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How Millions of Americans Were Duped by Russiagate

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How Millions of Americans Were Duped by Russiagate

“Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy”, read the front page headline of Sunday’s New York Times. Bit by bit, mainstream American consciousness is slowly coming to terms with the death of the thrilling conspiracy theory that the highest levels of the US government had been infiltrated by the Kremlin, and with the stark reality that the mass media and the Democratic Party spent the last two and-a-half years monopolizing public attention with a narrative which never had any underlying truth to it.

There are still holdouts, of course. Many people invested a tremendous amount of hope, credibility, and egoic currency in the belief that Robert Mueller was going to arrest high-ranking Trump administration officials and members of Trump’s own family, leading seedy characters to “flip” on the president in their own self-interest and thereby providing evidence that will lead to impeachment. Some insist that Attorney General William Barr is holding back key elements of the Mueller report, a claim which is premised on the absurd belief that Mueller would allow Barr to lie about the results of the investigation without speaking up publicly. Others are still holding out hope that other investigations by other legal authorities will turn up some Russian shenanigans that Mueller could not, ignoring Mueller’s sweeping subpoena powers and unrivaled investigative authority. But they’re coming around.

The question still remains, though: what the hell happened? How did a fact-free conspiracy theory come to gain so much traction among mainstream Americans? How were millions of people persuaded to invest hope in a narrative that anyone objectively analyzing the facts knew to be completely false?

The answer is that they were told that the Russiagate narrative was legitimate over and over again by politicians and mass media pundits, and, because of a peculiar phenomenon in the nature of human cognition, this repetition made it seem true.

The rather uncreatively-named illusory truth effect describes the way people are more likely to believe something is true after hearing it said many times. This is due to the fact that the familiar feeling we experience when hearing something we’ve heard before feels very similar to our experience of knowing that something is true. When we hear a familiar idea, its familiarity provides us with something called cognitive ease, which is the relaxed, unlabored state we experience when our minds aren’t working hard at something. We also experience cognitive ease when we are presented with a statement that we know to be true.

We have a tendency to select for cognitive ease, which is why confirmation bias is a thing; believing ideas which don’t cause cognitive strain or dissonance gives us more cognitive ease than doing otherwise. Our evolutionary ancestors adapted to seek out cognitive ease so that they could put their attention into making quick decisions essential for survival, rather than painstakingly mulling over whether everything we believe is as true as we think it is. This was great for not getting eaten by saber-toothed tigers in prehistoric times, but it’s not very helpful when navigating the twists and turns of a cognitively complex modern world. It’s also not helpful when you’re trying to cultivate truthful beliefs while surrounded by screens that are repeating the same bogus talking points over and over again.

I’m dealing with a perfect example of the perils of cognitive ease right now. Writing this essay has required me to move outside my familiar comfort zone of political commentary and read a bunch of studies and essays, think hard about new ideas, and then figure out how to convey them as clearly and concisely as possible without boring my audience. This movement away from cognitive ease has resulted in my checking Twitter a lot more often than I usually do, and seeking so much distraction that this essay will probably end up getting published about twelve hours later than I had intended. Having to read a bunch of scholars explaining the precise reasons why I’m acting like such an airhead hasn’t exactly helped my sense of cognitive ease any, either.

Science has been aware of the illusory truth effect since 1977, when a study found that subjects were more likely to evaluate a statement as true when it’s been repeatedly presented to them over the course of a couple of weeks, even if they didn’t consciously remember having encountered that statement before. These findings have been replicated in numerous studies since, and new research in recent years has shown that the phenomenon is even more drastic than initially believed. A 2015 paper titled “Knowledge Does Not Protect Against Illusory Truth” found that the illusory truth effect is so strong that sheer repetition can change the answers that test subjects give, even when they had been in possession of knowledge contradicting that answer beforehand. This study was done to test the assumption which had gone unchallenged up until then that the illusory truth effect only comes into play when there is no stored knowledge of the subject at hand.

“Surprisingly, repetition increased statements’ perceived truth, regardless of whether stored knowledge could have been used to detect a contradiction,” the paper reads. “Reading a statement like ‘A sari is the name of the short pleated skirt worn by Scots’ increased participants’ later belief that it was true, even if they could correctly answer the question ‘What is the name of the short pleated skirt worn by Scots?’”

Stored knowledge tells pretty much everybody that the “short, pleated skirt worn by Scots” is a kilt, not a sari, but simply repeating the contrary statement can convince them otherwise.

This explains why we all know people who are extraordinarily intelligent, but still bought into the Russiagate narrative just as much as our less mentally apt friends and acquaintances. Their intelligence didn’t save them from this debunked conspiracy theory, it just made them more clever in finding ways of defending it. This is because the illusory truth effect largely bypasses the intellect, and even one’s own stored knowledge, because of the way we all reflexively select for cognitive ease.

