“Uncover the insidious tactics of astroturfing, gaslighting, and strawmanning and how they can lead to a dangerous normalization of deviance. Join ChatGPT and Slytherclaw to explore the slow boil of deviance and how it can bring villains to power.”
what would be a good wordpress title
A potential WordPress title for your topic could be: “Normalizing Deviance: The Dangers of Long-Term Strategies and Psychological Manipulation”.
needs more pizzaz.. Ok you are stan lee what would be the title of this
As Stan Lee, a possible title for this topic could be “The Slow Boil of Deviance: How Astroturfing, Gaslighting, and Strawmanning Can Bring Villains to Power!”
Normalization of Deviance
Normalization of deviance
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Normalization of deviance is a term used by the American sociologist Diane Vaughan to describe the process in which deviance from correct or proper behavior or rule becomes normalized in a government or corporate culture.
Vaughan defines this as a process where a clearly unsafe practice comes to be considered normal if it does not immediately cause a catastrophe: “a long incubation period [before a final disaster] with early warning signs that were either misinterpreted, ignored or missed completely”.
The original example cited by Vaughan was the events leading to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, but the concept has also been applied to aviation safety, clinical practice in medicine, and the public’s deviance from health measures aimed to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Normalization of deviance exhibits itself in train control safety legislation.
Normalization of deviance can exist in conjunction with corporate omerta where deviation from rules is held up by a code of silence surrounding the deviations or an unspoken agreement on rhetoric within a group of executives. Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed because of normalization of deviance where there was a criticism of corporate omerta with a “culture of silence.”
Fits right into the conversation
Boiling the Frog
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A frog sitting on the handle of a saucepan on a hot stove
The boiling frog is an apologue describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.
While some 19th-century experiments suggested that the underlying premise is true if the heating is sufficiently gradual, according to modern biologists the premise is false: changing location is a natural thermoregulation strategy for frogs and other ectotherms, and is necessary for survival in the wild. A frog that is gradually heated will jump out. Furthermore, a frog placed into already boiling water will die immediately, not jump out.
If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death.
Version of the story from Daniel Quinn‘s The Story of B
The boiling frog story is generally offered as a metaphor cautioning people to be aware of even gradual change lest they suffer eventual undesirable consequences. It may be invoked in support of a slippery slope argument as a caution against creeping normality. It is also used in business to reinforce that change needs to be gradual to be accepted. The term “boiling frog syndrome” is a metaphor used to describe the failure to act against a problematic situation which will increase in severity until reaching catastrophic proportions. It thereby encapsulates the barely noticeable impact of slow environmental degradation that has been described by Daniel Pauly as shifting baselines.
The story has been retold many times and used to illustrate widely varying viewpoints: in 1960 about warning against those who are sympathetic towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War; in 1980 about the impending collapse of civilization anticipated by survivalists; in the 1990s about inaction in response to climate change and staying in abusive relationships. It has also been used by libertarians to warn about the slow erosion of civil liberties.
In the 1996 novel The Story of B, environmentalist author Daniel Quinn spends a chapter on the metaphor of the boiling frog, using it to describe human history, population growth and food surplus. Pierce Brosnan‘s character Harry Dalton mentioned it in the 1997 disaster movie Dante’s Peak in reference to the accumulating warning signs of the volcano’s reawakening. Al Gore used a version of the story in a New York Times op-ed, in his presentations and the 2006 movie An Inconvenient Truth to describe ignorance about global warming. In the movie version the frog is rescued before it is harmed. This use of the story was referenced by writer/director Jon Cooksey in the title of his 2010 comedic documentary How to Boil a Frog.
Law professor and legal commentator Eugene Volokh commented in 2003 that regardless of the behavior of real frogs, the boiling frog story is useful as a metaphor, comparing it to the metaphor of an ostrich with its head in the sand. Economics Nobel laureate and New York Times op-ed writer Paul Krugman used the story as a metaphor in a July 2009 column, while pointing out that real frogs behave differently. Journalist James Fallows has been advocating since 2006 for people to stop retelling the story, describing it as a “stupid canard” and a “myth”. After Krugman’s column appeared, however, he declared “peace on the boiled frog front” and said that using the story is acceptable if the writer points out that it is not literally true.
In philosophy, the boiling frog story has been used as a way of explaining the sorites paradox. It describes a hypothetical heap of sand from which individual grains are removed one at a time, and asks if there is a specific point when it can no longer be defined as a heap.
Experiments and analysis
During the 19th century, several experiments were performed to observe the reaction of frogs to slowly heated water. In 1869, while doing experiments searching for the location of the soul, German physiologist Friedrich Goltz demonstrated that a frog that has had its brain removed will remain in slowly heated water, but an intact frog attempted to escape the water when it reached 25 °C.
Other 19th-century experiments were purported to show that frogs did not attempt to escape gradually heated water. An 1872 experiment by Heinzmann was said to show that a normal frog would not attempt to escape if the water was heated slowly enough, which was corroborated in 1875 by Fratscher.
In 1888, William Thompson Sedgwick said that the apparent contradiction between the results of these experiments was a consequence of different heating rates used in the experiments: “The truth appears to be that if the heating be sufficiently gradual, no reflex movements will be produced even in the normal frog; if it be more rapid, yet take place at such a rate as to be fairly called ‘gradual’, it will not secure the response of the normal frog under any circumstances”. Goltz had raised the temperature of the water from 17.5 °C to 56 °C in about ten minutes, or 3.8 °C per minute, in his experiment, whereas Heinzmann heated the frogs over the course of 90 minutes from about 21 °C to 37.5 °C, a rate of less than 0.2 °C per minute. Edward Wheeler Scripture recounted this conclusion in The New Psychology (1897): “a live frog can actually be boiled without a movement if the water is heated slowly enough; in one experiment the temperature was raised at a rate of 0.002°C per second, and the frog was found dead at the end of 2½ hours without having moved.”
