"This section teaches you to spot keywords and phrases that affect audiences by shaping their views and concepts almost subliminally. It addresses the meanings of common keywords and phrases when they are used as part of propaganda, disinformation or dishonesty."
Manipulative Keywords and Key Phrases in Disinformation
Article written by Gatecreepers.
This section teaches you to spot keywords and phrases that affect people by shaping their views and concepts almost subliminally. It addresses the meanings of common keywords and key phrases when they are used as part of propaganda, disinformation or dishonesty. Some of these key phrases are more commonly used on the Internet than anywhere else. It then addresses how some of these key phrases and words can be neutralized.
It is important to realize that most of these commonly employed key phrases are deliberately vague. This vagueness causes the audience to fabricate their own meanings and interpretations, in order to 'fill in the gaps'. This also allows the keyword users to avoid giving specific evidence, and affords them an emergency 'fall-back position' from which they can claim they were misinterpreted by the audience.
Keywords and phrases are often combined to increase their effectiveness. Examples: 'leftist nutjobs', 'crackpot wild-eyed conspiracy theories debunked', etc. Since emotion is easily influenced, key phrases are mainly intended to manipulate emotion - or to turn a primarily rational discussion into a primarily emotional one.
One of the most common techniques is to offer mere opinion as fact, or to consider opinions as equal to fact. This is where keywords often come into play. Some keywords or phrases can be carefully worded understatements or overstatements. Information regarded as damaging by the establishment will invite the use of phrases that are in the main, non-emotive, whilst the opposite technique is employed against all other targets. When delivered in speech, watch the body language associated with the key phrase - it often attempts to add undeserved meaning to the spoken words.
If keywords are not listed below, you can identify attempts at using them by applying them to this list:
- Are they backed up with reason, or are they baseless?
- Do they seek to enhance or diminish the extent of something?
- Do they attempt to transfer the qualities of one thing onto another?
- Could their purpose be to agitate you or others into unreasonable retaliation?
- Already been done / Old news / Who cares? etc.
- Additional info needed
- Anti-American / Patriot / Patriotic / Unpatriotic
- Authority / Experts
- Baseless / Rumor
- Black helicopters
- Both sides
- Choice / Choose
- Citizen / Good citizen
- Common Sense / Naturally
- Conspiracy theorists / CTs
- Credentials / Qualifications
- Debunk / Debunking / Debunked
- Democracy / Democratic
- Either / Or
- Everybody / Everyone / The majority / Most people / Nobody
- Fact / Factual
- Faith / Religion / Cult
- Get a life / Get a job / You have too much free time
- Good conspiracy / Every good conspiracy includes...
- Government / Government cover-up / Vast conspiracy
- Independent investigation / Inquest
- Inevitable / Inevitable change
- JFK / Roswell / Area 51 / Reptilian agenda etc.
- Jews / Jewish conspiracy
- Least painful option / Least of evils
- Legal / Illegal
- Liberal / Lefty / Left-wing / Conservative / Right-wing / Wingnut / Democrat / Dem / Republican, etc.
- Liberation / Regime change
- Liberties / Rights
- LOL / ROFL / LMAO / LMFAO
- Mainstream media / Reputable sources / Mainstream news
- Middle ground / Common ground
- Morality / Moral
- Occam's Razor
- Offensive / Insult to the victims
- Official / Official story / Official investigation
- Paranoid / Delusional
- People / The people
- Proof / Evidence / Show me proof / Give me proof / Where is your proof?
- Quick solution / Easy solution / Simple solution
- Security / Protection
- Shadowy / Shadowy elite
- Sources / Our sources / Official sources / Inside source
- Terrorist / Terrorism
- The president / President
- Tinfoil hat
- Treason / Traitor
- Troofer / Twoofer
- Whackjob / Nutjob / Loony / Crazy / Kooks / Lunatics / Morons / Retards, etc.
Keywords and key phrases
An attempt to prevent discussion by implying that all necessary research is complete and no more evidence can be considered, and that nobody is interested in the truth. In reality, science and history are constantly updated as more evidence and discoveries come to light. So, it matters not whether something is old news or not - nor whether it is popular. What matters is the truth.