Another study titled “Incrimination through innuendo: Can media questions become public answers?” found that subjects can be manipulated into believing an allegation simply by exposure to innuendo or incriminating questions in news media headlines. Questions like, for example, “What If Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987?”, printed by New York Magazinein July of last year.

You can understand, then, how a populace who is consuming repetitive assertions, innuendo, and incriminating questions on a daily basis through the screens that they look at many times a day could be manipulated into believing that Robert Mueller would one day reveal evidence which will lead to the destruction of the Trump administration. The repetition leads to belief, the belief leads to trust, and before you know it people who are scared of the president are reading the Palmer Report every day and parking themselves in front of Rachel Maddow every night and letting everything they say slide right past their skepticism filters, marinating comfortably in a sedative of cognitive ease.

And that repetition has been no accident. CNN producer John Bonifield was caught on video nearly two years ago admitting that CNN’s CEO Jeff Zucker was personally instructing his staff to stay focused on Russia even in the midst of far more important breaking news stories.

“My boss, I shouldn’t say this, my boss yesterday we were having a discussion about this dental shoot and he goes and he was just like I want you to know what we are up against here,” Bonifield told an undercover associate of James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. “And he goes, just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with it, let’s get back to Russia.”

(And before you get on me about O’Keefe’s shady record, CNN said in a statement that the video was legitimate and disputed none of its content, saying only that it stands by Bonifield and that “Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it.”)

Zucker, for his part, told the New York Times in an article published yesterday that he was “entirely comfortable” with CNN’s role in promoting the Russiagate conspiracy theory the way that it did.

“We are not investigators. We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did,” Zucker said. “A sitting president’s own Justice Department investigated his campaign for collusion with a hostile nation. That’s not enormous because the media says so. That’s enormous because it’s unprecedented.”

“We are not investigators”? What the fuck kind of dumbass shit is that? So it’s not your job to investigate whether what you’re reporting is true or false? It’s not your job to investigate whether the anonymous sources you’re basing your reports on might be lying or not? It’s not your job to investigate whether or not you’d be committing journalistic malpractice with the multiple completely bullshit stories your outlet has been humiliated by in the last two years? It’s not your job to weigh the consequences of deliberately monopolizing public attention on a narrative which consists of nothing but confident-sounding assertions and innuendo?

Read More:  Ocasio-Cortez Accused By Democrats For Being A Russian Bot

“We are not investigators.” So? You’re not dentists or firefighters either, what’s your point? That has nothing to do with the mountains of journalistic malpractice you’ve been perpetrating by advancing this conspiracy theory, nor with the inexcusable brutalization you’ve been inflicting upon the American psyche with your deliberate nonstop repetition of bogus assertions, innuendo, and incriminating questions.

The science of modern propaganda has been in research and development for over a century. If you think about how many advances have been made in other military fields over the last hundred years, that gives you a clear example of how sophisticated an understanding the social engineers must now have of the methods of mass manipulation of human psychology. We may be absolutely certain that there are people who’ve been working to drive the public narratives about western rivals like Russia, and that they are doing so with a far greater understanding of the concepts we’ve touched on in this essay than we have at our disposal.

The manipulators understand our psyches better than we understand them ourselves, and they’re getting more clever, not less. The only thing we can do to keep our heads while immersed in a society that is saturated with propaganda is be as relentlessly honest as possible, with ourselves and with the world. We’ll never be able to out-manipulate the master manipulators, but we can be real with ourselves about whether or not we’re selecting for cognitive ease rather than thinking rigorously and clearly. We can be truthful with our friends, family, coworkers and social media followers wherever untruth seems to be taking hold. We can do our very best to shine the light of truth on the puppeteers wherever we spot them and ruin the whole goddamn show for everyone.

It may not seem like a lot, but truth is the one thing they can’t manipulate, whether it’s truth about them, truth about the world, or truthfulness with yourself. The lying manipulators got us into this mess, so only truth can get us out.

Read More: Paul Manafort may face new charges after reportedly lying to Russia investigators

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President Trump accuses Obama on his campaign for ‘ ILLEGAL Spying ‘: “They tried to defeat me”

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President Trump accuses Obama on his campaign for ' ILLEGAL Spying ': "They tried to defeat me"

President Trump has criticized President Barack Obama at Sunday’s interview with Maria Bartiromo for illegally spying on his campaign.

This weekend, Bartiromo aired the interview on Sunday morning Futures.

President Trump wondered during the meeting why the victims of the espionage operation are not in jail.