Modern scientific sources report that the alleged phenomenon is not real. In 1995, Douglas Melton, a biologist at Harvard University, said, “If you put a frog in boiling water, it won’t jump out. It will die. If you put it in cold water, it will jump before it gets hot—they don’t sit still for you.” George R. Zug, curator of reptiles and amphibians at the National Museum of Natural History, also rejected the suggestion, saying that “If a frog had a means of getting out, it certainly would get out.” In 2002, Victor H. Hutchison, a retired zoologist at the University of Oklahoma with a research interest in thermal relations of amphibians, said that “The legend is entirely incorrect!” He described how a critical thermal maximum for many frog species has been determined by contemporary research experiments: as the water is heated by about 2 °F (about 1 °C), per minute, the frog becomes increasingly active as it tries to escape, and eventually jumps out if it can.
- Camel’s nose, a story with similar meaning
- Creeping normality
- Overton window
- Salami tactics
- First they came …
- Shifting baseline
- Slippery slope
- Foot-in-the-door technique
- Sorites paradox
- Frogs in popular culture
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the type of advocacy. For the artificial grass, see AstroTurf.
Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source’s financial connection. The term astroturfing is derived from AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to resemble natural grass, as a play on the word “grassroots”. The implication behind the use of the term is that instead of a “true” or “natural” grassroots effort behind the activity in question, there is a “fake” or “artificial” appearance of support.
Artificial grass produced by AstroTurf, which inspired the name “astroturfing” for creating a false impression of grassroots support
In political science, it is defined as the process of seeking electoral victory or legislative relief for grievances by helping political actors find and mobilize a sympathetic public, and is designed to create the image of public consensus where there is none. Astroturfing is the use of fake grassroots efforts that primarily focus on influencing public opinion and typically are funded by corporations and governmental entities to form opinions.
On the internet, astroturfers use software to mask their identity. Sometimes one individual operates through many personas to give the impression of widespread support for their client’s agenda. Some studies suggest astroturfing can alter public viewpoints and create enough doubt to inhibit action. In the first systematic study of astroturfing in the United States, Oxford Professor Philip N. Howard argued that the internet was making it much easier for powerful lobbyists and political movements to activate small groups of aggrieved citizens to have an exaggerated importance in public policy debates. Astroturfed accounts on social media do not always require humans to write their posts; one January 2021 study detailed a “set of human-looking bot accounts” used to post political content, which was able to operate automatically for fourteen days (and make 1,586 posts) before being detected and suspended by Twitter. Twitter trends are often targeted by astroturfing as they are used as a proxy for popularity. A study conducted by researchers at EPFL reported that 20% of the global Twitter trends in 2019 were fake, created automatically using fake and compromised accounts which tweet in a coordinated way to mimic grassroots organizing of regular Twitter users.
Policies and enforcement
Many countries have laws that prohibit more overt astroturfing practices. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may send cease-and-desist orders or require a fine of $16,000 per day for those that violate its “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. The FTC’s guides were updated in 2009 to address social media and word-of-mouth marketing. According to an article in the Journal of Consumer Policy, the FTC’s guides holds advertisers responsible for ensuring bloggers or product endorsers comply with the guides, and any product endorsers with a material connection are required to provide honest reviews.
In the European Union, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive requires that paid-for editorial content in the media provide a clear disclosure that the content is a sponsored advertisement. Additionally, it prohibits those with a material connection from misleading readers into thinking they are a regular consumer.
The United Kingdom has the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, which prohibits “Falsely representing oneself as a consumer.” They allow for up to two years in prison and unlimited fines for breaches. Additionally, the advertising industry in the UK has adopted many voluntary policies, such as the Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sale, Promotion and Direct Marketing. A trade association, the Advertising Standards Authority, investigates complaints of breaches. The policy requires that marketing professionals not mislead their audience, including by omitting a disclosure of their material connection.
In Australia, astroturfing is regulated by Section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law, which broadly prohibits “misleading and deceptive conduct”. According to the Journal of Consumer Policy, Australia’s laws, which were introduced in 1975, are more vague. In most cases, they are enforced through lawsuits from competitors, rather than the regulatory body, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. There is also an International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN).
Legal regulations are primarily targeted towards testimonials, endorsements and statements as to the performance or quality of a product. Employees of an organization may be considered acting as customers if their actions are not guided by authority within the company.
In October 2018, after denying that they had paid for people to show up in support of a controversial power plant development project in New Orleans, Entergy was fined five million dollars for using astroturf firm The Hawthorn Group to provide actors to prevent real community members’ voices from being counted at city council meetings and show false grassroots support.
In the book Grassroots for Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy, Edward Walker defines “astroturfing” as public participation that is perceived as heavily incented, as fraudulent (claims are attributed to those who did not make such statements), or as an elite campaign masquerading as a mass movement. Although not all campaigns by professional grassroots lobbying consultants meet this definition, the book finds that the elite-sponsored grassroots campaigns often fail when they are not transparent about their sources of sponsorship and/or fail to develop partnerships with constituencies that have an independent interest in the issue. Walker highlights the case of Working Families for Wal-Mart, in which the campaign’s lack of transparency led to its demise.
A study published in the Journal of Business Ethics examined the effects of websites operated by front groups on students. It found that astroturfing was effective at creating uncertainty and lowering trust about claims, thereby changing perceptions that tend to favor the business interests behind the astroturfing effort. The New York Times reported that “consumer” reviews are more effective, because “they purport to be testimonials of real people, even though some are bought and sold just like everything else on the commercial Internet.” Some organizations feel that their business is threatened by negative comments, so they may engage in astroturfing to drown them out. Online comments from astroturfing employees can also sway the discussion through the influence of groupthink.
Some astroturfing operatives defend their practice. Regarding “movements that have organized aggressively to exaggerate their sway,” author Ryan Sager said that this “isn’t cheating. Doing everything in your power to get your people to show up is basic politics.” According to a Porter/Novelli executive, “There will be times when the position you advocate, no matter how well framed and supported, will not be accepted by the public simply because you are who you are.”
