Skip to main content

WikiLeaks paper reveals Congressional think tank specific techniques for 'persuading' audiences

This document was obtained by WikiLeaks from the United States Congressional Research Service. The CRS is a Congressional "think tank" with a staff of around 700. Reports are commissioned by members of Congress on topics relevant to current political events. Despite CRS costs to the tax payer of over $100M a year, its electronic archives are, as a matter of policy, not made available to the public. Individual members of Congress will release specific CRS reports if they believe it to assist them politically, but CRS archives as a whole are firewalled from public access. This report was obtained by WikiLeaks staff from CRS computers accessible only from Congressional offices.


A report from April 12, 2007, was "Prepared primarily for congressional staff members called upon to help prepare speeches for Members,” and “provides basic guidance on obtaining speech material, using it to prepare a speech draft, and presentation.”, as we read in the abstract. However, it seems that it is more than that. In the report we can find specific techniques aiming even to “change an audience's impressions, opinions, or most ambitiously, their convictions.”

Other parts simulate propaganda brainwash, like the one below:

           Complex sentences can be clarified by repeating key words and using simple connections. By numerous rhetorical techniques, the speaker states, restates, and states again in different ways, the central themes of the speech.

Under the headline "rhetorical questions" there is an example that could be used by the speaker to justify wars:

           “Is peace a rash system?” “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” The speaker leads the audience to the conclusion he hopes they will draw by asking a question that makes his point, and that he intends to answer himself, either immediately, with a flourish, or at greater length during his remarks, through patient exposition.

Under the headline "Imagery" we read that:

           Mere clarity is not enough for persuasive rhetoric, however. Indeed, there are times when clarity, brevity, and the like are not appropriate. The issues, because of their import and complexity, may preclude such treatment; similarly, the gravity or delicate political nature of the occasion may call for some measure of deliberate ambiguity.

Under the headline "Occasion and Purpose":

           Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day are among the most solemn public holidays in the calendar. For these two events, the speechwriter should focus on themes of commemoration, service, and sacrifice. The atmosphere should appropriately be both somber, and hopeful: “their sacrifice led to a better, more secure life for those who followed them.”

Under the headline “Persuasion” we find perhaps the most interesting part of the report because it describes techniques through which speakers could even change (and even reverse) the perception of entire audiences on specific issues:

           The persuasive speech is a two-edged sword: it can seek to instill in the listeners either the acceptance of, or at least a more favorable opinion toward, a particular condition, fact, or concept. This variant is described as advocacy. Conversely, a speech may also attempt to change an audience’s impressions, opinions, or most ambitiously, their convictions. Wiethoff calls this dissent, and asserts that it is more difficult than advocacy, since the speaker faces the burden of proving to the listeners that what they have heretofore accepted should be modified or rejected. In both cases, the writer must marshal the arguments that will convince the audience.

[...]

in order to convince an audience, a speaker often needs to combine persuasion with information. Similarly, while some types of remarks are intended purely for entertainment, such as a celebrity roast, the careful speechwriter will always seek to entertain audiences in order to capture and retain their attention.

But it's getting ‘better'. Under “Techniques of Persuasion” the examples being used are really impressive:

           There are many techniques available for the actual writing of a speech. Almost all speeches delivered by, or on behalf of, Members of Congress, even those for ceremonial or pro forma occasions, will have a certain political character because of the Member’s representative function, and also because of the way in which his or her office is perceived. In the rhetorical context, political means persuasive, including the expression of personal interest and concern, assuring and reassuring, conveying the Member’s identity with each audience, and so creating a community of interest and trust. Three kinds of persuasive techniques are usually distinguished:

the appeal to reasonableness: “Surely Democrats and Republicans alike can agree that there is no excuse today for hunger in the world’s richest nation....”

the appeal to emotion: “Can we, as a nation, close our eyes to the spectacle of millions of children going to bed hungry every night...?”

the ethical appeal (that is, to the character of the audience): “our historic traditions of decency and generosity demand that we face squarely the question of hunger in America....”

All three approaches may be used in any given speech.

This is quite astonishing. The examples being used (especially the latest ones) in this 'manual' provide a perfect proof that politicians speak in standardized terms, even when the refer to the most serious matters. It shows the complete emptiness and hypocrisy of the political establishment that has been bought by the big interests. Most politicians not only ignore the big problems of the society, but act against it while they pretend that they care.

