Thursday, August 3, 2017

Vigilance not Paranoia

Jason Michael,


[There] is a process known in the world of power politics as “nudging,” and it is frightening just how many people we encounter in Scotland who are unfamiliar with the concept. When large government or corporate interests find themselves threatened by public or consumer trends they engage in both direct and indirect campaigning in an attempt to sway these trends back in their favour. Multi-billion dollar corporations like Coca Cola and McDonald’s, when faced with falling sales due to the release of health reports, will launch massive advertising campaigns and fund their own “research” through compromised scientific bodies to promote the benefits of their products.

Governments, thanks to neoliberalism and the evolution of the corporatist state, do exactly the same thing. Britain did this during the 2012-14 independence referendum campaign. It backed the No campaign and pulled every string to “encourage” the great and the good to publically do the same. It also did some nudging. With the help of government-friendly public relations companies – the sort implicated in the now known and well-publicised “psych-ops” projects in Iraq and Afghanistan – opened offices all over England for the purposes of waging cyber war on the Yes campaign. Hundreds of paid employees – mainly students – created thousands of sock puppet social media accounts to astroturf the living daylights out of Scotland – an Israeli propaganda tactic known as “hasbara” or “public diplomacy.” ...

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