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  1. #1
    I'm too sad for pants. Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Default Qanon, conspiracy theories, and the Fairness Doctrine

    I don't *think* I've seen a separate thread specifically for this topic. (I recently picked up a copy of The Cult Of Trump by Steven Hassan - an expert on cults and how to deprogram cult members - and I'll probably post about it here as I read it). And I added Fairness Doctrine to the title because there's definitely room for discussion about whether/how influential people (and the platforms that give them oxygen) should have to take accountability.

    I found an interesting Reddit AMA by someone who believed in Qanon and then stopped believing. I'm an ex Q, AMA. Something that really stuck out to me is: “Conspiracy theory thinking hooks the brain because it feels like critical thinking.”

    Something I've noticed about the people who do seem to believe is that they seem to genuinely believe they are the only ones 'thinking for themselves' - and the more they have faith in it, the more they project their own 'sheeple' tendencies on those who don't similarly believe. The more blind people are of their own tendencies - specifically, they 'see' tendencies in other people using Theory of Mind, oblivious of the extent to which their "insight" is born from experiencing the motivation themselves - the more they will project those tendencies on to others. IOW: the less someone is actually able to think for him/herself *and* the less they are capable of owning that as their own tendency, the more it will appear (to them) as "insight" into others, to make sense of their world. It's a directly proportional relationship, and it can be maddening to interact with because they don't hear much of anything. People who drop "orange man bad" or "TDS" at the drop of a hat to (in their mind) effectively 'discredit' *any* criticism of Trump are doing it; the faster they are to rely on the 'magical insight' of TDS/OMB to ignore criticism, wholly confident that the criticism is merely a product of confirmation bias and group thinking (etc) and the less they are able to consider there might be a good point they're missing, the more their own beliefs are the product of confirmation bias and group thinking (without them being able to see it). (And possibly the most grating part is that they seem to believe they're engaging in an exchange of ideas, when really they're using interaction with you to swat at their own phantoms - by constantly pointing out how YOU are supposedly swatting at your own phantoms - but anyway).

    I'm not finished reading this Reddit thread yet (navigating Reddit threads is exhausting to me, I rarely have patience for reading huge swaths all at once), but something else I found interesting was the mention of "demonizing doubt." Doubt is healthy (and necessary for critical reflection), but it's often demonized in religion, and it was brought up to explain why those with a super dogmatic religious background are especially susceptible to conspiracy theories.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  2. #2
    PhD in the mundane Doctor Anaximander's Avatar
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    I think the core issue or problem with people prone to getting hooked on conspiracy theories is too much observation and not enough processing of all that various data they observe. Everything is a vast, interconnected web to them, but they don't take the time to verify or test the validity of all those supposed connections, because they're so set on wanting to believe it's all a confirmation of their sense that something isn't right. Often, I think that conspiracy theorists aren't wrong in their sense that something is "rotten in Denmark", but they simply fail to properly scrutinize the data and test the connections, so the conclusions they come to tend to be way off of the reality.

    I also have noticed that as much as they pride themselves on being so-called critical thinkers, they are often quick to accept certain sources or assertions in faith, without actually giving them a good deal of analysis and critique to see if those assertions or conclusions actually hold up.
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  3. #3
    Guardian of Ga'Hoole Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tactical Turtleneck View Post
    I think the core issue or problem with people prone to getting hooked on conspiracy theories is too much observation and not enough processing of all that various data they observe. Everything is a vast, interconnected web to them, but they don't take the time to verify or test the validity of all those supposed connections, because they're so set on wanting to believe it's all a confirmation of their sense that something isn't right. Often, I think that conspiracy theorists aren't wrong in their sense that something is "rotten in Denmark", but they simply fail to properly scrutinize the data and test the connections, so the conclusions they come to tend to be way off of the reality.

    I also have noticed that as much as they pride themselves on being so-called critical thinkers, they are often quick to accept certain sources or assertions in faith, without actually giving them a good deal of analysis and critique to see if those assertions or conclusions actually hold up.
    The most annoying thing about conspiracy theorists is that they call everyone else a sheeple while acting exactly like a sheeple. They're usually engaging in the conspiracy theories to protect some particular belief, like for instance, the idea that most Americans actually like Donald Trump. (hence why it was a LANDSLIDE but it was STOLEN from him)... perhaps with 9/11 truthers (keep in mind that I've met A LOT that were liberal), it was something about American invulnerability or maybe the fact that foreigners might actually do something bad, or maybe to explain the war in Iraq (which doesn't explain why they had all of the hijackers be from other countries, but these things don't actually have to be coherent).

