What Can The Trump Indictments Teach Us About Medical Propaganda?
Dissecting the anatomy of the public relations industry
Over the last few months, a variety of criminal indictments have been filed against Donald Trump. Some of my friends and colleagues support them while many others are strongly opposed to them—in many cases to a much greater extent than I’ve seen with anything else that’s happened to prior to this period. I find this quite worrying as it indicates we are moving towards a period of political instability, and those periods frequently lead to bad things for the general population.
Because of the outrage over the indictments I’ve had a variety of videos on the subject sent to me. After I watched one that recently went viral on Twitter, I realized it touched on a very important point that is independent of your current political party:
The above montage provides many examples of leaders on the left vehemently attacking the prospect of Trump pursuing criminal charges against his defeated opponent Hillary Clinton, who then, a few years later enthusiastically supported Biden doing the exact same thing to Trump.
Note: similar examples can also be found with Democratic leaders attacking the legitimacy of Trump’s election (e.g., this one) who simultaneously argued it was an assault on Democracy for Trump or anyone else to question his loss. I personally believe election fraud is a longstanding issue and have seen it be committed for decades against numerous candidates of either party I supported who dared to challenge the vested interests that own both parties.
When you look at these recent events, there are three immediate ways to interpret them:
1. The left acts in bad faith.
2. The left is stuck in a collective hypnosis where they cannot see the immense hypocrisy of what they are doing.
3. Our leaders lie constantly.
The majority of people I’ve talked to who oppose the indictments endorse the first explanation and understandably harbor negative feelings towards the left. I don’t support this interpretation because:
•I have seen both political parties repeatedly act in bad faith throughout my lifetime.
•Much of the Republican party is supporting these indictments.
•While it is fine to hold negative feelings towards leaders of a faction, I believe it is critically important to not hold those same feelings to fellow citizens support that faction. In most cases we hold far more in common with our fellow citizens than the differences we are trained to focus on. However, as long as we are divided, we can never come together to advance the things we all support (e.g., a healthy medical system).
Because of that last point, I always try to understand why people actually believe (harmful) things I disagree with rather than immediately demonizing them for holding those beliefs. In many cases, I find that the individual was essentially hypnotized and is not consciously aware of why they actually hold their beliefs and that it is hence much more productive to help them become conscious of their thought process than it is to take the easy way out and attack them.
However, the specific reason I shared this video was for the third point, as it illustrates a critically important but still relatively unrecognized component of our media—the systemic lying all of it revolves around.
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Integrity vs. Persuasion
If you want people to believe what you say, you essentially have three ways to do it:
•Trick them into believing you—sadly this is frequently the most popular strategy.
•Have a track record that suggests you are credible—something surprisingly rare in politics.
•Speak from a place where your words feel genuine—typically this goes hand in hand with having a consistent track record.
Note: to the extent that it is possible in this medium, I have tried to do the last two approaches in everything I have written here. Likewise, I’ve had that be the bedrock principle behind my medical practice. This has also been the approach the most successful physicians I know (many of whom don’t advertise publicly or even have a website) use.
Within many spiritual systems, there is a belief that when someone truly believes what they are saying, there is an energy behind their words that makes those words feel “real” (note: while to some degree this is possible to fake, very few people have the training to). Conversely, if people say things their heart is not behind, there is a hollowness and lack of solidity to the presence of their words which makes them essentially not seem real.
When I was a teenager, I started being able to notice this, and began to get quite bothered by how often I’d notice people who had a national audience (e.g., a news anchor, a politician or a CEO being interviewed) say things that had nothing behind them. As time moved forward, I’d notice again and again that these hollow words would be later be proven to be false—but almost no one would realize that meant the people they still trusted had lied through their teeth.
Note: I also find being able to recognize emotional contractions (detailed here) is immensely helpful for being able to tell where people are actually coming from.
Nayirah and the Gulf War
One of the most memorable examples of this lying happened during the Gulf War. Immediately preceding the war, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, something relatively few know he had been given tacit permission by the American ambassador to do (Iraq and Kuwait were having a dispute over oil wells). Immediately after Iraq invaded, the US media sold the war to the American public which was rapidly followed by the US military having one of most one-sided victories in history against the Iraqis (who were not expecting to have to fight us if we invaded).