This is intended to set the standards of evidence higher than the evidence which is currently present - in order to stall or collapse discussion. This phrase can also imply that the presented evidence is flimsy when in fact it may be strong and conclusive.
If additional evidence is presented, then this key phrase may be repeated again and again to deny or belittle it. If this happens when you have substantial amounts of material that contradicts an official story, challenge the proponents of the official line to fit the awkward evidence to their perceived version of events. This should cause them problems, and may well destabilize their position.
If they refuse to, then point out their dishonesty.
This is intended to scare people into conformity. The concept of patriotism is dangerous because the meaning changes according to the structure of society, according to major events like wars, and according to the whims of the ruling class. This should be pointed out, and argument should instead be focussed on what is right and what is true, as these qualities are more constant.
This phrase is intended to make an audience feel either guilt, fear, or hatred depending on which side of an argument they support. If they support a view which is then labeled anti-Semitic they may feel guilty and fearful of how it reflects on them - and will then decide to remain quiet. If the individual opposes a view that is then labeled anti-Semitic, then they are less likely to think about whether the charge is valid; rather they may take the opportunity to use the new phrase as ammunition in any subsequent argument.
For this reason, this phrase is very damaging. It can be used by individuals and media organizations to damage alternate points of view and reputations without ever confronting evidence - nor providing any of their own. These same entities can label awkward or damaging information as anti-Semitic in order to scare the public away from it - an indirect form of censorship through political correctness.
It is important that this claim be confronted by pointing out that it does not matter whether information is anti-Semitic or not - it only matters whether it is true or not. The use of the anti-Semite phrase shows the accusers most likely did not confront the actual validity of the claim(s) they opposed, nor any evidence linked to it. This makes their initial accusations hollow and easy to discredit.
See Myth #14.
Appealing to authority in the same way as the 'scientific' keyword. These words are supposed to imply that the audience is not qualified to ask questions, and that they must simply take the conclusions of the experts without resistance.
The opposition may attempt to 'play stupid' and insist that simple, well-structured explanations and clear evidence are in fact just baseless speculation. This accusation neither proves nor disproves anything. If you have provided evidence that the opposition is ignoring, then challenge your opposition to fit all the awkward evidence to their version of events.
If they refuse to, then point out their dishonesty.
This insult comes either from ignorance or from a calculated desire to set up a straw man attack. Frequently this 'joke' is totally unrelated to the original issue. Like other insults it does not provide any substance.
Black helicopters have been used against the U.S. population before, see Alex Jones' movie '9-11 The Road To Tyranny' for relevant footage and interviews on this subject amongst others.
Entrenches a false paradigm where a debate involves only two parties rather than a wide spectrum of ideas.
What is the range of choice? Who defines this range?
When the range of choice is defined by those in power it is typically restricted to those choices which benefit the system and maintain the status quo, whilst giving people the illusion that they made their own choice.
Not constant. A citizen can be defined and redefined as a wide range of things. For example, a citizen can be somebody who supports the government without question, or somebody who opposes the government as a principle. In these cases a 'citizen' is not an actual person, it is a definition; a concept.
When defined by an authority it is intended to be a set of characteristics and behaviors which the population should conform to. In this manner, an authority may also attempt to create the illusion that the majority of a population are 'good citizens', in order to frame any political opposition as the anti-citizen; the 'enemy within'.
An attempt to insist that a number of events or a pattern of events are not a conspiracy but are an unfortunate and unrelated set of coincidences. This is another way of 'playing stupid'.
Common sense is a vague term intended to imply that something is easily and widely understood, even when it is not. The idea is to frame anybody who disagrees as unintelligent. The result of this is that any existing opposition will be uncomfortable expressing their views as they are now associated with stupidity.
When the 'common sense' phrase is utilized in the mainstream media it is intended to inspire groupthink. In this way, many can be tricked into imagining that most other people think and behave as the media has implied, and the media is then free to set the standards for society.
Despite its dictionary definition, this word's meaning is altered and used to assert that an alternate theory or explanation is ridiculous. Very often this 'conclusion' is reached without research or inquiry. Present your case and your evidence to move the discussion onto the real issues.
May be used to imply that an idea is not credible, when in fact it is being debated. May also be used to discredit an idea or subject when no reason for discrediting exists. The word 'controversial' in itself will put people off a topic.