Watch: Transcript: Maria Bartiromo: Attorney Barr’s officers are not included in the Horowitz report. He looks at Brenann. He looks at Brenann. He’s staring at the officers of other Obama. How far are you feeling it’s gone?

President Donald Trump: I think it’s gone up to the top. And I guess they spied on my victory, what they did. What they did was so illegal that there was never anything like it in history. Before I was elected, they tried to defeat me. And then the policy of insurance started. Will you remember the famous policy of insurance? We’re going to get him here if he plays. And that happened. And that happened. There was never such a thing. If this was reversed and it was Trump, President Obama did. Women would be in jail for 50 years today.

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House Impeachment Manager acknowledges that the election is about 2020

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House Impeachment Manager acknowledges that the election is about 2020

Rep. Zoe Lofgren admitted Sunday that the joke of the impeachment is all about the 2020 elections.

Rep. Lofgren was asked in a Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper why the Democrats hurried to a lawsuit rather than defending against subpoenas.

Thegatewaypundit.com reports: Deputy Counsel Patrick Philbin of Trump said on Saturday that the House Committee on the Judiciary will seek the House’s approval before the action is taken.

When Pelosi ordered various committees to launch the hearings with a press-conference instead of a full-scale House vote, Philbin argued that the subpoenas sent to Trump officials were unconstitutional.

The Democrats have never even gone to the courts to enforce summonses, but instead made a phony crime called “Congress Obstruction” and began their shampement hearings.

The reason is that they want to stop Trump’s reelection campaign in 2020 or stop him from voting and that Lofgren openly admitted on Sunday.

“The election would be over if we waited three or four years and the problem was be null,” rep. Lofgren said.

WATCH: The tyrannical democrats want the Electoral College to be scrapped and the elections finally get rid of, and they don’t even hide it.

Adam Schiff lectured America on Wednesday and said that your vote didn’t count because you can not trust the ballot box.

If you choose Trump, your vote doesn’t count.

“The corruption of the President can’t be solved at the polling station because we can’t be sure that the votes will be won fairly,” Schiff said.

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Commander-in-Chief: ‘ In the White House, unborn children never had more protector ‘

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Commander-in-Chief: ' In the White House, unborn children never had more protector '

President Trump made history Friday when he became the first U.S. president to address the annual March for Life gathering, where he proclaimed he to be the greatest advocate ever to sit in the White House for unborn children.

“In the White House, unborn children never had a better advocate,” President Trump told hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers.

POTUS said he was “proud to stand with you,” “to safeguard each child born or unborn to fulfill its god-given potential.” Reports from Lifesitenews.com: “Today, we all recognize an eternal truth: every child of God is a precious sacred gift,” Trump said. “The sanctity and dignity of human life must be valued and protected together. Trump addressed his decisions during his first mandate and said that’ unborn children never had a better supporter at the White House. He said that the pro-life movement was strongly influenced by the Left’s war on religious freedom, but he vowed that his government would continue to defend faith “The far left works towards eradicating our rights given by God,” he said. “They’re going for me, because I’m fighting for you.” “We’re the voice of voiceless people together,” he added. The “democrats have taken on the most progressive and conservative policies that have been seen in decades” in this regard noting the support of Congressional Democrats for late abortion and the opposition to the medical care provision for newborns surviving abortions.

 

“Today your dedication uplifts our whole nation for all the women here, and we thank you for that,” said the president. “We welcome you today to all the moms here and announce that mothers are heroes. All people are worthy of protect because we realize and human soul is divine and every human life born and unborn is created in the holy image of the Almighty God. “He added that” the pro-lifers are only making it their life’s mission to help spread the grace of God, “through their actions for aiding pregnant women and helping children” find their eternal homes.” “We don’t know what our citizens have yet. “We know this, however: every life brings love into this world, and every child brings family happiness. See some responses on the ground to President Trump’s landmark address at the March for Life:

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Movement Chief Calls Trump ‘ Most Successful Pro-Life President in this country’s history ‘

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Movement Chief Calls Trump ' Most Successful Pro-Life President in this country's history '

A pro-life leader called President Donald Trump “the most actively active pro-life president of the country in history,” speaking on Friday’s annual March for Life by Jeff Hunt, the director of the Institute for Colorado Christian University, as the pro-life advocates.

President Trump spoke today at the March for Life rally. Trump is the lifetime’s most pro-life president and the ultimate defender of our innocent lives. https:/t.co/Jzk8JYPXFB— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) 24 January 2020 Trump made history on Friday when he became the first Leader of the March to talk in person.

