.”
It’s compelling and she is not any left-leaning liberal. She is a Republican, but she’s never been on Donald Trump’s team and believes in conservative values and all sorts of things. Donald Trump is not conservatism and he’s not in alignment with her views like many other Republicans do. This is unhealthy for America. The government should be providing basic stability and support for everyone. She believes that Joe Biden is going to restore that. Others also do. There was another article posted with the title, Ex-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is the latest Republican to back Joe Biden for many similar reasons. It’s something but when you talked earlier about the violence from the left versus the right, the number of violent incidents in protests in cities around the country, and how that proportionality is not in alignment with the messages that are being put out in our media.
I had no idea that there were few incidents of violence from left organized protest versus compared to the ones on the right. Bill, I’d love it if you can give me some of those references. We need to practice what we preach and make sure to look it up for themselves. What to me is shocking is Donald Trump is labeling himself the law and order president saying that ironically, all the violence that’s happening under the Donald Trump administration is something that is only going to go away if Donald Trump is reelected. He’s stoking fear into the American public.
The weird part on the distinction I would like the Bidens campaign and the democratic party to get a hold of is that when somebody says that they’re the law and the order president, they’re drafting on a well-established brand, a TV brand, the TV show called Law & Order. The law part has to do with the courts and the order part has to do with the police. There’s a legal system, and then there’s the other system and both of them work together to get to the law and order position.
What I would like people to do like my request would be is to separate the two words and say, the law is the written piece over here that one can be prosecuted from. The order piece is the police and or the military that can enact and is supposed to pay attention to the laws over here and acting in accordance with those two things. If you start chiseling away at the law and only make the law applicable to certain circumstances or situations, and you get an agreement that you can weaken the law and make a law weaker so the order part does it know how to follow it.
He’s then not the law and order president. He’s the fear and order president. Fear drives order, not law. If I can conflate a peaceful protest or the word protest, which is a chaotic upset, that’s what a protest is. There are a couple of people expressing themselves. If I can get the riot piece or the damaged piece to work with the assembly piece, I can then take the order of people and get them scared and armed them, or even called for scared armed people to come out of the woodworks that are not trained.We’re set up to be an emergency room culture where we're fueling our crisis mindset. Click To Tweet
I can get them to police people that I don’t like their messaging and the way they’re represented in this country. Those people need to be contained. A young person that’s seventeen years old and hearing that call to order is going to act against the law and shoot people. That’s what happened in Kenosha. We’re fearful. We need help on the order part of it, bring your gun and it translates that way. Even the police officers could possibly and some of them may have got caught up into it were fearful about these people. Look at the militia that did show, “I’m happy about having you guys here. We appreciate your support.” Meanwhile, that’s not a strong message because it’s saying you get to have the same cover with the law that we do because police officers have a little bit more cover with the law with some of their agreements with their unions and you get to have a cover.
They have training vet these citizens taking up arms and militias and Kyle Rittenhouse of the world who decide to pick up a weapon and go to a protest doesn’t have.
For many people, the law is too slow for them. The reason why it’s too slow for them is, the long arm of the law has been stretched too far. People can run out the clock because they can run out the money of the participants. All of a sudden the person says, “I’m not going to bring that case because it’s going to take too long. It’s going to cost too much money.” Justice is left up to the individual. Now, justice wants to take and it’s going to take too long. I can run the clock out if I act upon my form of justice.
Now you got people taking the law into their own hands.
We American prided itself on being a part of the law. Here’s the weird part about this, and I’m going to conflate another word with the word law. Regulation is a law. It’s a regulation that a person’s going to follow. If you don’t follow this regulation, then there’s going to be a fine. There’s been a conflating of those two things. The pounding on regulation has been that regulations are bad. Republicans have been running on regulations that have been bad for 30 years, but what happens is it means that I get to take away laws that I don’t like.
The laws that affect rich, wellness, choice, independence, freedom and financial security at the expense of the others. There’s a law that says that we can’t do predatory lending. Let’s take that law away. Welcome to the 2008 marketing crash, the financial crisis on real estate. We don’t even talk about it as a real estate crisis but it was. It was the deregulation of lending processing practices towards real estate. All of a sudden, you’ve got all these predatory lenders that show up because they don’t have a law. No wonder no one went to jail.
That’s scary, but that’s true that no one went to jail.
It’s because the regulations were lifted. Even when they went to fix it and they tried to put the regulations back in place, they put an expiration on it so that they can do it again in four more years or eight more years from now. They’re all ramping back up.
It’s happening again and with the current economic crisis, largely due to Coronavirus, there’s a lot more people that are going to be upset on in their homes and able to pay their mortgages and even more people than would have because they went back to some of the same lending practices. It’s unfortunate.
We can do an episode on crisis capitalism and we should probably take this one on because this is how capitalism can set. This is a little more the dark side of capitalism. Create a crisis so that a person of wealth can scoop up something at a discount rate. There’s a Katrina piece to this and there’s the Puerto Rico piece to it but at least it gives us a nice off-ramp to get our audiences thinking about and coming back to the message of, “We got to pay attention how truth is working and wake up to see how do we restore instead of the law and order president. Call him what he is. He’s the fear and order president.” That’s what he’s doing. He’s not a law guy. He’s a fear guy.
What happened in Portland is an alignment to that as well because there was an armed force of people in military outfits with no identification. “Who are you?” You’re taking and arresting people, putting them in unmarked vans that were no identity. That stoked a lot of fear in the people. That’s in alignment with the fear and order president as well.
Tom, there are more to come on this. We got more to do. This doesn’t go away after the election. We’ve got a lot of restoration to take place. We’ll talk about what it takes to get that because that’s what we need next. Take a breath, everybody, and let’s see what we can come up next.
Thanks, Bill. Talk to you next time.
All right. Bye.
- YouTube – Can’t Lie On The Internet
- He’s Speaking My Love Language
- Ex-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is the latest Republican to back Joe Biden
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