Can be used as an insult that implies many ridiculous or non-official beliefs. When used by pseudo-skeptics it implies conspiracy theorists are lower down on the intellectual hierarchy than they are.
This phrase should be redefined so that a 'conspiracy theorist' is an independent investigator who has come to a conclusion which the establishment does not wish to acknowledge.
Intended to prevent any discussion from taking place by asserting that only 'qualified' individuals can confirm or deny something. Especially damaging if said qualified people are secretly paid to represent a point of view.
Often used to imply that a theory has been disproved and discredited - once and for all. This is not always the case, as debunking articles often inspire good rebuttals because they failed to address evidence, or used disinformation.
Few people are prepared to look through a debunking article and even fewer have the necessary knowledge to verify the article's content. For this reason, most will accept that it is an honest work - without reading it at all.
The best reply to a debunking article is a counter-debunking article - assuming there is good reason, and enough good evidence to continue pushing an alternate theory.
Implies some element of civilized free choice, when in fact the choice was purposely restricted, and may not be civilized.
These phrases can also be used to reset the apparent locus of control away from the government and onto the population. The population can then be made to feel 'in control' in this manner, without actually giving them any control over decisions and implementation.
Furthermore, in the event of an unpopular or dangerous government being in power, the excuse of democracy can be used to foist all responsibility for damage onto the people who voted for that party.
The success of a democracy is directly related to the quality and quantity of the population who engage in it. Therefore democracy does not automatically lead to freedom, peace or prosperity.
A technique which manipulates minds by suggesting a solution is necessary, and is only possible through a preset range of choices. Inappropriate or unprofitable choices are omitted. Through this process the results can be predicted and controlled easily. The omission of certain choices is the most important aspect of this technique.
Many people, when faced with this trick, will only operate within the preset choices given - thereby remaining under the control of those who initially set the range of choices, whilst imagining that they have free choice. Very often they will not think of alternate choices or improvements, nor will they argue for an expansion of choice.
This is most useful in politics and advertising, where a situation can be rigged through limitation of choice. The biggest and most painful example of this takes place at 'democratic' elections, where two or three major political parties are supposed to represent the choice we have.
A word that is used to inspire groupthink - the authority of the majority. Polls are presented for the same reason. Point out that the numbers of proponents and opponents is not important - the truth is what matters.
An empty word which demonises thoughts that are different from the norm, and complements the function of Either / Or by setting the boundaries of what is considered acceptable debate by labeling certain ideas as an 'excess'. Often used to pathologise passionate belief. May be used to imply that said ideas or proponents are dangerous to the social order and are inclined to violence and authoritarian methods.
A variant of the 'Middle Ground' fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_ground
Intended to imply authority. Facts can be used by both sides and must be used in the correct contexts. The word 'fact' is sometimes intended to end an argument by implying facts cannot be challenged, and assuming they will not be checked or contested. They can be challenged if the facts were used out of context, or if the opposition is imagining an alternate context.
An attempt to discredit a view by associating it with religion, and implying that it is based on faith rather than facts and rational arguments.
Often used as reassuring doublespeak. Can also be presented as part of an ultimatum: follow the government's plans and rules, or 'the enemy' will take your freedoms. With irony, the very same people are often pushing for removals of freedoms and liberties in the name of security.
You can further identify these types as they only discuss loss of freedom to an enemy, not restoration or protection of freedom. Especially not protection from the government itself. Freedom and rights are only discussed when it advances their apparent political power and influence.
Like an ad hominem, this directs attention away from the issue and onto the issue's proponent, possibly in the hope of starting a petty argument. Be sure to state firmly that the opponent seems afraid and unprepared to deal with the issue at hand and is resorting to pointless name-calling instead. Point out that unless the issue itself is addressed, the opponent has 'lost' the discussion.
Quite possibly the ultimate variant of an appeal to authority. This keyword is at fault because so many people interpret the concept of God differently (if at all).
Certain people have unrealistic expectations of conspiracy theories, and attribute unusual and outlandish stories to them, and by extension to their proponents in general. In addition, it conveys the idea that conspiracies are meant for entertainment, like a 'good movie' or a 'good novel'.
