The Art of Deception

April 30th, 2012 by

L’arte dell’inganno

From Syria to 'Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Arab Springs, the media wars - those that fight in the mainstream media, to the search for consensus and the control of international public opinion - have become more important than the wars of combat, the fighting each other instead of on the battlefield. And it only seems that the first victims are less than the latter. The first kill in fact the truth, burying (or annacquandola) in the sea of propaganda and disinformation. This prevents us citizens to exercise our right and duty to be informed, in a free and fair.

For the Media as a Weapon has dedicated the last special issue of Limes. And there are various interesting thoughts on the matter, also in relation to the current geo-media theater. Common is the emphasis on the excessive power exercised today by the storytelling, an ancient art and in the past has been an important instrument of shared values ​​- explains a great book out a few years ago - but that has changed to this day in a terrible weapon of persuasion in the hands of the gurus of marketing, management and communication of political and military, by which to shape the opinions not only of consumers but also the public. Now - it is a given in the sight of all - do not sell neither the facts nor ideas but the "stories". And the stories are so well scripted, so exciting, that it is hard not to believe it. Thus falling into deception.

Storytelling dazzle defenseless citizens and journalists themselves. even the best. A matter of laziness, often, or carelessness, haste, connivance or lack of competence. The fact is that the charm of "good stories" - especially those packed in accordance with established archetypes, such as good and evil - is hard to resist, even when it is suspected that they can not be true. On closer reflection, the Arab Springs erupted in recent years have been told by the mainstream media as a "process" - as was proper, it is a historical phenomenon - but as a series of "stories", selected with the intent to touch the hearts of most who speak to the minds, and at the risk of forcing the facts and their interpretation. To tell stories, on the other hand, are primarily actors, governments and concerned that their protestors, as has been shown before in Libya and then Syria. And extricate themselves in the sea of misinformation is not easy, even for the most seasoned professionals.

For the same reason it is not easy to understand what is happening in Afghanistan. As he explains Federico Petroni in this issue of Limes President Barack Obama is in fact able to foreclose the news this costly and unpopular war, which he helped to "inflate", both in terms of troops and budget. All thanks to a "narrative" ad hoc, so charming and well-articulated that the media maistream have not actually ever challenged, that is, without ever try to question the validity of its claim. This result has also contributed to the increasingly common practice of embedded journalism, which - as I have tried to argue , too , based on my experience - lose autonomy and "tends to develop a point of view close to that of the sympathetic and troops. "The result is only apparently paradoxical, is that Barack Obama has succeeded in the course of two years to ensure that his constituents, his audience, had little interest in knowing how he was going to end the conflict in Afghanistan. Brought home this goal then changed the narrative, focusing today to bring back "home" to his boys.    And on this tip to be re-elected.

{Lang: 'en'}

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