The 25 Rules of Disinformation

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From Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation (Includes The 8 Traits of A Disinformationalist) by H. Michael Sweeney. These 25 rules are everywhere in media, from political debates, to television shows, to comments on a blog.

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don’t discuss it — especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it’s not reported, it didn’t happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.

2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the “How dare you!” gambit.

3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such “arguable rumors”. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a “wild rumor” which can have no basis in fact.

4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent’s argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary attack the messenger ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as “kooks”, “right-wing”, “liberal”, “left-wing”, “terrorists”, “conspiracy buffs”, “radicals”, “militia”, “racists”, “religious fanatics”, “sexual deviates”, and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.

6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism reasoning — simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent’s viewpoint.

7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could so taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.

8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough “jargon” and “minutiae” to illustrate you are “one who knows”, and simply say it isn’t so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.

9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues with denial they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with. Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually them be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues — so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.

11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the “high road” and “confess” with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made — but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, “just isn’t so.” Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later. Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for “coming clean” and “owning up” to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to loose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.

13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards with an apparent deductive logic in a way that forbears any actual material fact.

14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best for items qualifying for rule 10.

15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.

16. Vanishing evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won’t have to address the issue.

17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can “argue” with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.

18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can’t do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how “sensitive they are to criticism”.

19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the “play dumb” rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon). In order to completely avoid discussing issues may require you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.

20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed an unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict (usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim) is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed.

22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.

23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.

24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of their character by release of blackmail information, or merely by proper intimidation with blackmail or other threats.

25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen.

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113 Comments on "The 25 Rules of Disinformation"

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Bobby
2 years 6 months ago

#26 claim racism and discrimination.

vigilant kenyan
5 years 4 months ago

Thanx vc, a great article as always… I suggest another disinfo tactic which has been very prevalent in my country: OPINION POLLS! they are so many and i believe they are being used to shape public opinion coz the results are always baffling to me. what do the other vc readers think?

5 years 3 months ago
You are 100% correct that almost all "opinion polls" are used in mass media to CREATE and SHAPE public opinion – not to measure what public opinion actually is. If you ever notice their little disclaimers, like "margin of error 3%" and crap like that – knowing anything about statistics you'd know it is nearly impossible to know that sort of thing if you're being intellectually honest about it – which they are not, of course – so they simply throw that in so that people will see it, and therefore believe "hey there's some scientific way they know this… Read more »
george
5 years 4 months ago

Certainly mate. They manipulate the polls to milsead the population. I don't trust them in any shape or form.

Bro. Nick
1 year 1 day ago

Thank you for the information – it has been helpful for me to understand the 'ploys' and thus more of what the persons particular agenda is, which in the areas that I make comments 'online' are 'spiritual Deceptions – and Delusions – and Deliberate Deceit' – using 'verbal semantics' – and dis-information – and propaganda – and outright lies – and personal attacks

Aussie Andrew
2 years 6 months ago

A really good article. Our local talkback radio shock jocks have had all of this down to a fine art for years.

Tsadi Waw Mem Taw
3 years 9 days ago

The real number one, which is obligatory in order to carry out all the rest: Be a soulless subhuman piece of shit.

Spirit
3 years 3 months ago

sounds like the job description of a lawyer

muscadine34
3 years 3 months ago

Like staying with family.

Wish you had a remedy for every one of these ploys!

Lloyd S Paulson
3 years 7 months ago
A man testified in the Superior Court of Ontario, Canada. some 30 years ago. After testifying he left the court room. The crown counsel for Canada (AECL) followed after him. They tried to bribe him. His lawyer had put a listening device under the man'suit jacket. They had tried in the past. He had just given damaging testimony against a large industry. The man's lawyer came out and removed the device. Both crown counsel returned, towering over the man one said, " Mr. Paulson, we will disinform you and your family for the rest of their lives for what you… Read more »
jon
4 years 11 months ago

hi. the graphics at the beginning of this post looks very similar to the Fair Trade logo. was this on purpose? and if so, is the author of this post feel the Fair Trade non-profit organization is not legit? just curious.. sometimes, I can't tell if I'm paranoid, reading into something too far, or correct.