Although the military operation was a complete success (which is rare these days), I view the war as a horrendous mistake because:
•The experimental anthrax vaccine deployed on the entire military caused almost 36% of soldiers (approximately 250,000 of the 697,000 who served) came down with a debilitating chronic illness that eventually came to be known as Gulf War Syndrome.
•It geopolitically destabilized the area and forced the USA to waste trillions of dollars on ultimately futile interventions there.
•Because Iraq’s oil money was reinvested into infrastructure, it had one of the highest standards of living in the Middle East. Ever since the war, it’s been a disaster (e.g., deadly violence is common, the infrastructure remains destroyed and many have died from a lack of basic things needed to live).
Note: this is also exactly the same story of what happened to Libya after its government was toppled during Obama’s presidency.
In the lead up to Gulf War, the American public really did not want a war and the media was unable to change their minds. This changed when a young girl testified in front of a Congressional human rights commission stating that Saddam Hussein’s marauding army had come to a Kuwaiti hospital and done unspeakable acts there including “taking babies out of incubators and leaving them to die on the cold floor.”
Following Nayirah’s heart-wrenching testimony (the full 6 minute testimony can be viewed here), it was repeated on every airwave (either directly or by officials quoting that soundbite), and public opinion rapidly switched to support the war. However, if you watch those officials testify, an interesting quality emerges:
Despite the gravity of what they are discussing, there is nothing behind their words. Instead it seems as though they are reading off of a script they are completely disconnected from. As it just so happened, it was later discovered the entire incident Nayirah shared was made up, that she was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador and that she had been coached to provide her entire testimony by a public relations firm hired to sell the Gulf War to America.
Because of all this, the primary filter I and many of my friends use to determine if we support someone is if it feels like their being is behind their words. Sadly candidates like that (e.g., Ron Paul or Tulsi Gabbard) are quite rare and are almost always heavily marginalized by both political parties.
Empaths and Propaganda
Throughout my life, I’ve always noticed the majority of the population will follow the crowd, but a there is also a minority of the population who break from their peers and see through the nonsense and lies everyone else is falling for. Since I believe that trait existing within the population is one of the most important things for a Democracy to work, I’ve tried to highlight what gives rise to it here so people can be encouraged to embrace those parts of themselves (e.g., I’ve discussed how this trait characterizes many of the most talented physicians I know and the individuals who spoke out against the COVID narrative).
One of core traits of that demographic is that they have a higher degree of sensitivity, and they perceive or notice things things most other people do not pick up on—leading to them often being labeled as “empaths.” Time and time again, I’ve noticed these empaths make very unorthodox choices which required them to bear the consequences of breaking from their peers (including their peers who identify as being “alternative”).
Whenever I would ask them why they made that choice to go against the grain, irrespective of their knowledge on the topic (ofter they knew almost nothing) the answer is normally “I just could tell it was wrong.” So amongst other things, individuals who have nothing behind their words stick out like a sore thumb to an empath.
Sadly, the sensitivity of empaths to the lies around them goes hand in hand with their sensitivity to being affected (and sometimes injured) by things in their environment. For instance, I recently completed an article on the curious phenomenon of personalities (e.g., memories, skills and a wide range of preferences) transferring after heart transplants. In it, I shared that this was observed to only happened to a minority of transplant recipients, and that those it happened to had many of the personality traits I associate with the empath archetype.
My own life experience has been over and over meeting empaths who had remarkably important insights about what was wrong with the world (and were driven to fix them), who then had a very bad reaction to a medical therapy and ended up being permanently disabled because of it. In turn, one of my missions with this Substack (and the focus of my previous article) has been to promote awareness of that constitutional archetype and the need to recognize that the standard treatment algorithms are often not appropriate for these patients.
Most importantly however, while there are certain hypersensitive individuals, I believe most people have varying degrees of these sensitivities and can pick up on things like hollow words if they look for them. For example, whenever I talk to people who had severe medical injuries (irrespective of if they are empaths), they often tell me before they consented to the procedure, their intuition (e.g., their heart) told them not to do it, but for one reason or another (e.g., the doctor pressuring them) they ignored that intuition—leading to one of their deepest regrets being not listening to that little voice.