    I wonder if enneagram sixes are more likely to be into this as a consequence; of course I also think there as a certain amount of intellectual laziness in addition to the desire to protect certain beliefs and smooth out cognitive dissonance.
    A path is made by walking on it.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I don't *think* I've seen a separate thread specifically for this topic. (I recently picked up a copy of The Cult Of Trump by Steven Hassan - an expert on cults and how to deprogram cult members - and I'll probably post about it here as I read it). And I added Fairness Doctrine to the title because there's definitely room for discussion about whether/how influential people (and the platforms that give them oxygen) should have to take accountability.

    I found an interesting Reddit AMA by someone who believed in Qanon and then stopped believing. I'm an ex Q, AMA. Something that really stuck out to me is: “Conspiracy theory thinking hooks the brain because it feels like critical thinking.”

    Something I've noticed about the people who do seem to believe is that they seem to genuinely believe they are the only ones 'thinking for themselves' - and the more they have faith in it, the more they project their own 'sheeple' tendencies on those who don't similarly believe. The more blind people are of their own tendencies - specifically, they 'see' tendencies in other people using Theory of Mind, oblivious of the extent to which their "insight" is born from experiencing the motivation themselves - the more they will project those tendencies on to others. IOW: the less someone is actually able to think for him/herself *and* the less they are capable of owning that as their own tendency, the more it will appear (to them) as "insight" into others, to make sense of their world. It's a directly proportional relationship, and it can be maddening to interact with because they don't hear much of anything. People who drop "orange man bad" or "TDS" at the drop of a hat to (in their mind) effectively 'discredit' *any* criticism of Trump are doing it; the faster they are to rely on the 'magical insight' of TDS/OMB to ignore criticism, wholly confident that the criticism is merely a product of confirmation bias and group thinking (etc) and the less they are able to consider there might be a good point they're missing, the more their own beliefs are the product of confirmation bias and group thinking (without them being able to see it). (And possibly the most grating part is that they seem to believe they're engaging in an exchange of ideas, when really they're using interaction with you to swat at their own phantoms - by constantly pointing out how YOU are supposedly swatting at your own phantoms - but anyway).

    I'm not finished reading this Reddit thread yet (navigating Reddit threads is exhausting to me, I rarely have patience for reading huge swaths all at once), but something else I found interesting was the mention of "demonizing doubt." Doubt is healthy (and necessary for critical reflection), but it's often demonized in religion, and it was brought up to explain why those with a super dogmatic religious background are especially susceptible to conspiracy theories.
    To be honest, I think this is all the bastard child of evangelism. I really do.

  5. #5
    PhD in the mundane Doctor Anaximander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    To be honest, I think this is all the bastard child of evangelism. I really do.
    I think evangelism certainly made a lot of ripe ground to allow these conspiracy theories to fertilize. Sometimes I wonder though if some people are just more genetically predisposed to accepting things in faith. A faith gene.

  6. #6
    I'm too sad for pants. Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tactical Turtleneck View Post
    I think the core issue or problem with people prone to getting hooked on conspiracy theories is too much observation and not enough processing of all that various data they observe. Everything is a vast, interconnected web to them, but they don't take the time to verify or test the validity of all those supposed connections, because they're so set on wanting to believe it's all a confirmation of their sense that something isn't right. Often, I think that conspiracy theorists aren't wrong in their sense that something is "rotten in Denmark", but they simply fail to properly scrutinize the data and test the connections, so the conclusions they come to tend to be way off of the reality.

    I also have noticed that as much as they pride themselves on being so-called critical thinkers, they are often quick to accept certain sources or assertions in faith, without actually giving them a good deal of analysis and critique to see if those assertions or conclusions actually hold up.
    This is kinda what I was getting at. They don't know how to critically evaluate or test the validity - and they operate from a point of view that believes no one else does either, they can't recognize others putting actual critical evaluation into dialogue because "actual critical evaluation" is a meaningless phrase in their universe that people use to railroad others.

    I mean, I really do think there's a direct relationship: people least capable of actual critical evaluation are the ones who are first to accuse others of it (and systematically so) as means to dismiss what the others are saying. I think TDS and "orange man bad" are prime examples - people who use these heuristic devices seem to genuinely believe they've arrived at a conclusion (dismissing criticism of Trump) through critical evaluation, but heuristic devices are short cuts that alleviate the cognitive load/free up mental resources for other things and (in the process) leave us prone to cognitive biases. Those who are the least aware they systematically do this can't give others credit for interrupting these heuristic short-cuts to actually critically evaluate because they aren't aware it's an available alternative.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    To be honest, I think this is all the bastard child of evangelism. I really do.
    It certainly is a barely recognizable form of Christianity.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    INFJ 5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari -or- disagree with my type?