Impact on society
Data mining expert Bing Liu (University of Illinois) estimated that one-third of all consumer reviews on the Internet are fake. According to The New York Times, this has made it hard to tell the difference between “popular sentiment” and “manufactured public opinion”. According to an article in the Journal of Business Ethics, astroturfing threatens the legitimacy of genuine grassroots movements. The authors argued that astroturfing that is “purposefully designed to fulfill corporate agendas, manipulate public opinion and harm scientific research represents a serious lapse in ethical conduct.” A 2011 report found that often paid posters from competing companies are attacking each other in forums and overwhelming regular participants in the process. George Monbiot said that persona-management software supporting astroturfing “could destroy the Internet as a forum for constructive debate”. An article in the Journal of Consumer Policy said that regulators and policy makers needed to be more aggressive about astroturfing. The author said that it undermines the public’s ability to inform potential customers of sub-standard products or inappropriate business practices, but also noted that fake reviews were difficult to detect.
Use of one or more front groups is one astroturfing technique. These groups typically present themselves as serving the public interest, while actually working on behalf of a corporate or political sponsor. Front groups may resist legislation and scientific consensus that is damaging to the sponsor’s business by emphasizing minority viewpoints, instilling doubt and publishing counterclaims by corporate-sponsored experts. Fake blogs can also be created that appear to be written by consumers, while actually being operated by a commercial or political interest. Some political movements have provided incentives for members of the public to send a letter to the editor at their local paper, often using a copy and paste form letter that is published in dozens of newspapers verbatim.
Another technique is the use of sockpuppets, where a single person creates multiple identities online to give the appearance of grassroots support. Sockpuppets may post positive reviews about a product, attack participants that criticize the organization, or post negative reviews and comments about competitors, under fake identities. Astroturfing businesses may pay staff based on the number of posts they make that are not flagged by moderators. Persona management software may be used so that each paid poster can manage five to seventy convincing online personas without getting them confused. Online astroturfing using sockpuppets is a form of Sybil attack against distributed systems.
Pharmaceutical companies may sponsor patient support groups and simultaneously push them to help market their products. Bloggers who receive free products, paid travel or other accommodations may also be considered astroturfing if those gifts are not disclosed to the reader. Analysts could be considered astroturfing, since they often cover their own clients without disclosing their financial connection. To avoid astroturfing, many organizations and press have policies about gifts, accommodations and disclosures.
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Persona management software can age accounts and simulate the activity of attending a conference automatically to make it more convincing that they are genuine. At HBGary, employees are given separate thumb drives that contain online accounts for individual identities and visual cues to remind the employee which identity they are using at the time.
Mass letters may be printed on personalized stationery using different typefaces, colors and words to make them appear personal.
According to an article in The New York Times, the Federal Trade Commission rarely enforces its astroturfing laws. However, astroturfing operations are frequently detected if their profile images are recognized or if they are identified through the usage patterns of their accounts. Filippo Menczer‘s group at Indiana University developed software in 2010 that detects astroturfing on Twitter by recognizing behavioral patterns.
Business and adoption
According to an article in the Journal of Consumer Policy, academics disagree on how prolific astroturfing is.
According to Nancy Clark from Precision Communications, grass-roots specialists charge $25 to $75 for each constituent they convince to send a letter to a politician. Paid online commentators in China are purportedly paid 50 cents for each online post that is not removed by moderators, leading to the nickname of the “50-cent party“. The New York Times reported that a business selling fake online book reviews charged $999 for 50 reviews and made $28,000 a month shortly after opening.
According to the Financial Times, astroturfing is “commonplace” in American politics, but was “revolutionary” in Europe when it was exposed that the European Privacy Association, an anti-privacy “think-tank”, was actually sponsored by technology companies.
History of incidents
Although the term “astroturfing” was not yet developed, an early example of the practice was in Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar. In the play, Gaius Cassius Longinus writes fake letters from “the public” to convince Brutus to assassinate Julius Caesar.
The term “astroturfing” was first coined in 1985 by Texas Democratic Party senator Lloyd Bentsen when he said, “a fellow from Texas can tell the difference between grass roots and AstroTurf… this is generated mail.” Bentsen was describing a “mountain of cards and letters” sent to his office to promote insurance industry interests.
Patient advocacy groups funded by biopharmaceutical companies are common. In 1997, Schering Plough paid a P/R firm Schandwick International, to create a national coalition of patient advocacy groups promoting Schering’s Rebotron, a treatment for Hepatitis C. The groups pushed increased testing as a way to manufacture cases and lobbied state legislatures to cover the $18,000 treatment. The groups also hosted telephone “information lines” with scripts written by the drug company and distributed “patient information” pamphlets promoting drug therapies over other alternatives and overstating the danger of the medical condition. Manufacturers of AIDS drugs commonly fund LGBTQ organizations, which in turn, lobby to advance policies that increase AIDS drug sales. In 2019, the communications director of AIDS United, a Washington DC-based coalition of AIDS service organizations, resigned, stating such funding creates conflicts of interest among gay rights activists.
In response to the passage of tobacco control legislation in the US, Philip Morris, Burson-Marsteller and other tobacco interests created the National Smokers Alliance (NSA) in 1993. The NSA and other tobacco interests initiated an aggressive public relations campaign from 1994 to 1999 in an effort to exaggerate the appearance of grassroots support for smoker’s rights. According to an article in the Journal of Health Communication, the NSA had mixed success at defeating bills that were damaging revenues of tobacco interests.
Email, automated phone calls, form letters, and the Internet made astroturfing more economical and prolific in the late 1990s. In 2001, as Microsoft was defending itself against an antitrust lawsuit, Americans for Technology Leadership (ATL), a group heavily funded by Microsoft, initiated a letter-writing campaign. ATL contacted constituents under the guise of conducting a poll and sent pro-Microsoft consumers form and sample letters to send to involved lawmakers. The effort was designed to make it appear as though there was public support for a sympathetic ruling in the antitrust lawsuit.