We knew that. Now we have more evidence.

Full report:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How CIA altered the ending of Orwell's 'Animal Farm' to project Communism as the sole tyrannic system

globinfo freexchange

This interesting short documentary by AJ+, explores the cultural war between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In an effort to project Communism as the evil against capitalist West and the "free world", CIA had to covertly interfere through various ways in art, music, literature, philosophy.

In one of these cases, the documentary reveals how CIA altered the ending of Orwell's 'Animal Farm' to project Communism as the sole tyrannic system. It is also interesting the fact that the case involved an animated film, indicating that CIA's cultural propaganda was targeting minor Americans in order to "train" them ideologically.

According to the story, George Orwell, who wrote such middle-school classics as 1984 and Animal Farm, described himself as a Democratic Socialist. And he was actually pretty anti-Stalinist and anti-Soviet-style socialism, something which was unusual among Leftist circles at the time.

Trump threatens to transfer the endo-capitalist war into a civil war level

globinfo freexchange
Donald Trump finally counter-attacked against corporate Democrats and their persistent desire to impeach him, through the ultimate threat: a civil war. In a recent tweet he wrote:
"... If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.
....If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
Speaking to the Real News Network, Jeet Heer of The Nation pointed out:
The civil-war tweet is almost like a threat. It’s like, 'Well, this is a nice little Republic you got here, and it’d be a shame if anything happened to it.' But the thing is that this civil-war talk did not originate from T…

Gaddafi's plan for a pan-African independent power as the main reason for which the Western neocolonialists finally destroyed Libya

'Hillary Clinton is a war criminal'
globinfo freexchange
Afshin Rattansi of RT's Going Underground, speaks with Muammar Gaddafi's spokesperson during the Libyan Civil War, Moussa Ibrahim, about how Gaddafi's government's predictions came true on terrorism, extremism and tribal conflict plaguing Libya following Gaddafi's downfall.
Ibrahim gives details about Gaddafi's plan to create a fully independent African Union from the Western neocolonial powers. And he implies that this was the main reason for which the Western neocolonialists finally destroyed Libya. He claims that Gaddafi administration was very open to a dialogue with the West, but he had been deliberately ignored. He also characterizes Hillary Clinton as a 'war criminal'.
Some key points:
Gaddafi was laying down real plans and real project for the control of African natural resources through the African Organization for Natural Resources. Unifying African armies into one army called th…

Roger Waters: militarism is exacerbating the Climate Crisis

The Real News Network
Pink Floyd co-founder and activist Roger Waters speaks to the Real News at the People's Mobilization Against the U.S. War Machine in New York City.

Why NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden risked his life to expose surveillance state

Democracy Now!
Six years ago, Edward Snowden leaked a trove of secret documents about how the United States had built a massive surveillance apparatus to spy on Americans and people across the globe. 
Snowden was then charged in the U.S. for violating the Espionage Act and other laws. As he attempted to flee to Latin America, Snowden became stranded in Russia after the U.S. revoked his passport. He has lived in Moscow ever since. 
Snowden just published his memoir, “Permanent Record,” in which he writes about what led him to risk his life to expose the U.S. government’s system of mass surveillance. 

Greta Thunberg: “We are striking to disrupt the system”

Democracy Now!
Greta Thunberg, is the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has inspired millions across the globe. Last year she launched a school strike for the climate, skipping school every Friday to stand in front of the Swedish parliament, demanding action to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Her protest spread, quickly going global. Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren around the globe have participated in their own local school strikes for the climate.
Since her strike began in 2018, Greta has become a leading figure in the climate justice movement. She has joined protests across Europe. She has addressed world leaders at the U.N. climate talks in Poland and the European Union Parliament. She has even met the pope. 
She is also planning to attend the U.N. climate summit in Santiago, Chile, in December.