  7. #7
    phallus impudicus Peter Deadpan's Avatar
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    I automatically think that anyone who uses pop terms like "sheeple" and "cheeto" is exhibiting "sheeple" behavior themselves. It's flawlessly ironic.

    Weirdly, I think this is more common on the Ti-Fe axis. It's an attempt to flex that Ti independent thinking while remaining Fe relevant.

    Stoppit. You look so silly. It's the equivalent of a kindergartener calling someone a poopoo head.
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  8. #8
    I'm too sad for pants. Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    I've read a few things about the Fairness Doctrine, and I still don't especially see how it prevented the likes of Rush Limbaugh (who rose to fame after the Fairness Doctrine was cancelled). But that may be because, the way things are today, people with completely different takes on reality can show up and present their views and everyone leaves that experience (presenter and audience alike) believing exactly what their respective presenter dictates. Pretty much. It might get slightly updated, but listening to opposing presenters doesn't have any dialogical value. Maybe it's because the two sides have become so absolutely different that it would take an incredibly in-depth comparison/break-down of the realities, which current news sources aren't anywhere near adept at achieving.

    Anyway.

    WaPo: Everything you need to know about the Fairness Doctrine in one post

    On Monday, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announced the elimination of 83 regulations, including one of the agency’s most famous: the Fairness Doctrine. What is the Fairness Doctrine, and why is it gone?

    What it was: The Fairness Doctrine, as initially laid out in the report, ”In the Matter of Editorializing by Broadcast Licensees,” required that TV and radio stations holding FCC-issued broadcast licenses to (a) devote some of their programming to controversial issues of public importance and (b) allow the airing of opposing views on those issues. This meant that programs on politics were required to include opposing opinions on the topic under discussion. Broadcasters had an active duty to determine the spectrum of views on a given issue and include those people best suited to representing those views in their programming.

    Additionally, the rule mandated that broadcasters alert anyone subject to a personal attack in their programming and give them a chance to respond, and required any broadcasters who endorse political candidates to invite other candidates to respond. However, the Fairness Doctrine is different from the Equal Time rule, which is still in force and requires equal time be given to legally qualified political candidates.

    How it came about: In the Radio Act of 1927, Congress dictated that the FCC (and its predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission) should only issue broadcast licenses when doing so serves the public interest. In 1949, the FCC interpreted this more strictly to mean that licensees should include discussions of matters of public importance in their broadcasts, and that they should do so in a fair manner. It issued “In the Matter of Editorializing by Broadcast Licensees,” which announced the Fairness Doctrine, and began enforcing it.

    How it was ended: The Fairness Doctrine sustained a number of challenges over the years. A lawsuit challenging the doctrine on First Amendment grounds, Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission , reached the Supreme Court in 1969. The Court ruled unanimously that while broadcasters have First Amendment speech rights, the fact that the spectrum is owned by the government and merely leased to broadcasters gives the FCC the right to regulate news content. However, First Amendment jurisprudence after Red Lion started to allow more speech rights to broadcasters, and put the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine in question.

    In response, the FCC began to reconsider the rule in the mid-80s, and ultimately revoked it in 1987, after Congress passed a resolution instructing the commission to study the issue. The decision has been credited with the explosion of conservative talk radio in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. While the FCC has not enforced the rule in nearly a quarter century, it remains technically on the books. As a part of the Obama administration’s broader efforts to overhaul federal regulation, the FCC is finally scrapping the rule once and for all.

    @highlander posted an interesting similar piece on what the UK currently has in place, I'll try to find it.

    We need *something*. Free speech is important, but it seems like there really should be a way to reign in propaganda - like if someone can't prove what they reported is true, there should be clear legal consequences. Right now there aren't any (unless the party slandered wants to sue, but that's not the same thing).
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  9. #9
    I'm too sad for pants. Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Deadpan View Post
    I automatically think that anyone who uses pop terms like "sheeple" and "cheeto" is exhibiting "sheeple" behavior themselves. It's flawlessly ironic.

    Weirdly, I think this is more common on the Ti-Fe axis. It's an attempt to flex that Ti independent thinking while remaining Fe relevant.

    Stoppit. You look so silly. It's the equivalent of a kindergartener calling someone a poopoo head.
    Totally agree about "sheeple". It smacks of "the lady doth protest too much." But "poo poo head" is pure pejorative gold. That's a hill I will die on.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    INFJ 5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari -or- disagree with my type?

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    I'm too sad for pants. Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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