Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression
Strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring
down a government. When the government lacks an effective, fact-based
defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques
depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token
1 Dummy up. If it's not reported, if it's not news, it didn't happen.
2 Wax indignant. This is also known as the "How dare you?" gambit.
3 Characterize the charges as "rumors" or, better yet, "wild rumors." If,
in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the
suspicious facts, it can only be through "rumors." (If they tend to believe
the "rumors" it must be because they are simply "paranoid" or "hysterical.")
4 Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspects of the weakest
charges. Even better, create your own straw men. Make up wild rumors (or
plant false stories) and give them lead play when you appear to debunk all
the charges, real and fanciful alike.
5 Call the skeptics names like "conspiracy theorist," "nutcase," "ranter,"
"kook," "crackpot," and, of course, "rumor monger." Be sure, too, to use
heavily loaded verbs and adjectives when characterizing their charges and
defending the "more reasonable" government and its defenders. You must then
carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus
maligned. For insurance, set up your own "skeptics" to shoot down.
6 Impugn motives. Attempt to marginalize the critics by suggesting
strongly that they are not really interested in the truth but are simply
pursuing a partisan political agenda or are out to make money (compared to
over-compensated adherents to the government line who, presumably, are not).
7 Invoke authority. Here the controlled press and the sham opposition can
be very useful.
8 Dismiss the charges as "old news."
9 Come half-clean. This is also known as "confession and avoidance" or
"taking the limited hangout route." This way, you create the impression of
candor and honesty while you admit only to relatively harmless,
less-than-criminal "mistakes." This stratagem often requires the embrace of
a fall-back position quite different from the one originally taken. With
effective damage control, the fall-back position need only be peddled by
stooge skeptics to carefully limited markets.
10 Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth as
11 Reason backward, using the deductive method with a vengeance. With
thoroughly rigorous deduction, troublesome evidence is irrelevant. E.g. We
have a completely free press. If evidence exists that the Vince Foster
"suicide" note was forged, they would have reported it. They haven't
reported it so there is no such evidence. Another variation on this theme
involves the likelihood of a conspiracy leaker and a press who would report
12 Require the skeptics to solve the crime completely. E.g. If Foster was
murdered, who did it and why?
13 Change the subject. This technique includes creating and/or publicizing
14 Lightly report incriminating facts, and then make nothing of them. This
is sometimes referred to as "bump and run" reporting.
15 Baldly and brazenly lie. A favorite way of doing this is to attribute
the "facts" furnished the public to a plausible-sounding, but anonymous,
16 Expanding further on numbers 4 and 5, have your own stooges "expose"
scandals and champion popular causes. Their job is to pre-empt real
opponents and to play 99-yard football. A variation is to pay rich people
for the job who will pretend to spend their own money.
17 Flood the Internet with agents. This is the answer to the question,
"What could possibly motivate a person to spend hour upon hour on Internet
news groups defending the government and/or the press and harassing genuine
critics?" Don t the authorities have defenders enough in all the
newspapers, magazines, radio, and television? One would think refusing to
print critical letters and screening out serious callers or dumping them
from radio talk shows would be control enough, but, obviously, it is not.