Actrivism, Part Seven: The first question should always be: What PR firm is behind the "trend" and who is footing the bill?

I

II

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 9.47.08 AM.png

III

Jeff Bezos is trying to claw his way out with a veiled Blame Trump. That’s right. The government grabbed you and made you cheat on your wife. But the deflection and gaslighting is nothing new.

Bezos is merely taking a page from Hillary Clinton’s old playbook: It’s a vast right-wing conspiracy!

Yeah, and your husband still did the deed all by his horny little self. The end.

Bezos is not used to having bad publicity. He is trying to do what every other philanderer does: blame someone else and make himself look like the victim. He isn’t a victim. He plays with the Big Boys because he is one of the Biggest Boys. His employees from Amazon to Whole Foods to the Washington Post are miserable to the point of open revolt. Anyone who falls for his garbage is naive.

And just to be clear, I am a regular at Whole Foods, which I like, and Amazon, which I have ordered countless books and other items from superhero statues to a carpet sweeper just in 2019 alone; so I am not against the company. I got my amplifier, radio, theremin, and ozone generator from Amazon. Bezos has piled up quite a few of my pennies over the years because I like the service and use it regularly, but I am not blind to a feint.

Because it doesn’t matter in the Bezos Scandal: he has enemies because he is a general in a corporate army. Globalization is a battleground. There will always be casualties, and generals like Bezos get lots of help, and when they lose one alliance too many, they implode. He cannot blame himself, so he blames others.

You went into the boxing ring willingly and had your guard down and got knocked out. That’s on you.

Globalization is monopoly and it is not a good idea. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t rely on one path because you are missing out on new worlds and new opportunities if you don’t pave others. Bezos may have had plans that hinged on always being on top, but that’s not a realistic or functional theory, and that speaks to his glaring weaknesses as a strategist.

It would be nice to have a list of all of the people Bezos stomped over on his climb to the top. Having a list of enemies would be a handy reference for the public because they wouldn’t be hero worshipping if they saw it.

But the Zero-Risk Mindset plays tricks on you.

IV

But notice how Bezos sat and stewed for a bit, trying to come up with a narrative to deflect attention away from his adultery. He is wealthy because he thinks.

And what he thought was: who is behind this?

Middle Class people don’t think in active terms, for the most part. That’s the reason they never breakthrough the barrier.

They never ask who is behind this coverage?

Especially if the coverage fellates their egos and validates their folksy and uninformed opinions.

Look at this New York Times piece of propaganda:

Thank God for Canada!

Our boring neighbor is a moral leader of the free world.

Oh, I am sure the homeless in this country, all the rape victims who’s reports are dismissed by police, and the First Nations people here are thinking the same thing.

But, I am sure SNC-Lavalin is thankful for such a helpful government!

Boy, talk about bad timing.

But why did the Times choose to publish it?

That’s a very good question.

We can look on FARA to have a quick sketch of the country’s use of US firms for their affairs. This list isn’t definitive, but it is a start.

If we started to investigate the origins and motives for such a piece of fawning propaganda, we’d have a better understanding of how certain narratives take root and grow.

I find Samatha Markle’s tweet about her sister interesting.

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 10.14.24 AM.png

“Stop the PR crap.”

It would be great to know all the firms that represent the Duchess of Sussex, for instance, and then compare their angle to the angle used by journalists.

Because journalists do not disclose this information to the public.

I stumbled upon this fact during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia as a teenager. Both my mother and I had seen actual press releases on separate desks at different daily newspapers.

Hello! You are coverage a war and you are using a press release as a source?

And then with a little more digging and research, I found out that there was more than one PR firm hired by both Croats and Bosnian Muslims to skew the narrative and optics to their side. Even a publication geared toward the intelligence community confirmed it.

So yes, no wonder the side spending millions of dollars on publicity were seen as the Good Guys and the poor helpless victims, and not aggressors.

Just like Kuwait hired Hill and Knowlton and got Western countries to do its dirty work for them against all odds.

I knew about Hill & Knowlton. I knew about Ruder Finn in the Yugoslav conflict.

So was it just wars, or was this just the way things rolled in journalism?

I decided to find out for myself by going into the business and seeing how it would be vulnerable to various kinds of manipulation.

And how it interacts with the public.

V

There are PR firms, and Crisis Management firms, and it is not hard to spot when a person or company employs one. The messages fit a certain pattern. Their effectiveness on manipulating public opinion are fascinating.

People will let their children eat their boogers because it’s too much effort to discipline them, but suddenly, they advocate a certain brand of shoes, or spout a political philosophy, thinking it is posh.

No, it has been paid for by someone else.

You suddenly like a new hamburger chain? That’s not your discovery. That’s an effective advertising campaign. You get your directives from advertisers, and follow it until a competitor finds a new angle and the cycle repeats.

Whenever there is a new trend, there is some sort of push from a third-party.

That includes this latest socialism kick.

Who are these players? How did they get the money and the connections?

Who is paying for their expensive PR?

That is the question people should ask first. Find the moneybags and the PR firm and then you know exactly why you are being recruited to believe in anything from “social media influencers” to “socialism.”

Overnight sensations are not overnight: the fantasy of being discovered and then having instant fans fawning all over you is a myth. There is always someone in power with clout and media experience backing the “ingenue” for a variety of reasons. It is not organic.

I recount this type of scam in my first book: the “overnight sensation” trope has been used often enough. Lana Turner was said to have been “discovered” by accident, when she wasn’t. One young violinist was also the benefactor of a choreographed farce with a wealthy man pushing her from behind the scenes.

When you are a spectator, you are passive by default. You only see things once the curtain rises. You think it is all natural.

Take reality show competitions: they have scriptwriters and rehearsals along with NDAs to ensure people don’t spill secrets. You have “judges” look “shocked” at how good a performer is, and we don’t wonder how genuine the response is.

The same goes for newsmakers: we don’t question who is behind the scenes and what is the benefit. Do you go to a music concert just because?

What is the usual incentive? Once you figure out the incentive, then you know how you are vulnerable to PR.

It is one thing to like your music or frozen dinner because of an effective ad campaign, but it is quite another to choose your politics or religion that way, and yet that’s what people do.

When I worked as a journalist, I made mental notes of even why I was drawn to certain stories or issues: how much of it was me — and how of it was as a result of someone’s effective persuasion?

Being an Actrivist forced me to include myself as a test subject: okay, why am I taking this track? Why am I interviewing this expert? How did I find this person? What was my criteria for choosing this professor over a hundred others who all study the same thing?

And what percentage of the “criteria” was mine, and what was the other direct or indirect influences?

Am I being played here directly? Collectively? Deliberately? Inadvertently? Am I a the target audience, or am I a proxy to influence the publication I am working for — and/or the audience that reads it?

Because I broke down my methods to study them, I was very aware of subtle influences of all sorts.

That’s why it is always automatic with me to ask who is the kingmaker of any given story? Who is pulling the strings and setting the agenda?

Is this newspeg organic or contrived?

It is contrived. How else do you get a reporter’s, producer’s, or editor’s attention?

In a world of 7.4 billion people, how does one stand out?

By having the money and backing of someone with clout who is schooled in optics.

Even on social media…