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One of the oldest tricks in the manipulation handbook is making people commit in small steps. If you're some kind of door-to-door salesman for some kind of product or charity, before asking if someone wants to buy or donate, ask them a more abstract ethical question that emotionally commits them to your sale.

"Aren't you worried about the plight of inner city youth?"

"Uhhh... sure, I guess."

"That's good to hear. Would you like to donate to our charity that funds after-school activities for at-risk children?"

It's a a tried-and-true ploy because it works. When people feel like they've commited to some premise, even unenthusiastically, they feel wrong for the perceived inconsistency of not following that committal up. This is well-replicated in social psychology studies and every day in real life.

Now think of how this psychological glitch in humans plays out in the modern world of instant-gratification live media. One of the things about Twitter or Facebook is that people have an "oportunity" to publically commit to a cause in front of their peers as something is happening, or more usually, even before we know what's happening. When the facts prove people wrong or misguided, if they've publically committed to some premise, they feel wrong to reneg, and usually doublew down.

Let's take a "controversial" example. One that's really only so controversial because so many people committed to it instantaneously. In 2014, a 18-year-old black man was shot by a police officer. When it first happened, that's all the news said. That was enough to get people not just pissed and committed on Twitter, but riots, mass vandalism and assaults broke out immediately in the city, continuing for days.

Only several days later did the media begin to concede that the whole issue was more complicated. Not only had the desceased been stopped for a robbery evidenced by a video-tape, but the police department began releasing the physical evidence of the case to quell public unrest, all of it pointing an easily justifiable shooting. On the field of facts, the protesters and rioters had been caught with their dicks in the wind.

But if course, it didn't matter. People who had already committed with their recorded words or actions are never going to backtrack. Notice the same thing happened in the socially similar case of Trayvon Martin. People who knew very little of the case got very upset because of the bad optics of "Neighborhood watchman shoots black child." When a lot of these people ended up watching the trial and seeing the evidence of the case, the witness reports, the physical evidence and the battery wounds all over the watchman, they sooner reached for a police conspiracy than acquiesing to what was obviously before them.

It'd be cheap to accuse all these people of the sin of pride, because this is something we always do all the time. This is why infotainment media is so intellectually dangerous. If people are given the ability to commit to a stance, particularlly one that's socially well-approved, they fall into dogmatism when they are minutely pressured.

This is easy to manipulate.

A dishonest journalist (or in other words, a journalist) can convince people of what they want simply by releasing damning information in a tactical fashion. You probably see the media do this all the time.

First, you release something that will get people riled up for your cause. You might already know that it's more complicated or even totally false, but sit on any damning information. People hear the juicy bits and they publically commit to your cause. Then, later, as a footnote, concede that there is a more complicated picturs. In fact, maybe you got it totally wrong. It doesn't matter. The people already commited.

If someone calls you on it, you can say that you never opined, and simply released all the pertinent information. "Only the facts!" You don't even have to commit to the cause publicly. You can remain aloof and "neutral."

I call this the "CNN-style" of reporting/brainwashing, which is very distinct from the MSNBC/Fox brainwashing. Cloak yourself in objectivity and release information in a way that benefits your cause. Lead people in the way you want without any open direction. Very Daoist. Very effective.

This is one of the main reasons I don't use social media. This kind of confirmation bias and commitment bias will get you every time and you'll end up in a gaggle of similarly deluded people. If you have to use social media, well, you don't, but if you really want to, be sure to hold your tongue. Once you commit to something openly, you're psychologically stuck to something. It's best to keep quiet on individual Happenings until the information is all out.