The History of Propaganda
One of the oldest debates in human history is what form of government is ideal, as virtually every one in history had done horrific things to its people and often failed miserably at fulfilling its basic responsibilities. This continual failure for example has made many argue the only viable form of government is a “benevolent dictatorship” where one wise and well-intentioned philosopher king has absolute power over a nation—unfortunately it is nearly impossible to ensure that whoever grasps the reins of power will actually at all act in that manner.
Note: in most of the rare cases I’ve identified where where a benevolent ruler come to power, they were either conquered by a less compassionate ruler, or succeeded by a tyrant.
At this point, I believe only two forms of government (which while still flawed) have proven themselves:
•The first are ones that encourage cultivating the consciousness and character of every member in the society. A few isolated groups throughout history have pulled this off and had remarkable governments, but like the benevolent dictators, tended to be conquered by less benevolent parties. Other groups (e.g., much of Western culture due to our Judeo-Christian values) did this to lesser degrees, but did so in conjunction with a functional governmental system and in turn were able to have much better societies than those with a similar governments that lacked a similar societal code.
•The second are ones that create a checks and balances type system where every party has the power to counter what another does so it’s impossible to for bad actors to go too far (instead their desire for power requires them to do nice things for the country). This for example is why I believe America has had such a successful government compared to much of the rest of the world; our constitution provides a wide range of checks and balances which makes hard for bad actors to do things that are too objectionable.
Since people in charge, especially sociopaths (who tend to be disproportionately represented in the power structure since they work the hardest to get power) always want to be the ones in control, people in power always attack things that give power to the people (e.g., the two forms of government I just listed).
As told by this article, in the early 1900s, a longstanding debate was if the general populace (the masses) could be trusted to chose the correct direction for society, or if it should be decided by a qualified elite. As you might imagine, the social elites tended to believe in the masses should not decide their own fate.
Note: I feel that decision was a rather shortsighted mindset, as time and time again, after those elites took the rights away from the common people that protected everyone from the government, the government would turn on the elites who had brought it to power and execute them as well (e.g., consider what Stalin did to many members of the communist leadership).
By the time of World War I, technology had begun to change the equation because recent discoveries had birthed the modern discipline of propaganda. For instance, on behalf of the tobacco industry, Edward Bernays had recently broken the societal taboo against women smoking by crafting a sneaky campaign that had the act of smoking be associated with women’s liberation and the right to vote—which demonstrated this approach had immense potential for those wishing to use it.
Now that an effective tool had been developed to control the masses, the elites eagerly embraced it, justifying their position with the argument that technology had made society become too complex for the common people (who were not experts) to know what was right for society. A strong debate occurred, as many on the other side understandably felt that it invalidated the entire point of a Democracy if it used propaganda to control their citizens and they instead argued that the educational system should be retooled to create a citizenry who could understand the complexity of the modern age and would be able to vote in the best interest of society.
Note: I presently feel many of the “complex” issues we face are not actually that complicated. Rather they have just been obscured by confusing terminology and intellectual constructs created by the experts assigned to manage them. This is somewhat analogous to how many “hard to grasp” diseases in medicine are actually just the immediate symptoms being restated in Latin.
Unfortunately, the World Wars shifted the momentum to the propagandists’ camp, especially after everyone saw the power of Hitler’s propaganda and realized unless the allies could match it, the war would be lost. The anti-propagandists did their best to oppose this but gradually faded into the background.
In turn, our government switched from being a Democracy to one where decisions were largely made within the elite, and then through the power of propaganda enacted into policy. The best way I can think to describe what I have observed throughout my lifetime is with the following flow chart:
The reason I think the above chart is very useful is because it allows you to put the propaganda you see into context and from that accurately predict what will happen in the future.
Furthermore, I would like to note that the most important part of this chart to understand are the test runs. My attention is always raised when I see something really unusual (and unacceptable) being promoted within a limited context (e.g., to a small group or somewhere far away), as this leads me to assume if it goes relatively unchallenged that the same policy will eventually be implemented on the general population. For example, much of the unacceptable censorship we saw of vital medical information throughout COVID-19 was preceded by censorship and deplatforming of easy to target groups (e.g., parts of the alt-right due to “hate speech” violations) during Obama’s presidency.
