Are We Being Propagandized?

by | Dec 7, 2017 | Mindset

Carma’s Note I’ve always considered myself a liberal and compared to my conservative husband, I still am. However, some of the comments I’ve been seeing on my Facebook feed from my liberal friends and colleagues over the past several months have made me very concerned for liberal thought (as well as conservative thought, I might add). To me, it seems that both sides have moved so far to the left and right that there is no room for a moderate, more central opinion. This is why I usually keep my political opinions to myself.

I have no problem with people disagreeing with me — unless they call me horrible names because I don’t agree with them. This is a free country and people have the right to their views and opinions without being harassed by others for them — at least as long as those views and opinions don’t cause harm (such as death and destruction) to others. When I saw this article about propaganda and how it affects our mental health, I felt it made some very good points, which is why I’ve chosen to share it with you. I hope you find it enlightening and helpful.

Are We Being Propagandized? How To Resist Getting Sucked Into Propaganda
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Are We Being Propagandized?
How To Resist Getting Sucked In

By Marianne Clyde

As I scroll through my Twitter feed and Facebook, looking at trending topics, it’s easy to look at the media outlet originating the article and assume how they will come down on a certain topic. Being a normal human being, you automatically zero in on the media outlets that support your way of thinking.

It’s kind of funny (not funny ha-ha, but funny strange) that there are two outlets covering the exact same incident and tweak a few words or add/delete a certain detail and the news story says something totally different. It can be infuriating to see such polar opposites in the news. Meanwhile, everyone claims they are right. And if you dare express an opposing option — option, mind you — not necessarily an opinion, you get slammed down and shouted down until you either shut up and shut down, or just go away.

Don't fall for enemy propaganda WWII poster
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Propaganda is information, particularly of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. This World War II poster, warns against German and Japanese propaganda while being propaganda itself.

Propaganda is a tricky business, and people on all sides of the issues are slinging it around. Many of these people are well-meaning, and some are clearly not. Some news outlets are so sure they are being righteous and truthful, and so afraid that the general population, often referred to as a clump, “‘The American People’ are concerned…or aware…or like this…or think this…or that,” will be misled, so they take the responsibility upon themselves to lead them into a certain way of thinking.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I listen to a statement about what concerns the “American People” and I think, “How dare they speak for me? They don’t even know me.” What these people are doing is stating their opinion as fact and use inflammatory statements intended to make the “American People” feel left out or stupid or in the minority if they disagree.

OK, I get it. It’s about ratings and free speech and being the first to present the facts. Of course. That is what it is. We have to stop blaming the media, the politicians, and the advertisers and get informed. It’s a contest, a race for who’s on top, who’s got the best ratings and that’s all part of a capitalistic society. But if we, the “American People,” want to avoid getting caught up in the vortex of a propagandized agenda, we must be the ones to stop the reactivity. We must be the ones to slow down the rate at which we listen, think and respond. We are really the ones who have the power to change the culture to what we want it to be, not what some politician or news source wants it to be. But we have to stop being lazy in our listening.

Blaming and finger pointing is lazy and reactive. We need to accept what is and embrace it. If we are seeing a divided society or propaganda-slinging, we need to stop resisting it and hoping it will go away, but we need to see it for what it is and ask ourselves, “So what do we do about that?” Awareness is the beginning of change. When we are aware of what we are dealing with, we can develop a plan of action. Blaming and finger pointing is not a plan of action.

If different media outlets are spouting totally different stories, then we need to hear what’s out there. We need to dig through the rubble and find facts and differentiate them from opinions. It may be painful to listen to an outlet that doesn’t necessarily sing to your tune, but it’s a great chance to learn how to sing harmony.

As a therapist, I am constantly aware that one side sounds correct and credible until you hear another perspective, then when you hear all perspectives, it can get pretty messy with blaming and name calling and mudslinging. But if you make a judgment based on one side of the story and start jumping on the bandwagon to oppose, (can we even say, destroy?) the opposition, we will never find the truth. We will never find a solution. We will just continue to get more and more divided, and factionalized. When a country or a society is divided and factionalized, it is weakened. It begins to crack. Then remember earlier we talked about how some of this is done by well-meaning people? OK, but there are those out there that would utterly destroy our community, society, or country. They will take advantage of our naivety, our emotional reactivity and lack of intestinal fortitude to do the real work of searching for truth.

So how do we protect our society and ourselves? We need to each, personally, make sure we are grounded and connected to the source of truth. Many studies have been done showing how meditation changes the brain. It helps you process toxic emotions; it reduces anxiety and depression; it helps you think clearer and increases empathy and compassion. Those that would divide us know that if they can get us stirred up to stop thinking and just react to our triggered emotions, our capacity for empathy decreases. We are no longer able to hold conflicting thoughts in our minds and process them. We become sheep being led to the slaughter of someone else’s agenda based on power and control. That is a dangerous place for a society to be.

I am not advocating any one type of meditation because there is a place in every belief system or faith to define it as you will, but the truth is we all, every single one of us, need to slow down the reactivity and learn to take a breath and detach from the drama and propaganda (from all sides) and learn to listen to the wisdom within. It’s there. It’s just waiting for you to breathe.


Carma’s Note How does this topic relate to entrepreneurship, product creation and creating a legacy from the information between your ears? I believe that we are all born with the seeds of Awesomeness within us. Whether those seeds bloom or wilt is up to us. It is our responsibility to nurture those seeds, for no one else will do it for us. I also believe that we do not have the right to judge or stomp on the Awesome of others. When we let propaganda, fake news, and rigid “My ideas are the only right ideas” thinking to encourage us to be less than polite and kind to others, I believe we do ourselves and each other a great disservice. Do you want your legacy to be one of absolutism that blocks out the ideas of others? Or do you want it to be something more? Food for thought.


About the Author

Marianne Clyde
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Marianne Clyde is an expert in Mental Health in the workplace. Speaking to businesses and associations about empowerment, team building and relationship networking, she is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, in practice for over 27 years, energizing speaker and dauntless world traveler. She lived in Japan for over eight years and has spent time in at least 20 developing countries, teaching about recovery from trauma, personal empowerment and interpersonal relationships.

She has written and published numerous articles, appeared on radio and television worldwide, commenting on topics ranging from gun violence to having a happy marriage. Host and producer of her own TV shows, she has also hosted a call-in radio show and has produced Moments of Mindfulness Meditation CD.

After launching two best-selling books, Peaceful Parenting: 10 Essential Principles and Un-Leashed: Practical Steps to Get Your Life Unstuck, she has now released her most powerful book to date, Zentivity™: How to Eliminate Chaos, Stress and Discontent in Your Workplace. As chaos, reactivity and polarization reign, whether your workplace is in politics, business or home, she recognizes and advocates for mental health in the workplace.

A companion website is available along with the book at www.zentivity.guru to help readers establish strong new patterns of thought and behavior.

Marianne is the founder of the Marianne Clyde Center for Holistic Psychotherapy, in Warrenton, VA, winner of the 2017 Best of Warrenton award, winner of the Business Person of the Year Award from the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce, and also the founder of Be the Change Foundation, helping underprivileged women create and sustain home-based businesses.

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