Point out that this is a logical fallacy called an appeal to ridicule, and thus is not a valid attack.
This is also possibly a building block for a straw man attack. It is based on the idea that all activity carried out by government or military intel must be ordered by the president and then checked and monitored by large numbers of bureaucrats - thus making a secret conspiracy impossible. You must provide examples that prove otherwise. The Manhattan Project makes a good example of a large conspiracy, but it is not necessary to factor in large numbers of people. The official 9-11 theory states that it was carried out by 19 people, yet it is hypocritically stated that government involvement in a 9-11 conspiracy would be impossible to keep secret, due to the large numbers of people who would have knowledge.
It is worth considering that military intel organisations and corporations may engage in conspiracies which benefit them - without approval from the government.
How independent? Who are the investigators? The word 'independent' can be used to imply impartiality when people are not trusting of official sources. Care must be taken to ensure the independence is real and not another official fabrication.
By painting something as inevitable, an authority implies there will be no discussion or alteration to plans. This is intended to dishearten and disband any opposition that exists.
In addition: references to inevitable 'attacks' may be an indication of willing inaction from officials who wish to allow such events to unfold. These events are attractive to authorities because they provide opportunities to push legislation and activities that would otherwise be unpopular or impossible. The predictive references are necessary to 'prepare' the population for sudden unpleasant changes.
This is intended to devalue any information or evidence, based on the idea that its source (the internet) is unreliable because it is 'decentralized' and lacks authority. This attack by itself is ineffective, as it neither proves nor disproves anything - it is just an appeal to authority. Ask the accuser to back up their statement with solid reasons why the information itself is invalid.
Misrepresentation of an opponent's stance. Not all conspiracy theorists are proponents of all conspiracy theories, and not all theories are equal. Each theory should be considered properly before comparisons can be applied. The JFK theory has been presented very well before, and is the strongest of these theories.
Disinformation agents can pose as conspiracy theorists who then present these theories very badly, in order to smear all serious theorists as equally non-respectable.
See Myth #4.
Manipulation through misrepresentation of an opponent's stance. Has the additional effect of labeling someone as anti-Semitic without any substantial evidence. It is also used as a key phrase to scare people away from certain sources of information. This can also be abused by disinformation agents who wish to pose as conspiracy theorists so they can destroy the movement from within by getting it associated with anti-Semitism.
See Myth #14.
The meaning of justice is not constant, as many individuals and cultures have different interpretations. Fake justice is often uncivilised because it is mixed with the concept and act of revenge.
A way of branding certain people or views as insane. Like other meaningless insults it does not provide any substance. It neither proves nor disproves anything. This 'claim' can easily be challenged by asking for evidence to back it up.
What modern democracy has become. This is another example of situation control through limitation of choice.
Keywords, supposed to imply that something is 'right' or 'wrong'. Law is often written to maintain a status-quo and to keep certain groups and systems in control - and to exclude others for the same reason. Legality and illegality often do not equate to any moral standards.
It is your task to explain this, whenever the concept of legality and illegality are used 'incorrectly'.
Intended to use partisan views or phrases to split an audience and to prejudge a person's views. These phrases are often thrown around with no consideration as to whether they are true or not. They neither prove nor disprove anything. Point out that facts and truth are constant and are not affected or coloured by political leanings, and that the opposition appears to be avoiding debate in favour of name-calling.
Often the act of changing one oppressive and abusive system into another through use of force, and quite often assisted by fraudulent or superficial claims of the benefits of this 'liberation'.
Liberties are often framed as luxuries and not necessities - this is coupled with calls for them to be removed or restricted.
By branding something a lie when it may be true, an opponent can arrive at an apparent conclusion without any discussion of evidence that points to the contrary. Any presented evidence that opposes or conflicts with their views can also be branded as lies in the same way. Confront the accusers and ask them to give substance to their observations, and to address the opposing evidence.
An attempt to discredit view(s) or person(s) through fake 'laughter', often without confronting any evidence or taking part in a discussion. This takes advantage of 'groupthink' - many people will see the 'laughter' and think that it must have some logical basis they are unaware of. Confront the opponent by pointing out that laughter neither proves nor disproves anything. Tell the opposition to participate in the argument or to admit they have no counter-argument.