In the case of COVID-19, I was not taken by surprise that we had lockdowns, effectively outlawed treatments for the disease and then mandated unsafe experimental vaccines as I had already seen smaller successful “tests” be implemented for similar things in the past. Likewise, the fear I and many others hold is that COVID-19 was a test run for if something much more draconian could be pushed on the public in the future, and that is one of the reasons why I believe it is so important to challenge the official narrative and set the record straight on what happened over the last three years.
Once propaganda became more sophisticated and made it for possible for any message to become truth (getting women to smoke was a big deal), an industry naturally emerged to efficiently serve the needs of all the clients who would need a message at odds with reality to be pushed forward for them. That industry, public relations (PR), is commonly viewed as a subset of marketing (e.g., many communications and marketing majors go into PR for employment).
In my eyes the major problems with PR for our society is that:
•It’s typically highly effective—thereby destroying the incentive to behave well since PR can normally get as good a result or better than what would be gained from acting with integrity and not causing harm.
•It’s relatively cheap, so it is normally cheaper to pay for PR than it is to do the right thing.
Because of these two points, PR has become an increasing fixture of American society and I can name countless widely held (and dysfunctional) beliefs in our society that originated from a corporate marketing department which then tasked a PR firm to make the belief become part of our culture. Likewise, as I discussed in a recent article about the wildfires in Maui, whenever a large environmental disaster happens (e.g., Fukishima or BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico) it can normally be learned after the fact that the corporation responsible for the disaster was fully aware the disaster was likely to happen in future if they did not get their act together. However, time and time again that doesn’t happen because the corporations can see the money they save by not fixing their poor practices is much more than it costs them to have a PR firm clean up their mess after the fact.
Since PR has been a large (but mostly invisible) constantly growing industry and has existed for decades, they’ve had a lot of time and money to refine their approaches (i.e., last year the Global PR market was estimated at 100 billion, much of which was spent within the United States and on one major source growth for the industry was its promotion of the COVID narrative).
Like many other institutions, once they find an approach that effectively meets their needs (in this case tricking the public), the PR industry tends to use it over and over and over. As a result, while PR is continuously evolving (i.e., some of the techniques used now are much more advanced and subliminal than those that were out there when I first started studying this), much of it is the exact same and has been reused ad-infinitum.
My introduction to this subject came from the book “Trust Us, We Are Experts,” one of the few I truly wish was required reading in schools. To give you an idea of it’s content, this is one remarkable account from the authors who were discussing about their previous book on the subject:
In the spring of 1995, while we were finishing up the book Toxic Sludge is Good for You, I got a call from a very pleasant woman by the name of Nancy Blatt who said she was with the Water Environment Federation. The Water Environment Federation is the sewage sludge industry. It’s this massive Washington DC based nationwide lobby that represents all the municipal sewage sludge plants.
Nancy Blatt was calling to say that she had heard we had a book coming out in the fall of ’95 with this title Toxic Sludge is Good For You, and that she was quite concerned by the title because in fact they don’t really consider it toxic anymore and they don’t like to call it sludge. It’s now called biosolids—a natural organic fertilizer and she was very worried that if we maintained the title of our book it might interfere with their education campaign funded by the Environmental Protection Agency that was going to convince farmers across the United States to take sewage sludge and spread it on farmland.
They actually sponsored a contest to come up with this Orwellian Name “biosolids.” They invented the name, and then they went about moving the name into the dictionary and ensuring that the dictionary definition of the name would not include “sludge.”
[note: Based on this account, I am relatively sure “sludge” did not test well with focus groups]
No matter how cynical you think you are about Public Relations, and what it’s involved with and which issues it’s working on, you really can’t keep up with the Public Relations industry. There really is a campaign telling us toxic sludge is good for us.
Note: There are a variety of issues with eating food sprayed with sewage sludge (which has since become a common practice). One of them is that since aluminum is used at treatment plants to condense the organic sewage into a solid sludge that can be separated from water (due to it collapsing the organic matter’s zeta potential—in the same way vaccine aluminum causes clots to form in the blood), aluminum (along with lots of other things) is present in that sludge and then ends up in our food. Many people believe the aluminum in our crops is due to it being sprayed from the sky, but I have always thought my explanation is more plausible (although it’s less clear how you could prove either).