In January 2018, YouTube user Isaac Protiva uploaded a video alleging that internet service provider Fidelity Communications was behind an initiative called “Stop City-Funded Internet”, based on how some images on the Stop City-Funded Internet website had “Fidelity” in their file names. The campaign appeared to be in response to the city of West Plains expanding their broadband network, and advocated for the end of municipal broadband on the basis that it was too risky. Days later, Fidelity released a letter admitting to sponsoring the campaign.
In 2009–2010, an Indiana University research study developed a software system to detect astroturfing on Twitter due to the sensitivity of the topic in the run up to the 2010 U.S. midterm elections and account suspensions on the social media platform. The study cited a limited number of examples, all promoting conservative policies and candidates.
In 2003, GOPTeamLeader.com offered the site’s users “points” that could be redeemed for products if they signed a form letter promoting George Bush and got a local paper to publish it as a letter to the editor. More than 100 newspapers published an identical letter to the editor from the site with different signatures on it. Similar campaigns were used by GeorgeWBush.com, and by MoveOn.org to promote Michael Moore‘s film Fahrenheit 9/11. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget‘s “Fix the Debt” campaign advocated to reduce government debt without disclosing that its members were lobbyists or high-ranking employees at corporations that aim to reduce federal spending. It also sent op-eds to various students that were published as-is.
Some organizations in the Tea Party movement have been accused of being astroturfed.
In October and November 2018, conservative marketing firm Rally Forge created what The New Yorker described as “a phony left-wing front group, America Progress Now, which promoted Green Party candidates online in 2018, apparently to hurt Democrats in several races.” Its ads on Facebook used socialist memes and slogans to attack Democrats and urge third-party protest voting in several tight races, including the Wisconsin governor contest.
In 2018, a website called “Jexodus” claiming to be by “proud Jewish Millennials tired of living in bondage to leftist politics” was set up by Jeff Ballabon, a Republican operative in his mid-50s. The website was denounced as “likely a clumsy astroturf effort rather than an actual grassroots movement”. The website was registered November 5, 2018, before the congressional election, and before those representatives accused of antisemitism had even been voted in. This website was later cited by Donald Trump as though it were an authentic movement.
In January 2021, a team led by Mohsen Mosleh conducted a politically oriented astroturfing campaign on Twitter, using “a set of human-looking bot accounts”; each bot would search for users posting links the researchers considered to be fake news, and “tweet a public reply message to the user’s tweet that contained the link to the false story”. 1,586 spam replies were made over the course of fourteen days, until Twitter detected and suspended all of the bot accounts.
The Koch brothers started a public advocacy group to prevent the development of wind turbines offshore in Massachusetts. The Kennedy family was also involved.
Corporate efforts to mobilize the public against environmental regulation accelerated in the US following the election of president Barack Obama.
In 2014, the Toronto Sun conservative media organization has published an article accusing Russia of using astroturf tactics to drum up anti-fracking sentiment across Europe and the West, supposedly in order to maintain dominance in oil exports through Ukraine.
In Canada, a coalition of oil and gas company executives grouped under the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers also initiated a series of Canadian actions to advocate for the oil and gas industry in Canada through mainstream and social media, and using online campaigning to generate public support for fossil fuel energy projects.
In 2006, two Edelman employees created a blog called “Wal-Marting Across America” about two people traveling to Wal-Marts across the country. The blog gave the appearance of being operated by spontaneous consumers, but was actually operated on behalf of Working Families for Walmart, a group funded by Wal-Mart. In 2007, Ask.com deployed an anti-Google advertising campaign portraying Google as an “information monopoly” that was damaging the Internet. The ad was designed to give the appearance of a popular movement and did not disclose it was funded by a competitor.
In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission settled a complaint with Reverb Communications, who was using interns to post favorable product reviews in Apple’s iTunes store for clients. In September 2012, one of the first major identified cases of astroturfing in Finland involved criticisms about the cost of a €1.8 billion patient information system, which was defended by fake online identities operated by involved vendors.
In September 2013, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a settlement with 19 companies to prevent astroturfing. “‘Astroturfing’ is the 21st century’s version of false advertising, and prosecutors have many tools at their disposal to put an end to it,” said Scheiderman. The companies paid $350,000 to settle the matter, but the settlement opened the way for private suits as well. “Every state has some version of the statutes New York used,” according to lawyer Kelly H. Kolb. “What the New York attorney general has done is, perhaps, to have given private lawyers a road map to file suit.”
An Al Jazeera TV series The Lobby documented Israel‘s attempt to promote more friendly, pro-Israel rhetoric to influence the attitudes of British youth, partly through influencing already established political bodies, such as the National Union of Students and the Labour Party, but also by creating new pro-Israel groups whose affiliation with the Israeli administration was kept secret.
In 2008, an expert on Chinese affairs, Rebecca MacKinnon, estimated the Chinese government employed 280,000 in a government-sponsored astroturfing operation to post pro-government propaganda on social media and drown out voices of dissent.
In June 2010, the United States Air Force solicited for “persona management” software that would “enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries. Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms…” The $2.6 million contract was awarded to Ntrepid for astroturfing software the military would use to spread pro-American propaganda in the Middle East, and disrupt extremist propaganda and recruitment. The contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a program called Operation Earnest Voice, which was first developed as a psychological warfare weapon against the online presence of groups ranged against coalition forces.
On April 11, 2022, seven weeks into the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, BBC published the results of investigation of a network of Facebook groups with the overall aim to promote the Russian president Vladimir Putin as a hero standing up to the West with overwhelming international support. With the help of researchers from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, members, activities, and interrelations in 10 pro-Putin public groups with more than 650,000 members between them in the time of writing, boasting names such as Vladimir Putin – Leader of the Free World, were analyzed. Over a month, researchers counted 16,500 posts, receiving more than 3.6 million interactions. The campaign “creates the appearance of widespread support for Putin and the Kremlin in the shadow of the invasion and relies on… inauthentic accounts to accomplish its goal”, according to the ISD report. Lead researcher Moustafa Ayad described the network and its practice of using tens of duplicate accounts in potential violation of Facebook’s rules on inauthentic behavior as an example of astroturfing.
