Six Wrenches That Twist The Mind

From War and Anti-war: Making Sense of Today’s Global Chaos by Alvin and Heidi Toffler (Warner Books 1993)

Each of these mind wrenches is designed to exploit the mass media to sway emotions in mass societies.

  • Atrocity accusation
  • Hyperbolic inflation of the stakes involved in a battle or war (soldiers and civilians told everything they hold dear is at risk)
  • Demonisation and/or dehumanisation of the opponent (US was the Great Satan for Iran and Saddam; for Geroge Bush, Saddam was Hitler)
  • Polarisation (those who are not with us are against us)
  • Claim of divine sanction (Saddam draped his aggression in Islamic garb; Georege Bush Sr. called upon God’s support. Linking God with rhetoric about democracy)
  • Meta propaganda (propaganda that discredits the other side’s propaganda)

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