After I published this article, one reader directed me to a fascinating discovery by the ethical skeptic. The spread of SARS-CoV-2 in human and animal populations largely matched the deployment of biosolids—indicating that the virus first entered the sewer system after being expelled by infected people (this process is well known which is why the CDC uses sewage water testing to track outbreaks) and then was spread across the country by infected sewage. I did not agree with the hypothesis put forward by in Watch the Water (that snake venom was intentionally being added to the water supply to make people get ill), but assuming this theory is correct, through a more indirect route, COVID was in fact being spread through the water supply.
To quote one executive from a PR firm:
You never know when a PR agency is being effective; you’ll just find your views slowly shifting.
If you are interested in learning more about this subject, I would highly recommend watching the documentary version of Toxic Sludge is Good For You starring fellow Substacker Mark Crispin Miller:
The Design of PR
In my opinion, the most important thing to understand about PR are the specific techniques used. A few of the classic ones include:
1. Having teams come up with sculpted language to convince the public to believe in the sponsor’s message. Once potential phrases are identified, each one is tested with a focus group , and the one that is most effective is adopted (language is often chosen that has a hypnotic quality and emotionally draws you in unless you consciously recognize it’s doing that to you).
This is why when you observe public figures discuss topics or debate them, they will frequently avoid actually engaging with the subject at hand and instead just try to insert their canned lines as many times as possible—in other words the opposite of having any of their being behind their words.
2. Cultivate a network of news stations that can rapidly disseminate the chosen message to the public—something which has become easier and easier to do as the entire media has become monopolized (almost all of the media networks are now owned by only six companies, which is a big part of why dissenting voices that challenge the current narrative are rarely allowed to be on television). This monopolization is why we often see an odd phrase suddenly appear everywhere and then becoming the national narrative. Per my current understanding, frequently, these campaigns are coordinated by the White House.
The montage below illustrates how this done:
Note: I wish a similar one of these had been made for the identical scripts that were used to demonize “election deniers.”
3. Focused messaging that suggest the party clearly at fault for a disaster cares about its victims (this is why you always hear so many clearly scripted apologies in the media which you can feel have nothing behind them).
4. Produce advertisements for a client’s product that are made to look like news reports and then providing them to local news stations to air—thereby making viewers not realize they are actually watching an infomercial. Since the local news stations are short on money, they will typically air the content as their own so they don’t need to pay for producing high production quality content.
Note: many journalists hate having to regurgitate stuff they don’t believe in each day to the public and every now and then a journalist (especially at a local station) gets sick of it and quits on air. As the industry has gotten more monopolized, it’s become harder and harder for them to do that as speaking out against the narrative economically blacklists them—which is one reason why I think Substack providing a way for journalists to make a living doing real investigative reporting is so critical for our Democracy.
5. Paying a credible sounding third party (like the previously mentioned Water Environment Foundation) to promote a client’s message. What is so amazing about this approach is how effective it is—in every industry there are tons of groups like this which are often held in high regard by the general public despite almost all of their funding coming from corporations.
For example in medicine, patient advocacy groups exist for every disease in existence, but many of those groups are largely funded by the pharmaceutical industry (e.g. consider how much pharma gives to the American Diabetes Foundation). These groups reciprocate this investment by promoting unhealthy products (the American Heart Association is notorious for putting its seal on unhealthy junk food), rapidly producing experts to defend industry viewpoints and always authoring guidelines necessitating the use of expensive pharmaceuticals.
Likewise many other “impartial” groups also do the exact same thing. Some of the particularly impactful examples during COVID-19 included:
•The medical journals (which we trust for our medical evidence) are largely funded by big pharma, and only publish studies that support their sponsors, irrespective of how strong the evidence is for another viewpoint (e.g., that there were ways to treat COVID-19 or that the experimental vaccines were unsafe and ineffective).
•The expert panel which decided the most appropriate evidence based treatment for COVID-19 (which everyone else followed) was composed of “experts” appointed by Fauci who were all taking money from remdesivir’s manufacturer and then amazingly decided that remdesivir was the treatment for COVID-19, even though it was dangerous and ineffective. As you might guess, they also refused to look at COVID-19 treatments which were safe and effective.