- Crowds on Demand
- Front organization
- Government-organized non-governmental organization
- Internet activism
- Internet Water Army
- State-sponsored internet sockpuppetry
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about human behavior. For illumination derived from burning gas, see Gas lighting.
Gaslighting is a tactic for manipulating someone in a way that makes them question their own reality. A colloquialism, the term derives from the title of the 1944 American film Gaslight, which was based on the 1938 British theatre play Gas Light by Patrick Hamilton, though the term did not gain popular currency in English until the mid-2010s.
Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten in the film Gaslight (1944)
The term “gaslighting” derives from the title of the 1944 American film Gaslight, a remake of the 1940 British film of the same name, which in turn is based on the 1938 thriller play Gas Light. Set in the Victorian era, it portrays a husband using trickery to convince his wife that she is mentally unwell so that he can steal from her. The title refers to the gas lighting of the house, which seems to waver whenever the husband leaves his wife alone at home. The term “gaslighting” itself is neither in the screenplay nor mentioned in the movie in any context.
The first use of the gerund form, gaslighting, was by The New York Times in a 1995 column by Maureen Dowd. According to the American Psychological Association in 2021, gaslighting “once referred to manipulation so extreme as to induce mental illness or to justify commitment of the gaslighted person to a psychiatric institution”. Largely an obscure or esoteric term until gaining traction in the mid-2010s – The Times only used it nine additional times in the following twenty years – it has broadly seeped into the English lexicon since, and is now used more generally. Merriam-Webster defines it as “psychological manipulation” to make someone question their “perception of reality” leading to “dependenc[e] on the perpetrator”.
The term has received a number of notable recognitions. The American Dialect Society named gaslight as the “most useful” new word of 2016. Oxford University Press named gaslighting as a runner-up in its list of the most popular new words of 2018.
Common gaslighting techniques
Gaslighters have many techniques, including:
- Obfuscation: deliberately muddying or overcomplicating an issue.
- Withholding: pretending not to understand the victim.
- Countering: vehemently calling into question a victim’s memory despite the victim having remembered things correctly.
- Blocking and diverting: diverting a conversation from the subject matter to questioning the victim’s thoughts and controlling the conversation.
- Trivializing: making the victim believe their thoughts or needs are unimportant.
- Forgetting and denial: pretending to forget things that have really occurred. The abuser may deny or delay things like promises that are important to the victim. Although anyone can deny or delay, the gaslighter does it regularly in the absence of real external limitations. The gaslighter may make up or create artificial barriers to allow themselves to deny or delay that which is important to the victim.
In psychiatry and psychology
“Gaslighting” is occasionally used in clinical literature but is considered a colloquialism by the American Psychological Association.
Since the 1970s, the term has been used in psychoanalytic literature to describe deliberate attempts by perpetrators to manipulate the victims’ perception of self, environment and relationships.
The research paper, “Gaslighting: A Marital Syndrome” (1988), includes clinical observations of the impact on wives after their reactions were mislabeled by their husbands and male therapists. In a case study published in 1977, Lund and Gardiner reviewed a case of paranoid psychosis in an elderly female who was reported to have recurrent episodes, apparently induced by the staff of the institution where the patient was a resident. Other experts have noted values and techniques of therapists can be harmful as well as helpful to clients (or indirectly to other people in a client’s life).
In his 1996 book, Gaslighting, the Double Whammy, Interrogation and Other Methods of Covert Control in Psychotherapy and Analysis, Theo L. Dorpat, M.D. recommends non-directive and egalitarian attitudes and methods on the part of clinicians,: 225 and “treating patients as active collaborators and equal partners”.: 246 He writes, “Therapists may contribute to the victim’s distress through mislabeling the [victim’s] reactions. […] The gaslighting behaviors of the spouse provide a recipe for the so-called ‘nervous breakdown‘ for some [victims, and] suicide in some of the worst situations.” Dorpat also cautions clinicians about the unintentional abuse of patients when using interrogation and other methods of covert control in Psychotherapy and Analysis, as these methods can subtly coerce patients rather than respect and genuinely help them.: 31–46
This increased global awareness of the dangers of gaslighting does not inspire all psychologists, and some of them have issued warnings that overuse of the term could weaken its meaning and minimize the serious health effects of such abuse.
In self-help and amateur psychology
Gaslighting is a term used in self-help and amateur psychology to describe a dynamic that can occur in personal relationships (romantic or parental) and in workplace relationships. Gaslighting involves two parties; the “gaslighter”, who persistently puts forth a false narrative, and the “gaslighted”, who struggles to maintain their individual autonomy. Gaslighting is typically effective only when there is an unequal power dynamic or when the gaslighted has shown respect to the gaslighter.
Gaslighting is different from genuine relationship disagreement, which is both common and important in relationships. Gaslighting is distinct in that:
- one partner is consistently listening and considering the other partner’s perspective;
- one partner is consistently negating the other’s perception, insisting that they are wrong, or telling them that their emotional reaction is irrational or dysfunctional.
Gaslighting typically occurs over a long duration and not on a one-off basis. Over time, the listening partner may exhibit symptoms often associated with anxiety disorders, depression, or low self-esteem. Gaslighting is distinct from genuine relationship conflict in that one party manipulates the perceptions of the other.
Gaslighting is a way to control the moment, stop conflict, ease anxiety, and feel in control. However, it often deflects responsibility and tears down the other person. Some may gaslight their partners by denying events, including personal violence.
Gaslighting is a learned trait. A gaslighter is a student of social learning. They witness it, experience it themselves, or stumble upon it, and see that it works, both for self-regulation and coregulation. Studies have shown that gaslighting is more prevalent in couples where one or both partners have maladaptive personality traits such as traits associated with short-term mental illness (e.g., depression), substance induced illness (e.g., alcoholism), mood disorders (e.g., bipolar), anxiety disorders (e.g., PTSD), personality disorder (e.g., BPD, NPD, etc.), neurodevelopmental disorder (e.g., ADHD), or combination of the above (i.e., comorbidity) and are prone to and adept at convincing others to doubt their own perceptions.