Steve Smith
5 years 1 month ago

Most of these points are made by people who genuinely cannot understand what you are driving at. They are signs of their own confusion. The writer of this list should get used to the idea that he/she is much cleverer than most other people, and needs to tame his/her arguments, and present them in a *very simple and clear* format, to be better understood!

kyenikinene
5 years 3 months ago

An interesting topic. my partner of 23 years, who never believes a word the 'alternative' press publishes, must have read this disnifo manual: He sometimes smiles in a most superior mannert at things that I tell him, or giggles (most irritating), or just avoids discussing certain topics when I bring them up. Our conversation is getting more and more limited as a result.

Diyar
5 years 3 months ago

Oh forgot. Here is the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct9xzXUQLuY

5 years 3 months ago

I wonder why Jay Rockefeller want to shut down Internet?

5 years 3 months ago

The truth is the most liberating of all things, but as that line in "A Few Good Men" goes…

"You can't handle the truth !"

A wise sage once commented…

"It doesn't matter what you think we will all know the truth and what is correct in the end !"

Alex C. Me
5 years 3 months ago
These are the primary tactics handed down by the rulers of the world and used by the leaders who have a face to show on tv (or choose to stay hidden). These tactics are not becoming of MANY of our leaders natural person. Obama for example is an extremely intelligent lawyer who happened to end up in the white house where he was given the "law" that he must follow "or else". Its pretty obvious that our president is not a criminal, nor a fraud, or any other derogatory term people use to show their disgust. He is a VICTIM… Read more »
severalminds
5 years 3 months ago
this article describes very well the tactics of evil servants. Just see the comments of Concerned in article about olympics 2012, he was using exactly these tactics…unfortunately my last answers to him were not published and the comments to that article are closed, but anyway i was not going to waste more time answering his nonsense, they were too obviously "time wasting" and depisting from the truth…the smart people got that and there was no more need of my underlining this fact. usually the evil servants are obsessed on the comunities where even eventually is spoken about the good and… Read more »
Sarah Connor
5 years 3 months ago

Severalminds……but sound ones! I say bring it, you can 'smell' them a mile away! Nice post.

Magda
5 years 3 months ago
When I was a child, I used to believe adults knew everything. Now I realise, adults are nothing more than grown children with all of the same traits and faults. Adults can be bullies, adults can be scared, adults can be naive, adults can be trusting, adults can be bitchy. I believe that the seven deadly sins are real and that the distraction they cause is what brings real sin in. Sloth, that is laziness….makes people passive and inactive to stand up against evil…thus it can come in. Jealousy means people cannot feel connected and believe that an evil is… Read more »
joanna
5 years 3 months ago

A fantastic comment

andrea
5 years 3 months ago

Sounds a lot like trying to have a discussion with my family. *facepalm*

Great post – these manipulative tactics should be exposed for everyone's benefit. Wish this was taught in school. Thanks VC!

123&a bumblebee
5 years 3 months ago

Sarah Pail is NOTORIOUS for using almost all of these tactics. Fortunately, she is a moron and doesn't know what she's talking about more than half the time and doesn't know how to use these in a way to her benefit and smart people can see that. Unfortunately, there are people who are even stupider than she is and that's why she has such a large support group.

123&a bumblebee
5 years 3 months ago

oops, I meant Palin (Failin) not Sarah Pail. How did I miss that? My apolgoies

learnsomething23
5 years 3 months ago

VIGILANT you should do an article on college and how its all about the money and totally a business now. a lot of people like myself who have recently finished feel cheated and al ot younger than me about to go feel that it is useless. that would be a great thing to talk about thanks!

5 years 4 months ago

Tonight, I looked at a glaring tv for a few seconds, and instantly an eyeball opened, I reflexed away from the screen. It was a mazda commercial.

Spirit
5 years 4 months ago

The basic tenets of global politics, PR, sales, journalism, religion, the list goes on. Sad but true.

The saddest part of all is that there are many people who people implement these rules on a daily basis at personal level as well.

5 years 4 months ago

This sounds like the MSNBC handbook! Ok, O' Reilly, America's "most trusted news source" uses all these tactics as well. But I can't help but point out Chris Matthews, Eliot Spitzer, etc., like these guys take courses in deception. But deception is fine, as long as you're a loving liberal working for Government Electric!

george
5 years 4 months ago

^^^ "mislead" the population

B9
5 years 4 months ago

I think that this exactly the plan used for church leaders etc. The more intense the ridicule the less we believe…right? Or at least the majority will go with that.

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