“Propaganda and Belief in the Modern World” is a commissioned study from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) – a government organization that grants funding to major research projects. Dr. Eric Mandelbaum, a professor in the emerging field of Cognitive Philosopher from New York has just won a $50,000 grant to detail how exactly media can more effectively, and subliminally, shape the public.
Mandelbaum’s focus is the, “psychology of belief formation.” He explains, “one can end up believing anything,” even that liberals can be conditioned mentally if they watch a correctly designed television channel.
“How can human beings, seemingly the smartest animals ever encountered, be so freaking dumb?” Mandelbaum asks in his “about me” page on his website, which he proudly titled, “Thoughts about thoughts.”
“We seem to acquire beliefs with the ease with which we catch colds, yet we also seem to learn nothing,” he said.
In 2015, Mandelbaum coauthored a paper entitled, “Believing without Reason, or: Why Liberals Shouldn’t Watch Fox News.” In his beginning section of that paper, “Believing Badly,” Mandelbaum provides a list for believing in God as one of the several “odd beliefs” that Americans hold close to them.
“[Seventy-four percent] of American adults believe in God, 72 [percent] believe in miracles, 68 [percent] believe in heaven, 57 [percent] believe in the Virgin birth,” the article stated. “Thus more Americans believe that Jesus was born of a virgin than that humans are part of the phylogenetic tree. As of May 2014, 22-28 [percent] of Americans believe that the Bible is the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally word for word,” Mandelbaum emphasized.
“People hold shockingly irrational beliefs,” he writes.
The thesis of that article “why liberals should stay away from Fox News” stated that the news feed on the bottom of the screen could influence viewers thought process.
“[I]f the evidence previously discussed is correct then merely attending to some element of the scene (e.g., the crawl) while suppressing attention to the others will induce load and trigger an unconscious passive acceptance of whatever you read, whether or not you consider the source to be credible,” Mandelbaum explained.
“The reluctant liberal Fox News viewer, then, will not merely unwillingly accept information (e.g.,) embedded in the crawl, but will integrate that information with other previously held beliefs,” he continues. “And this information—these new beliefs—will not only be acquired in an evidence-less fashion, but they will be acquired from sources the viewer explicitly rejects as trustworthy sources. These beliefs will then be integrated into the subject’s future decisions and attitudes, unbeknownst to her and despite her better judgment. If the Spinozan model is correct, this proliferation of belief without evidence is real and serious.”
Mandelbaum further added that the viewers are not safe at all, even if they convince themselves that, “This report is not credible and I should reject it.”
“[O]nce parsed and understood, the report lies ‘sleeping’ in central cognition, stretching its inferential tentacles outward,” he wrote in his article. “When you combine brute-causal belief acquisition with the constant attentional and behavioral regulation that we engage in, one can end up believing anything,” Mandelbaum concluded.
If liberals are concerned about the propagandistic power of one single channel – Fox News – to shape and destroy their irrational liberal viewpoint, what does that mean for us conservatives, and our interaction with the mainstream media? How many of or neighbors, coworkers, friends and family are simply liberal due the constant tsunami of liberal propaganda flooding into their brain? This should be of deep concern!