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November 03, 2020

Gaslighting through the Ages [TheJamesMadison]

Gaslighting means to lie to someone to the point that they question their own sanity. The term entered popular culture through the 1944 movie Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman as the wife of a man played by Charles Boyer who wants to steal some precious jewels from her that had belonged to her aunt, convincing her that the footsteps she hears in the attic aren't happening though he knows full well that they're his own.

Gaslighting entered the cultural lexicon and is frequently applied to how the media treats the people it supposedly serves, in particular conservatives. In a concentrated effort to sow depression and division, the media lies about support of policies that it both backs and opposes, inflating the support of those things it wants and deflating support of things it doesn't want. This has been going on for decades, but it worked better when information flowed through a highly concentrated node called mass media, namely the three networks and, in addition, organizations like the Associated Press. The Internet made that significantly harder to do at the beginning, but the concentration into social media made it easier yet again.

At the same time, conservatives have been getting wise to the efforts and tactics of their political opponents, making the media's ability to influence the American public weaker. The overdrive adulation of Barack Obama's presidency followed by the overdrive attempted assassination of Donald Trump's presidency has made this gaslighting effort so incredibly obvious that even those not paying attention realize it.


Gaslighting in 2020

So, I'm going to tell you a story of gaslighting. There is a husband, Charles Noodles Nathan with two households. In one he has a wife, Candice Conservative, and in the other he has another wife, Pat Progressive. He's been leading this life with two separate wives in two separate households for decades, but things are getting weirdly different between them. It really became evident back in 2016.

In 2016, Charles told both Candice and Pat that in their attics was a Hillary Clinton victory. Both Candice and Pat believed it. Pat was exuberant, and Candice was dejected. Limping towards November of 2016, Candice's depression grew, convinced of Charles' story until the 8th when she finally found the keys to the attic, opened it up, and discovered a Trump victory instead. Pat was allowed the same thing. Suddenly, the two wives' moods flipped, but something devious happened.

Candice simply stopped believing Charles about anything. Pat, though, after a brief consolation that Charles was right until a week before and that next time he was going to get all the little corners he missed last time, goes right on believing everything Charles says.

Four years past with Charles lying left and right, but Candice never believes him. She just makes fun of him every time he tells her about a giant spider in the living room. She knows there's nothing. Pat, on the other hand, believes him even long after it's become obvious that there's no evidence of an 8 foot spider in the house. It's coming close to that certain day in November, and Charles really needs both Candice and Pat to believe him about what's in the attic again.

Candice just laughs at him every time he says there's a Biden win up there. She points to the boisterous music coming from the attic that sounds just so darn American and Trumpian as evidence, but Charles comes down with polls he claims come from the attic telling her that there's definitely a Biden victory up there. At the same time, Pat chooses to ignore the boisterous and Trumpian music from the attic and believes every poll Charles brings down like they were the word of God.

But, November 4th approaches, and the attic needs to open.

So, I ask you, who is the media actually gaslighting?

Candice Conservative who doesn't believe a single word that Charles Noodles Nathan is saying? Or Pat Progressive who believes every syllable?

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posted by Open Blogger at 03:02 PM

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