•The CDC has taken almost a billion dollars from industry (discussed here) and has been repeatedly called out for then conducting research or promoting messages that supported its sponsors. Many in turn have noticed throughout the pandemic that the CDC has aggressively endorsed the use of the COVID vaccines, even when doing so was extremely questionable (e.g., adding the COVID vaccines to the childhood vaccine schedule even though children are at no risk from COVID).
Note: The remarkable thing about the third party approach is how effective it is, and at least until recently, how few people could see through it. For example, leaders in the evidence based medical field (including senior editors of the premier journals) have been complaining about the corruption and unreliability of those journals—yet most people still assume they are the gold standard for objective truth.
In addition to these techniques, there are a variety of other approaches the PR industry uses as well, but I believe these five are good to focus on because they make it crystal clear how much of our media is fake news designed purely to push a sponsor’s message or product on you.
The Decline of Vertical Propaganda
Because PR works, it has gradually evolved into a well-oiled machine that consistently gets the results its sponsors desire. This has been particularly tragic to watch in the presidential campaigns, as time and time again, I would see a candidate who I felt genuinely cared about doing the right thing (due to their heart being behind their words) and advocated for policies I agreed with (e.g., no unnecessary wars) get their candidacy destroyed by the media in a very similar fashion. Watching the process made me genuinely wonder if it was possible for anyone who the establishment did not want to be elected to be elected.
It was thus fascinating to watch Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as he found an out of the box way to make the media going after him support rather than hurt his campaign. The upside to Trump’s antagonistic approach was that it allowed a candidate running on the populist positions first made popular by Ross Perot in 1992 (Perot was the most successful independent candidate in US history) to at last be elected, while the downside was that it greatly upset and polarized much of the population—both of which had a massive effect on America that will likely ripple out far into the future.
For almost a century, our entire propaganda apparatus has run on a vertical model where a chosen message for influencing the public is designed at a central location and then disseminated through the major mediums to the entire society (e.g., the identical crafted talking points ending up on every news station). This model was fairly effective prior to the internet as it was very difficult for an unapproved message to be distributed to a wide audience. However, near the end of Obama’s presidency, this began to change (which I believe is why he initiated the push for Big Tech to “
curate” censor information online)
This is important because it erroded the economic viability of vertical propaganda. Crafting those messages takes a lot of money, and keeping the major news stations running costs hundreds of millions of dollars—yet self-funded citizen journalists and creative anonymous individuals (e.g., the ones who make memes) can often have a bigger and much faster impact than the legacy platforms. In the past, large networks could get away with feeding us empty content crafted by their sponsors, but now that they no longer have a monopoly on information, low budget content distributed in a horizontal fashion that feels “real” often wins in the marketplace.
Trump’s presidency greatly accelerated this process because he made questioning the news be a mainstream political viewpoint and simultaneously caused members of the public to begin to spot each of the classic PR tactics due to how overused they were against him. For instance, like the example at the start of this article showed, the talking points everyone bellowed at the top of their lungs (but simultaneously were empty because there was nothing behind them) frequently took a 180° turn in response to something Trump did and the same people switched to espousing the exact opposite argument.
As someone critical of the medical industry, I felt the most important shift occurred when Trump floated the idea to the public of using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 (which I believe he did because Fauci was blocking it from getting into the treatment guidelines). When he did that, predictably, the exact same playbook was used to ridicule and dismiss Trump’s suggestion I’ve seen used for countless other therapies that challenged the medical industrial complex’s monopoly.
The PR campaign essentially accomplished its goal (HCQ never made it into the treatment guidelines and staffers we spoke to in the Trump Whitehouse during COVID became terrified of being crucified by the media for endorsing other unorthodox therapies). Yet, using this strategy simultaneously drew the public’s attention to the fact most of the media was lying to protect the pharmaceutical industry and because of this, when the vaccines came out a year later—many refused to vaccinate.
This was quite remarkably given that the vaccine brand was (sadly) one of the most trusted brands in America and we witnessed the most aggressive PR campaign in history to sell the COVID shots to the public—which was effective to the point many people you would never have imagined to vaccinate (e.g., doctors who specialize in treating vaccine injured children and longtime critics of America’s propaganda complex like Noam Chomsky) got vaccinated.