Το βαθύτερο νόημα του να κάνεις κολοτούμπες σε σύνοδο του ΟΗΕ

globinfo freexchange
Επικυρώθηκε με κάθε επισημότητα η μεγάλη απάτη του Μητσοτακικού καθεστώτος και του βρόμικου μιντιακού κατεστημένου της ντόπιας ολιγαρχίας, το οποίο έκανε τα πάντα, προκειμένου να κερδίσει τις εθνικές εκλογές η χειρότερη δεξιά της μεταπολίτευσης. 
Μετά τις θεαματικές κολοτούμπες Παναγιωτόπουλου-Βαρβιτσιώτη σε συνέδριο του Economist όσον αφορά το Μακεδονικό, ήρθε η σειρά του ίδιου του Μητσοτάκη να τους μιμηθεί, όχι απλά σε κάποιο συνέδριο, αλλά σε σύνοδο του ΟΗΕ για το κλίμα. 
Η δήλωση Μητσοτάκη δεν αφήνει κανένα περιθώριο παρερμηνείας:
«Νωρίς το απόγευμα της 23ης Ιουλίου πέρυσι μία μικρή πυρκαγιά ξέσπασε σε λόφο έξω από την Αθήνα. Οι πυροσβεστικές υπηρεσίες αντιμετωπίζουν χιλιάδες τέτοιες φωτιές κάθε χρόνο. Αυτή όμως ήταν διαφορετική. Οδηγημένη από ισχυρότατους ανέμους, εξαπλώθηκε γρήγορα και έφθασε στην προαστιακή κωμόπολη του Ματιού. Μόλις μπήκε στην πευκόφυτη οικιστική περιοχή κατέστη αδύνατο να περιοριστεί… Τα ακραία καιρικά φαινόμενα είναι η άμεση συνέπεια τη…

Το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς βάζει σε εφαρμογή το σχέδιο για τα σύγχρονα φέουδα

globinfo freexchange

Φαίνεται ότι αρχίζουν κιόλας να επαληθεύονται οι εκτιμήσεις σχετικά με τη δημιουργία Ειδικών Οικονομικών Ζωνών εντός της Ελληνικής επικράτειας. 
Όπως έχουμε αναφέρει σε πρόσφατο άρθρο, ο πρώτος μεγάλος στόχος του Μητσοτακικού καθεστώτος θα είναι η δημιουργία Ειδικών Οικονομικών Ζωνών εντός της Ελληνικής επικράτειας και το σχέδιο αναμένεται να ανακοινωθεί επίσημα γύρω στον Γενάρη-Φλεβάρη του 2020, εκτός απροόπτου. Οι νεοφιλελεύθεροι "τζιχαντιστές" της δεξιάς ετοιμάζονται να στρώσουν χαλί στους φεουδάρχες του 21ου αιώνα τους οποίους σήμερα αποκαλούμε "επενδυτές". 
Το σχέδιο θα εφαρμοστεί ανεμπόδιστα και σε πλήρη σύμπλευση με το νεοφιλελεύθερο ιερατείο του άξονα Βρυξελλών-Βερολίνου, καθώς οι φανατικοί τεχνοκράτες του Μητσοτάκη είναι απόλυτα αφοσιωμένοι στην επιτυχή ολοκλήρωσή του.

Όπως είναι φυσικό, οι περιοχές που προσφέρονται περισσότερο για την επιτυχή εφαρμογή του σχεδίου, είναι αυτές που παρουσιάζουν την υψηλότερη ανεργία. Με τη Μητσοτ…

'How dare you!': Greta Thunberg rages at 'fairytales of eternal economic growth' at UN climate summit

In a speech to the United Nations Climate Action Summit Monday, Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg lit into world leaders for their "empty words" around solving the climate crisis and said decades of inaction have left her generation without a future.

"People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosytems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth," said Thunberg. "How dare you!
Thunberg delivered her remarks during a panel on the climate crisis after she was asked what she thought of the worldwide climate strike movement that she began, alone, 13 months ago. But the youth activist wasn't interested in rehashing the past or praise from politicians.

"I shouldn't be standing here," said Thunberg. "I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my d…

Chris Hedges: "Democracy has been destroyed by global capitalism"

Democracy Now!
House Democrats have subpoenaed President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, seeking documents related to his work in Ukraine, after Giuliani admitted on television that he had urged the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. This comes as House Democrats continue to build their case for impeaching the president, following a whistleblower complaint focused on a phone call in which Trump asked the Ukranian president to do him a “favor” by digging up dirt on his political rival ahead of the upcoming election. 
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges says the president's latest behavior merely scratches the surface of the underlying corruption and malaise that plagues the country, and describes global capitalism as an impediment to democracy. Currently, he says, "we have the façade of democracy." The capitalist class has leveraged its influence to draft legislation, invert the constitution and orchestrate the &…