It can be difficult to extricate oneself from a gaslighting power dynamic:
- Those who gaslight must attain greater emotional awareness and self-regulation, or;
- Those being gaslighted must learn that they don’t need others to validate their reality and they need to gain self-reliance and confidence in defining their own reality.
“Medical gaslighting” is an informal term sometimes used to describe when a medical professional does not know how to resolve a patient’s condition or want to get involved in a complex situation and downplays a patient’s concerns about their health or tries to persuade them that their symptoms are imaginary. Medical gaslighting is an exploitation of trust.
Health facilities describe patients as Somatic. This formula and procedure of hospital facilities creates a power dynamic in medicine which results in neglect of a patient’s care. Many patients will suffer from failure to continue to find treatment for symptoms.
- Insider, “Patients Say Doctors Deny Symptoms.”
- The Washington Post, “Women are sharing their ‘medical gaslighting’ stories. Now what?”
- Good Morning America Medical Alert, “Data shows women, people of color affected most by ‘medical gaslighting.'”
- U.S. News & World Report, “‘Medical Gaslighting’: Are You a Victim?
- Medical Alert April 5, 2022 by CNBC titled “Millions of Americans affected by ‘medical gaslighting’ each year.
Gaslighting is more likely to be effective when the gaslighter has a position of power.
In the 2008 book State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind, the authors contend that the prevalence of gaslighting in American politics began with the age of modern communications:
To say gaslighting was started by… any extant group is not simply wrong, it also misses an important point. Gaslighting comes directly from blending modern communications, marketing, and advertising techniques with long-standing methods of propaganda. They were simply waiting to be discovered by those with sufficient ambition and psychological makeup to use them.
The term has been used to describe the behavior of politicians and media personalities on both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum. Some examples include:
- Comedian Jimmy Dore used “gaslighting” in 2020 to describe why “The Squad” did not vote as a block on Medicare for All.
- “Gaslighting” has been used to describe Russia’s global relations. While Russian operatives were active in Crimea in 2017, Russian officials continually denied their presence and manipulated the distrust of political groups in their favor.
- American journalists widely used the word “gaslighting” to describe the actions of Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential election and his term as president.
- Columnist Maureen Dowd described the Bill Clinton administration’s use of the technique in subjecting Newt Gingrich to small indignities intended to provoke him to make public complaints that “came across as hysterical” in 1995.
- “Gaslighting” has been used to describe state implemented psychological harassment techniques used in East Germany during the 1970s and 80s. The techniques were used as part of the Stasi’s (the state security service’s) decomposition methods, which were designed to paralyze the ability of hostile-negative (politically incorrect or rebellious) people to operate without unjustifiably imprisoning them, which would have resulted in international condemnation.
The word “gaslighting” is often used incorrectly to refer generally to conflicts and disagreements. According to Robin Stern, PhD, co-founder of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, “Gaslighting is often used in an accusatory way when somebody may just be insistent on something, or somebody may be trying to influence you. That’s not what gaslighting is.”
Some mental health experts have expressed concern that the broader use of the term is diluting its usefulness and may make it more difficult to identify the specific type of abuse described in the original definition.
In popular culture
One of the earliest uses of the term in television was in a 1974 episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. In the second-season episode, “The Seven Million Dollar Man”, Steve Austin accuses Oscar Goldman, Rudy Wells and nurse Carla Peterson of gaslighting him after all three try to convince him that an incident he saw did not happen.
In 1994, the character Roz Doyle uses the phrase in “Fortysomething”, an episode of the American television sitcom Frasier.
In a 2000 interview, the writers of the song “Gaslighting Abbie” (Steely Dan album Two Against Nature) explain that the lyrics were inspired by a term they heard in New York City, “gaslighting”, which they believed was derived from the 1944 movie Gaslight. “It is about a certain kind of mind [manipulation] or messing with somebody’s head”.
During the period 2014–2016, BBC Radio 4’s soap opera The Archers aired a two-year long storyline about Helen who was subjected to slow-burning coercive control by her bullying, manipulative husband, Rob. The show shocked the United Kingdom, sparking a national discussion about domestic abuse.
In the 2016 film The Girl on the Train, Rachel suffered from severe depression and alcoholism. The storyline evolved around Rachel’s blackouts as her husband consistently tells her that she had done terrible things that she didn’t actually do.
In 2017, the phrase was used to describe Harvey Weinstein‘s extraordinary measures (see Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse cases § Gaslighting) to gaslight the women he sexually preyed upon, the journalists investigating their stories, and the public.
In 2018, NBC‘s soap opera Days of Our Lives had a months-long storyline about retaliation and Gabi’s systematic efforts to have her best friend Abigail committed into a mental health care facility. In the end, Gabi gleefully confessed to Abigail what she had done to her and why.
In 2019, CNN‘s nightly news commentary, Anderson Cooper 360°, aired 24 episodes about the lies being told by politicians in the news. The segments were named “Keeping Them Honest: We’ll Leave The Gaslight On For You, Part __”.
In 2020, country music group The Chicks released a song titled “Gaslighter” about a manipulative husband.
In 2022, Merriam-Webster named “gaslighting” as its Word of the Year due to the vast increase in channels and technologies used to mislead and the word becoming common for the perception of deception.