Appealing to authority in the same way as the 'scientific' keyword. These phrases are supposed to imply that the audience is not qualified or experienced enough to ask questions, that the official story is true, and that they must simply take the conclusions of the 'experts' without resistance. Many people will argue that the absence of a topic from the mainstream media is proof that it does not exist. If you have evidence that challenges the official story, then either the evidence or the official story (or both) must be inaccurate or incorrect. The more contradictory evidence there is, the more likely the official story is a lie.
Implies that certain ideas or worldviews are true only by virtue of being a compromise of two ideas or being commonly agreed upon by two parties. While dialectics may at times satisfy certain philosophical uses, compromises are for negotiations, not for evaluating the validity of ideas, which should be done through rational debate and close examination.
Not constant. This means different things to different groups. However, it is more constant than the definition of patriotism.
Many people use the phrase as a slick way of dismissing an argument without confronting its supporting evidence, sometimes assuming that the evidence is speculation without having looked at it at all. Often, those people miss the fact that the government theory is questioned partly because it violates Occam's Razor.
Whilst purely physical or chemical reactions, for example, can be held to Occam's razor, activities by conscious beings can not, as conscious beings can deliberately add complexity to events, or they can choose to behave in irrational ways.
See Myth #3.
Emotionally-loaded attempt to demonise unorthodox opinions by appealing to sympathy towards a victimised group. Often used by governments to shield themselves from accusations of involvement in the attacks. May also be used by defenders of a regime to shield it from comparisons to another past regime known for its atrocities. Challenging the officially-endorsed narrative of a tragedy does not necessarily imply that the tragedy did not happen.
Often, the prevailing theory is considered 'official' because it has been so designated by repetitive government and media propaganda, without having first been compared with other theories. The word 'official' is intended as a keyword that implies something is without question 'right' and 'honest' and 'true'.
A non-serious insulting way of saying a person is 'insane', and is therefore inventing enemies, and does not deserve to be engaged in debate. The response is simple: accuse the opposition of avoiding discussion of inappropriate evidence which may shatter their fragile views - views which can only survive on a diet of dishonesty.
Definition can be twisted to mean 'peace, after war', rather than 'anti-war', as if peace is only possible if all 'opposition' is destroyed.
By framing the locus of control away from the government and onto the people, the true nature of a power structure can be hidden - and can even be made to appear 'democratic'.
(This assumes you already made an effort to back up your statements with some kind of evidence.)
These phrases are used to imply that the evidence presented thus far is not actually evidence at all, and is not valid to the discussion. This is a crafty way of avoiding discussion of evidence already presented, thereby dismissing it easily. Make an effort to confront the opposition's avoidance of the issues. They are not in a position to set the standards for evidence. Demand their evidence in retaliation!
Intended to exploit many people's aversion to complexity and difficulty by framing a situation as easy to resolve (but only if the 'official' solution is used). The presented 'simple' solution might not be efficient, civilized, or even remotely connected with the original problem.
This word can be used to imply that a series of events are unconnected, or connected only by coincidence, and that any attempt to link them otherwise is wishful thinking.
A doublespeak noun or verb implying wrongful, politically motivated or dishonest accusation of those who do in fact appear to be responsible. The defensive or retaliatory use of the term 'scapegoat' is often more politically motivated than the original accusations which inspired it.
This word is supposed to imply that the audience is not qualified to ask questions, and that they must simply take the conclusions of the experts without resistance. However, scientific investigations are always open to challenge and improvement as new evidence appears. Scientists have also been known to fake results for various reasons, including being paid to do so.
Supposed to imply protection whilst actually delivering oppression. Security is often coupled with demands for people to surrender their liberties.
When an 'inconvenient' or alternative version of events is being discussed, the authorities and others may attempt to discredit that version by calling it sensationalist. This is an attempt to imply the alternate version is at least partially fake or exaggerated, and by extension the proponents of that version are twisting the truth.
The use of the 'sensationalist' keyword by itself neither proves nor disproves anything.
Can be used to imply 'shadowy' means 'non-existent'. If you insist on the existence of an elite, back it up with a list of names and, if possible, how these individuals connect and interact with each other and various organizations. There are a few sites devoted to this.