Note: one of the core reasons I suspected the vaccines would be incredibly dangerous was because of how aggressive the PR campaign to sell them was. Its aggression made me suspect that before long the dangers of the vaccine would prevent people from wanting to vaccinate, so all the stops were being taken out to ensure a rapid initial vaccination uptake. Ironically enough, one of the first severely injured people I heard about had actually worked on one of the PR campaigns for the mRNA vaccines.
Since the initial vaccine marketing campaign, the implosion of the vertical propaganda model has continued to accelerate as the vaccines it pushed instead proved themselves to be a spectacular failure and severely injured many. Yet despite this, the same vertical propaganda is still being used to insist the vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary to be repeatedly boosted with—something I attribute to the majority of human beings being unable to change their strategy even when it clearly does not work (instead they typically double down as we are seeing now).
In short, propaganda rather than increasing public trust in the government and our institutions is doing the opposite of its intended function and increasing distrust in them. To be completely honest, exactly where this will go is a bit of an open ended question. On one hand, I could see it forcing America to revert to model envisioned when this all started (where we collectively cultivate our public so they can address the complexity of the modern age without being told what to do). On the other hand, I also think those attached to the vertical propaganda model will not want to let it go and continue to try to tighten their grasp in the vain hope they can hold onto it.
Because of this, I feel we are at a very tumultuous point in history, and it is both very possible we will move to a model like the one the original critics of propaganda envisioned or to an age of censorship where each available technology (e.g., AI) is methodically utilized to control and shape our reality. From asking around, I’ve found that the underlying motivation of many in this movement (e.g., the prominent COVID dissidents) is to help steer us towards that brighter future, and likewise that is why I’ve put so much time into this Substack.
Take a step back and imagine for a moment what the world would be like now if the American people had been able to recognize Nayirah’s testimony was fake. Beyond all the unforgivable casualties in Iraq (both for our troops and the Iraqi people), we likely would have never been able to start our decades of wars in the Middle East which permanently destabilized the region, weakened us geopolitically, and impoverished America by siphoning all of the money that should have been helping our people to the military-industrial-complex.
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Behind the Facade
One of the things that has motivated me to spend so much time studying propaganda has been to turn it into a challenge and see if I can read between the lines on a PR campaign to correctly predict what will happen in the future.
In a similar vein, one of the other challenges I’ve given myself is if I can accurately get a sense of who someone is by observing them—something I’ve fortunately had a great deal of practice with as a physician. In the public sphere, this is quite tricky to do from afar since politics and the media is all about public figures acting out a carefully crafted persona in tandem with the public placing their internal projections onto that persona.
Note: I cannot understate how hard it is for us to objectively assess other people, as our preconceived notions and filters we see reality through inevitably color how we see the world (discussed further here). This is why you can often have two people who see the exact same thing but be 100% convinced of entirely different narratives regarding what just transpired.
Because of all of this, I’ve had a long term interest in finding people who directly know public figures and comparing their accounts of the individual to my own assessment so I can see where my judgements were correct, and more importantly, where I was wrong.
So for example, colleagues have treated well-known celebrities, and shared with me that once you get past all the images created around them, they are pretty normal (and ofter quite nice) people who struggle with all the same things the rest of us do. Unfortunately, because they are hounded by the paparazzi (which is quite stressful), it’s very hard for them to show most of that to the public.
In the case of politics, I’ve met numerous direct friends of the politicians I had a good impression of (based on there being energy behind their words) and they all essentially had the same impression of the politician that I did from afar. With the more influential people, it’s been understandably harder for me to find people who knew them directly and in many cases, what I’ve heard came through two rather than one degree of separation—which creates a lot more room for lies and perceptual distortions.
Since that makes it a bit more speculative, I’ve gone back and forth on what to do with it. I would still like to share what I’ve heard over the years about Trump, Clinton and Obama in the final part of this article—but at the same time have a smaller audience for that. Lastly, in advance I want to apologize to any of you who are locked out of commenting on this article; Substack does not allow you to have open comments on articles that have any part of their content restricted to select subscribers.
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