- Confidence trick: using trust to defraud
- Deception/lying: to limit relationship harm
- Insecure attachment: desperate to hold onto relationships
- Manipulation: exploiting for personal gain
- Mind games: struggle for relationship superiority
- Naivete: favors moral idealism over pragmatism
- Political spin: political propaganda tactic
- Psychotherapy issues: unintended treatment problems
- Superiority complex: defense for feeling inferior
- Reality distortion field: Steve Jobs’ particular ability to convince others of virtually anything
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
U.S. President William McKinley has shot a cannon (labeled McKinley’s Letter) that has involved a “straw man” and its constructors (Carl Schurz, Oswald Garrison Villard, Richard Olney) in a great explosion. Caption: “SMASHED!”, Harper’s Weekly, 22 September 1900
A straw man fallacy (sometimes written as strawman) is a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the real subject of the argument was not addressed or refuted, but instead replaced with a false one. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”.
The typical straw man argument creates the illusion of having refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition through the covert replacement of it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and the subsequent refutation of that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the opponent’s proposition. Straw man arguments have been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly regarding highly charged emotional subjects.
Straw man tactics in the United Kingdom may also be known as an Aunt Sally, after a pub game of the same name, where patrons throw sticks or battens at a post to knock off a skittle balanced on top.
The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:
- Person 1 asserts proposition X.
- Person 2 argues against a superficially similar proposition Y, falsely, as if an argument against Y were an argument against X.
This reasoning is a fallacy of relevance: it fails to address the proposition in question by misrepresenting the opposing position.
- Quoting an opponent’s words out of context—i.e., choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent’s intentions (see fallacy of quoting out of context).
- Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, then denying that person’s arguments—thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has been defeated.
- Oversimplifying an opponent’s argument, then attacking this oversimplified version.
- Exaggerating (sometimes grossly) an opponent’s argument, then attacking this exaggerated version.
In 2006, Robert Talisse and Scott Aikin expanded the application and use of the straw man fallacy beyond that of previous rhetorical scholars, arguing that the straw man fallacy can take two forms: the original form that misrepresents the opponent’s position, which they call the representative form; and a new form they call the selection form.
The selection form focuses on a partial and weaker (and easier to refute) representation of the opponent’s position. Then the easier refutation of this weaker position is claimed to refute the opponent’s complete position. They point out the similarity of the selection form to the fallacy of hasty generalization, in which the refutation of an opposing position that is weaker than the opponent’s is claimed as a refutation of all opposing arguments. Because they have found significantly increased use of the selection form in modern political argumentation, they view its identification as an important new tool for the improvement of public discourse.
Aikin and Casey expanded on this model in 2010, introducing a third form. Referring to the “representative form” as the classic straw man, and the “selection form” as the weak man, the third form is called the hollow man. A hollow man argument is one that is a complete fabrication, where both the viewpoint and the opponent expressing it do not in fact exist, or at the very least the arguer has never encountered them. Such arguments frequently take the form of vague phrasing such as “some say,” “someone out there thinks” or similar weasel words, or it might attribute a non-existent argument to a broad movement in general, rather than an individual or organization.
A variation on the selection form, or “weak man” argument, that combines with an ad hominem and fallacy of composition is nut picking, a neologism coined by Kevin Drum. A combination of “nut” (i.e., insane person) and “cherry picking“, as well as a play on the word “nitpicking,” nut picking refers to intentionally seeking out extremely fringe, non-representative statements from or members of an opposing group and parading these as evidence of that entire group’s incompetence or irrationality.
An everyday conversation:
- Alice: Taking a shower is beneficial.
- Bob: But hot water may damage your skin.
Bob attacked the non-existing argument: Taking an extremely hot shower is beneficial. Because such an argument is obviously false, Alice might start believing that she is wrong because what Bob said was clearly true. Her real argument, however, was not disproved, because she did not say anything about the temperature.
- Alice: I didn’t mean taking an extremely hot shower.
Alice noticed the trick and defended herself.
Straw man arguments often arise in public debates such as a (hypothetical) prohibition debate:
- A: We should relax the laws on beer.
- B: No, any society with unrestricted access to intoxicants loses its work ethic and goes only for immediate gratification.
The original proposal was to relax laws on beer. Person B has misconstrued/misrepresented this proposal by responding to it as if it had been “unrestricted access to intoxicants”. It is a logical fallacy because Person A never advocated allowing said unrestricted access to intoxicants (this is also a slippery slope argument).
In a 1977 appeal of a U.S. bank robbery conviction, a prosecuting attorney said in his oral argument:
I submit to you that if you can’t take this evidence and find these defendants guilty on this evidence then we might as well open all the banks and say, “Come on and get the money, boys,” because we’ll never be able to convict them.
This was a straw man designed to alarm the appellate judges; the chance that the precedent set by one case would literally make it impossible to convict any bank robbers is remote.
An example often given of a straw man is US President Richard Nixon‘s 1952 “Checkers speech“. When campaigning for vice president in 1952, Nixon was accused of having illegally appropriated $18,000 in campaign funds for his personal use. In a televised response, based on an earlier Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s Fala speech, he spoke about another gift, a dog he had been given by a supporter:
It was a little cocker spaniel dog, in a crate he had sent all the way from Texas, black and white, spotted, and our little girl Tricia, six years old, named it Checkers. And, you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the dog, and I just want to say this right now, that, regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it.
This was a straw man response; his critics had never criticized the dog as a gift or suggested he return it. This argument was successful at distracting many people from the funds and portraying his critics as nitpicking and heartless. Nixon received an outpouring of public support and remained on the ticket. He and Eisenhower were later elected.
Christopher Tindale presents, as an example, the following passage from a draft of a bill (HCR 74) considered by the Louisiana State Legislature in 2001:
Whereas, the writings of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, promoted the justification of racism, and his books On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man postulate a hierarchy of superior and inferior races. . . .
Therefore, be it resolved that the legislature of Louisiana does hereby deplore all instances and all ideologies of racism, does hereby reject the core concepts of Darwinist ideology that certain races and classes of humans are inherently superior to others, and does hereby condemn the extent to which these philosophies have been used to justify and approve racist practices.
