Just when I thought newspapers couldn’t become any more tabloid a free copy of the Nutter Times (Epoch News) shows up in my mailbox. Seems something like this shows up every couple of years. Sometimes different titles, sometimes not.
For quite a while I found myself on the Hillsdale right-wing propaganda mailing list. For a college they put out some seriously nutter stuff. Honestly I think one or more friends punked me by signing me up for the thing. So far nobody has fessed up. I finally had to write and demand they remove me from the mailing list. I forget what the article was; just remember it jumped both the shark and a whale.
I was going to include this in my thank you to Adam Kinzinger because it ties into the Kankakee Daily Journal article I pointed out to him. Yes, my dear reader, that article jumped the shark, a whale, and three dolphin.
It was beyond irresponsible that any editorial staff would allow it to go to print. One had to be condoning the agenda. On January 6, 2021, that article ceased being a freedom of speech issue and became part of the investigation. We have freedom of speech in this country thanks to the First Amendment. We also have U.S. Code Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 115 2385 – Advocating overthrow of Government.
Years ago, long before I was born, the Kankakee Daily Journal used to be more up-front. It used to be called the Kankakee Republican-news.
Where is it written that a paper can call itself “news” and then print countless propaganda pieces under an “Opinion” type heading? Especially when they will have, over the course of a week, dozens of many times baseless opinion pieces pushing the far-(insert-direction-here) and only one tiny little piece on one day that, if you really stretch it could be considered reporting the “other side.” It’s time to regulate the news.
Now, if that paper wants to change its name to the Kankakee Republican, leaving “news,” “journal,” “times,” .etc out of the name, then sure, print whatever the Hell you want. Feel free to include some actual news. It’s fine for a paper not making any claim at “news” to have actual news in it. What is not fine is to claim to be “news” then have pages of propaganda.
Epoch News – the New Nutter Times
Here is where I really need to point you back to Part 5 of How Did It Happen? I’ve worked in the advertising/marketing world before. A big part of how something like this works is covered there. A big part of this is Confirmation Bias. We humans seek things to support what we want to believe.
If something tells you it is “honest journalism without any spin” and it happens to have multiple articles supporting what you want to believe, you won’t dig into whether the articles are true or if the paper really is engaged in journalism. Here’s a hint: Newspapers engaged in actual journalism don’t have to tell you.
Needed to visit “the library” and wanted a good laugh so I took it with me. Sat down, flipped it open to a random page and was greeted with this:
This voter fraud claim has been debunked, debunked, debunked, debunked, debunked, debunked, debunked, and debunked again. More than 60 lawsuits were filed attempting to overturn the election and even when presented to Trump appointed lawyers, they failed.
Somewhere online you can find a clip of Trump lawyer presenting case to panel of judges via video conference. It’s hilarious. One of the judges interrupts him and asks something along the lines “So we are presenting Facebook posts as evidence of voter fraud now?” It’s just too funny to watch.
How This Works
Again, you really need to read Part 5 of How Did It Happen? I will try to boil it down to a shot glass for you. At some level all marketing is based on a Nazi principal.
Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truththe NAZI Joseph Goebbels
Here is how you market anything including complete fraud, especially conspiracy theories.
- Confirmation Bias – People will seek to confirm what they already believe.
- Effective Frequency – the Joseph Goebbels principal. Start small, repeat often, build on it.
- Anchoring – connecting fraud to completely unrelated truth or events.
- Exploit the algorithm – SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your Facebook ads and social media posts.
It all boils down to Confirmation Bias. If you are starting to believe something you will look for things to support it.
Anchoring and Effective Frequency are how you get the unknowing to start believing something, pushing them down the path of Confirmation Bias. When they start down that path you have to provide the confirmation.
The Algoritm is New
In today’s electronic world, we now also exploit the algorithm. You launch hundreds of conspiracy theories and other false narratives. Under the hood there exists one or more lines of SEO keyword tags linking all of the posts together.
You need high search frequency tags to pull people into one of your feeder pieces. These are the soft, tiny lies, wrapped with lots of other stuff. Your other content will then move up in the algorithms because it contains the same one or two unique search tags of your soft feeder content. The net result is that more and more conspiracy theory farther and farther from any connection with reality gets fed to the user.
Eventually the algorithm puts them in a “cone of silence” with respect to reality.
Why Bother Printing?
Exactly one reason: Bathroom reading.
The one place people still reliably read print material is the bathroom. Enough people have dropped their phone in the toilet to stop using it in there. People will read whatever is handy, even a Nutter Times, as long as it isn’t too long or deep in thought. It was true in the days of The Big Chill and it is still true today.
Mechanics of Nutter Times publications
A Nutter Times type thing works via frequency of infrequent. It prints weekly and lays around. Plenty of time for people to pick up. You engage in anchoring by putting one honest-to-God true story in the middle of many fictional tales. “Well, this one was true, some of these others must be. They say they engage in journalism.”
To really be effective a Nutter Times must have one of two things going for it. Be attached to a big name thing. Imprimis is connected with Hillsdale college. They issue actual degrees don’t they?
The other way you make it effective is by making people pay for it. You can only have one for free. You really have to pay for good information like this. We don’t let just anyone have this. Read up on the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scam. It was only available to a select group of people. You had to be part of “the in crowd.”
What really helps is if you reject someone a few times before letting them in. That wasn’t the play here. They are phishing for people to keep in the stew now that QAnon is being shut down all over the place.
Before, during, and after the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump there will be a large scale culling of avenues for nutter conspiracy theories to reach the gullible masses. This was a desperate attempt to hang onto the gullible until new electronic channels can be developed.