TRENDING: Poop-Covered Streets Cost San Francisco $192 thousand After Tech Giant Moves Event Hunt on Thursday spoke about Trump in Sirius XM’s “Breitbart News Tonight” commentary. “This is a historic moment, actually,” Hunt said. “Donald Trump is the most successful pro-life president in this country’s history from a strictly political viewpoint. He has done an excellent job in criticizing the abortion industry and their profitable activities in making money from death. “Hunt zeroed on Trump’s success in recommending conservative judges to expand the federal judiciary.

“He has appointed judges who will return to a parliamentary method— the original purpose of the constitution— not to pass legislation from the bench, but to returnto co-equality branches of power,” he said.

Would you agree that President Trump was the most successful pro-life president in the history of this nation?

That’s not all, said Hunt.

“I’m excited about everything he’s done to protect freedom of religion, rights of conscience, the protection of the Planned Parenthood, the appointment to these judges who will interpret the Constitution as written,” he said.

Hunt said the policies of Trump are helping pro-life activists who have been dealing with abortion for years.

He said, “These are great moments. “These are the moves we’ve been waiting for in this country to stop abortion. Looking at the way we have stopped the slave trade in history, that didn’t happen overnight. “That took a lot of work, and people I find as champions, including William Wilberforce, who fought for 60 years to stop the slave industry. RELATED: GOP Sen. Able to call Schiff, Whistleblower, Bidens To Testify in Case Senate Allows Senators to see”[ W]e are having abortion there and this president should be honored, and I think that 100,000 people would be able to say thanks to this president for the work he did.”

Hunt compared Trump to former President Abraham Lincoln during his interview.

“During his[ presidency], Lincoln also grew,” said Hunt.

“He was mainly nervous at the beginning of the Civil War to keep the Union together. It changed as he became a very passionate abolitionist, and eventually the 13th amendment ended the nation’s slavery, “he said.

During the interview he noted that pro-life warriors such as Vice President Mike Pence and White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway were major figures in Trump.

“Leaders and leaders in our country are surrounded by people who influence and direct their thought, and I have seen this president become a committed pro-life leader, and I believe much of it is due to the transparency with which that administration will engage with the community of faith,” he said.

“I have to tell you that I’ve worked with various administrations. It’s great when we work with pro-life leaders. “@@realDonaldTrump at the March for Life:” When we keep a newborn in our brains, we know the endless love every child has for a family. We see the splendor that radiates from every human soul as we watch a child grow.

Pic.twitter.com/1g0hKqmNS4— Students For Trump (@TrumpStudents) January 24, 2020 Trump has punished Democrats and saluted pro-life advocate in a White House media-pool report for their comments on Friday.

“Unfortunately, the far left works vigorously to abolish our rights given to Christ, to shut down faithful charities, to ban public religious believers and silence Americans who believe in sainthood,” Trump said.

“They come after me because I fight for you and we fight for the voiceless.” Trump said that all children deserve to be entitled to life.

“We can not say what our people can accomplish yet unborn, the visions they envision, the masterpieces they create and the discoveries they produce,” Trump said.

“But we know this: love brings into this world every single life. Each child brings a family happiness. Everyone should be safe. They know first and foremost that every soul of man is sacred, and every creation— born and unborn — is created in the holy image of Almighty God, “he added.

“We will defend this truth together throughout our splendid country. We must set our people’s dreams free. And with intense anticipation, we look forward to all the blessings of every American child’s beauty, talent, intent, righteousness and grace.

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Impeachment Manager compares Trump with Nazi Germany and the perpetrators of 9/11

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Impeachment Manager compares Trump with Nazi Germany and the perpetrators of 9/11

Democratic House litigation chief Hakeem Jeffries on Friday argued that Trump’s criminal case is like battling Al-Qaeda terrorists after 9/11 and thwarting Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

“If America is in a tough position, we always go to the other side,” said the Representative from New York.

“We were at a tough spot when a foreign power hit in December 1941, plunging us into a big fight with the evil empire in Nazi Germany, but America pushed it onto the other side.” “We had a difficult spot when the towers were struck and young men and women like Jason Crow were sent there to combat the terrorists, and we did not have to fight the terrorists against her

Dailywire.com reports: Jeffries ‘ remarks come on the last day of the Democrats to defend the removal of Trump.

“The White House lawyers— headed by Pat A.Cipollone, the white House attorney, and Jay Sekulow, the President’s personal lawyer, will have the opportunity, beginning on Saturday 25 January, to make their oral arguments defending the president. Senate rules, dating back over three decades, ensure that senators have to meet six days a week during the trial and take only Sunday off, “reports The New York Times. “If the rule debate was any guide, lawyers of the president could take far less than their allotted 24 hours. But if they took it all, on Tuesday 28 January they would complete their presentation.

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