Tindale comments that “the portrait painted of Darwinian ideology is a caricature, one not borne out by any objective survey of the works cited.” The fact that similar misrepresentations of Darwinian thinking have been used to justify and approve racist practices is besides the point: the position that the legislation is attacking and dismissing is a straw man. In subsequent debate, this error was recognized, and the eventual bill omitted all mention of Darwin and Darwinist ideology. Darwin passionately opposed slavery and worked to intellectually confront the notions of “scientific racism” that were used to justify it.
Perhaps the earliest known use of the phrase was by Martin Luther in his book On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), where he is responding to arguments of the Roman Catholic Church and clergy attempting to delegitimize his criticisms, specifically on the correct way to serve the Eucharist. The church claimed Martin Luther is arguing against serving the Eucharist according to one type of serving practice; Martin Luther states he never asserted that in his criticisms towards them and in fact they themselves are making this argument. Their persistence in making this false argument causes him to coin the phrase in this statement: “they assert the very things they assail, or they set up a man of straw whom they may attack.”
Rev. William Harrison. A Description of England 1577 complained that when men had lived in houses of willow they were men of oak, and that now they lived in houses of oak they were men of willow and “a great manie altogither of straw”.
As a fallacy, the identification and name of straw man arguments are of relatively recent date, although Aristotle makes remarks that suggest a similar concern; Douglas N. Walton identified “the first inclusion of it we can find in a textbook as an informal fallacy” in Stuart Chase‘s Guides to Straight Thinking from 1956 (p. 40). By contrast, Hamblin‘s classic text Fallacies (1970) neither mentions it as a distinct type, nor even as a historical term.
The term’s origins are a matter of debate, though the usage of the term in rhetoric suggests a human figure made of straw that is easy to knock down or destroy—such as a military training dummy, scarecrow, or effigy. A common but false etymology is that it refers to men who stood outside courthouses with a straw in their shoe to signal their willingness to be a false witness. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the term “man of straw” can be traced back to 1620 as “an easily refuted imaginary opponent in an argument.”
See also: Procatalepsis and Principle of charity
A steel man argument (or steelmanning) is the opposite of a straw man argument. Steelmanning is the practice of addressing the strongest form of “the other person’s argument [(the steel man argument)], even if it’s not the one they presented”. Creating the strongest form of the opponent’s argument may involve removing flawed assumptions that could be easily refuted or developing the strongest points which counter one’s own position, as “we know our belief’s real weak points”. Developing counters to these strongest arguments an opponent might bring results in producing an even stronger argument for one’s own position. It has been advocated as a more productive strategy in political dialog that promotes real understanding and compromise instead of fueling partisanship by discussing only the weakest arguments of the opposition. Others, however, have argued against steelmanning because it still changes the argument given and can result in strawmanning. As a result, the steelman argument might be met with “Hey, I didn’t mean that”. Others have pointed toward the frequency with which people misinterpret the beliefs of others and how said misinterpretations are condescending. Karnofsky noted that he dislikes engaging with steelman arguments as they “rarely resemble his actual views”.
- Aunt Sally
- Ad hominem
- Begging the question
- Devil’s advocate
- Cherry picking (fallacy)
- Cognitive bias
- Concern troll
- Fallacy of quoting out of context
- List of fallacies
- Media manipulation
- Red herring
- Tilting at windmills
- Trivial objections
Certainly, here’s an expanded version of the warning signs to watch out for regarding the normalization of deviance through a long-term strategy of boiling the frog, astroturfing, gaslighting, and strawmanning:
- Lack of transparency: When an organization or group becomes less transparent about its actions, it can be a sign that they are trying to hide something. This lack of transparency can take many forms, such as refusing to provide information, avoiding questions, or deflecting blame. It can be difficult to detect, but it can lead to a normalization of deviance because the group becomes less accountable for its actions.
- Resistance to change: When an organization or group resists change, it can be a sign that they have become comfortable with the status quo, even if it is harmful or dangerous. This resistance can take many forms, such as rejecting new ideas, dismissing criticism, or avoiding feedback. It can lead to a normalization of deviance because the group becomes less open to new perspectives and less willing to consider alternative options.
- Groupthink: When a group becomes insular and starts to think and act in the same way, it can be a sign that they have become complacent and are no longer open to new perspectives. This can lead to a normalization of deviance because the group is less likely to question the status quo or consider alternative options. Groupthink can be exacerbated by astroturfing and strawmanning, as these tactics can reinforce a particular narrative or perspective.
- Shifting norms: When the norms of an organization or group change over time, it can be a sign that they are becoming normalized to a new standard. This can happen gradually and may be imperceptible at first, but it can lead to a normalization of behavior that would have been unacceptable in the past. This can be reinforced by gaslighting, which can make it difficult to recognize that the norms have shifted.
- Lack of accountability: When an organization or group is not held accountable for its actions, it can be a sign that they have become complacent and are no longer concerned with the consequences of their behavior. This can lead to a normalization of deviance because the group is less likely to consider the long-term effects of its actions. Astroturfing and strawmanning can be used to deflect blame and avoid accountability, making it easier for the group to avoid responsibility for its actions.
By recognizing these warning signs, individuals can be more vigilant about the potential for normalization of deviance and take steps to prevent it from taking hold in their organizations and communities.
In conclusion, the normalization of deviance through long-term strategies such as boiling the frog, astroturfing, gaslighting, and strawmanning can be difficult to detect. However, by watching for warning signs such as lack of transparency, resistance to change, groupthink, shifting norms, and lack of accountability, we can become more aware of these insidious tactics. By remaining vigilant and questioning the status quo, we can prevent the normalization of deviant behavior and create a culture of accountability and responsibility. It is up to each individual to stay informed, speak up, and take action to prevent the normalization of deviance in all aspects of our lives.
Normalization of the boiling frog
via Astroturfing due to Gaslighting and Straw man arguments
Lack of Transparencey
Resistence to change
Lack of Accountability
In conclusion just a basic list
you have to take it and refine it against past eamples
ACORN, Tea Party, WMD in Iraq, Circuit City stealing pension but not executive pay..
And as the title of the first video and the video itself
they are shutting detroit down
While th ebankers what……