The term 'skeptic' is often used like a self-congratulatory badge of honor by those who wish to flaunt a façade of intelligence. These pseudo-skeptics specialize in attacking subjects they believe they can easily 'debunk'. Popular targets are religion and conspiracy theories. Pseudo-skeptics also enjoy personally targeting proponents of these ideas, so that they can gain a sense of intellectual superiority to somebody. These types are interested in setting up an intellectual hierarchy. They then set about maintaining their supposed dominant position in this system.
The pseudo-skeptic has an unusual desire to appear intelligent to others - in order to elevate themselves 'above the herd'. More precisely they have an emotional desire to openly dominate people who oppose their points of view. Ego. This need for emotional reward results in a dishonest pursuit of 'victory' in debunking their chosen target. The pseudo-skeptic may utilize pseudo-science and a variety of other tricks in order to 'win'. They fear defeat.
It must be pointed out that debates are there to sharpen or better define points of view, and to determine the truth. They are not supposed to become personal battles. For this reason, pseudo-skeptics are a waste of time to debate directly. Far better to debunk their debunking articles - should those articles begin to become widespread.
Frequently used by the mainstream media. These phrases are deliberately used because they are vague. The idea is to get you to imagine what the nature of the source is, rather than to tell you what it really was. In reality the source may well have been an official propaganda outlet. Demand actual names and dates of sources.
The use of the phrase 'insider' is also revealing. You won't become an insider by telling the truth - but instead by serving and aiding those whom you wish to get close to. An inside source may therefore have interests other than the truth, and so they may be less than credible.
The definition of a terrorist can become ridiculously expanded to include anybody who questions the government and the status-quo, whether or not they are just and peaceful. 'Terrorism' can therefore be any act carried out by the people described above. Acts can include any form of protest, any activism, or any action that tries to support itself through human rights or constitutional rights.
Expansive definitions of terrorism and the resultant 'anti-terrorism' represent an open threat to society, carried out by governments and groups which have chosen to perpetuate or support their existence through dishonesty, fear and brute force. You should have no trouble identifying and neutralizing dishonest uses of these phrases - but you cannot rely on the mainstream media to help you.
This is potentially a building block for a straw man attack. It is based on the idea that all activity carried out by government or military intel must be ordered by the president and then checked and monitored by large numbers of bureaucrats - thus making a secret conspiracy impossible. You must provide examples that prove otherwise. For a large conspiracy, the Manhattan Project makes a good example.
When referring to an 'enemy', this keyword is intended to inspire fear and thereafter to inspire a need for 'protection'. The act of 'protection', which may be offensive rather than defensive, is the true motivator behind the 'threaten' keyword. An additional effect is a sense of urgency which is intended to preclude debate.
A way of branding certain people or their views as insane. Like other insults it does not provide any substance, nor does it challenge anything. It can easily be challenged by stating this, and then asking the opposition to reply to the actual arguments.
This is a combination of the 'terrorist' and 'unpatriotic' keywords. It is useful to bear in mind that a criminal government, police state or dictatorship has no right to define what is right and wrong, and no right to demand respect, co-operation or subservience from the people it dominates. It is easily possible to betray a dictator, whilst being a moral and courageous person.
A derogatory corruption of the word 'truther' used by coincidence theorists. See 'Whackjob'.
This word asks you to settle for assumptions and faith instead of evidence. When this technique is used by a government, demand evidence.
The government, mainstream media and assorted official proponents will only give you enough evidence to allow you to come to their conclusions. That is the official version of the truth.
This keyword aims to hurry people into supporting decisions by implying there is no time for debate. It is always a possibility that the urgency itself is manufactured in order to avoid debate.
A way of discrediting views or people, often without addressing any issues. Confront the accusers and ask them to give substance to their observations, and to address the opposing evidence. If the opposition is insulting a lot then they probably feel cornered and unable to deal with the discussion. Stick to your evidence and do not return any insults.
However, insults may also come mixed with presented evidence, so as to influence the minds of the audience to believe that any opposing view is insane (insulting them by extension, if they try to consider the alternatives).
Example: 'Conspiracy theorist whackjobs', '9-11 morons', etc.
Try not to return insults - it may destroy the discussion. Instead, stick with your evidence and make your points.
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