AttackWatch Launches, But Is It Good Strategy To Combat Lies With Facts?

Sadly,  in this day and age of corporate media and the right wing propaganda machine, the truth is probably not enough to win the media wars.  Research shows, and as BFIA has posted about previously (see:  New Study: Don’t Argue With Conservatives – You’re Only Making It Worse), the more conservatives hear the truth the more they hold onto their false beliefs. Yes, you read that right. The researchers’ conclusions confirmed the obvious, that progressives will have to find new strategies other than combatting lies with mere truth.

But if you haven’t checked out AttackWatch yet, it is nonetheless an extremely nifty tool launched this week by OFA for FACT dissemination for the 2012 campaign which Republicans are bound to hate which counts for something.

Visit the site and right at your fingertips you will have immediate access to  what was said, who launched the attack, who joined in, and documentation of where and when the attacks were made. On the same page you will find the FACTS – with documentation and links such as legislation, gov. documents, public comments, etc.

There is an Attack files page, where you can quickly go to the most popular GOP themes and the coolest thing is that you can also report an Attack.

AttackWatch  includes convenient widgets for one-touch dissemination of FACTS to your FB friends, Twitter followers  e-mail lists and conservative brothers-in-law.

We encourage everyone who believes in FACTS and who does not want to see Rick Perry in the White House to visit AttackWatch.com and use it for your letters to the editor and online postings.  [By the way, the media chatter about a feud between the Bushies and Perry is fake. That is pure cover, IMHO, deliberately floated to offset the fact that even Americans aren’t asleep enough to put a clone of GWB in the White House which is what Perry is. Do they really expect us to believe that Carl Rove is opposed to another right-wing gun-toting, Texas governor becoming president just because of some state politics from back in the day?  But we digress..]

According to Mediaite.com, AttackWatch  reports –

  • “In less than 24 hours we’ve had over 100,000 people sign up at the website, which indicates significant interest from supporters.”
  • “..a new front in the heightened information wars that come with presidential campaigns, the site enables user-generated submissions of…unfair or untruthful media attacks on President Obama, his political campaign and his administration’s policy….
  • “In the brave new world that is political smear campaigns, leveraging the passion of one’s political base is…. a smart and savvy political move.”

BFIA would only add one thing and that is, the point of AttackWatch.com is not so that we can focus on the falsehoods and inadvertantly help the lies reach a larger audience while attempting to rebut them.  The point is to get FACTS into the media.  So users need to remember to focus on disseminating the FACTS and scrupulously avoid repeating the falsehoods. Remember, it is not necessary to repeat what the opposition has said when pointing out something FACTual.  Notice when they tell lies, they don’t start out with, “Democrats say….”  They are ALWAYS on offense.

This cannot be overemphasized, so let’s review an idea from the now classic,  “Don’t Think Of An Elephant: Know Your Values And Frame The Debate” by George Lakoff  (Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the UC Berkeley; taught at Harvard and Univ. of Michigan; grad. of MIT in in Mathematics and Literature; PhD in Linguistics from Indiana Univ, and author of several other books including The Political Mind).

For example, in your letter to the editor of your local  newspaper, do NOT start your letter with, “Republican leaders have falsely claimed President Obama’s health care reform law is blah blah blah…”   – whatever it is they are falsely claiming, LEAVE IT OUT.  Repeating it does two things: (1) grows the audience for the lie; (2) embeds the lie in the minds of the uninformed, making them think there could be something to it and leaving them confused and vulnerable to misinformation.

So remember to just say the FACTual part instead, this example taken from AttackWatch.com:  “The Affordable Care Act will prevent insurance companies from cutting off health care payments when people need them the most. The law allows  temporary waivers to employers who said the law’s interim standards would force them to drop their health plans or boost premiums.”  It’s all good.

If when writing your letter you must refer to the attack, just say, “Contrary to what the GOP has claimed…” or something general, referencing their claim for the purpose of ease of letter writing, but not repeating it, and sticking only to the FACTS.  Then if the reader wants to know the precise claim they can research it and inform themselves.  It’s a win-win.

This is the primary teaching of Lakoff. So dust off your copy of “Don’t Think Of An Elephant” and following his guidance, this is your new mantra: NEVER, NEVER NEVER repeat the false GOP talking points in your letters to the media.

Well, almost NEVER.  One exception:  The only time it is advantageous to repeat a lie about your candidate is when the  focus of your article or letter is to point out out how crazy, corrupt or out of touch the individual or media outlet is for attempting to pass it off as believable.

Let’s get to work.

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