Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Fine Art of Manipulating Public Opinion: Have You Seen This Online Survey About George Zimmerman and His Killing of Trayvon Martin?

Things are moving forward. Again, thanks for the kind support in our fundraising drive here on We Are Respectable Negroes. It will be ending Monday of next week. Persistence is important on these matters as I learned last year. As such, if you like what we are trying to do here on WARN, appreciate how we develop narratives and analyses that you see here first (before they bubble up elsewhere), and are able, do throw a penny or two into the donation bucket.

I am serious when I say that I learn from all of the readers of the site, and am only as good as you all push me to be. I am only human. As such, I can only be so many places at once. Therefore, I appreciate it when you email me--as one of the site's readers did--about developments I am likely not aware of.

There is apparently a survey intended to denigrate the memory of Trayvon Martin circulating online which has more than 50,000 views on Facebook. This is not a trivial matter. 


First, the Trayvon Martin murder case is one that will be discussed for many years:  it truly is the Emmett Till of post civil rights America.

There is a black man who is President; yet, black and brown folks are still subjected to extrajudicial murders by police and vigilantes. This is more than symbolic politics; the controversy is a barometer of how far America has yet to go in terms of exorcising white supremacy.

Second, public opinion surveys are a means of legitimating a certain version of the "truth". The idea that "the public believes" is also a way of gaining support for a given public policy matter through an appeal to "democracy" and "democratic" procedures and norms. However, the groups who comprise "the public" are not fixed. Moreover, as Sara Igo points out in her book The Averaged American, the very notion of "the public" is contested and easily massaged and manipulated to serve the end goals of elites.

I have a background in public relations and public affairs.

To my eyes 1) this survey is not birthed from some organic homegrown operation, rather, it is designed to appear as such in order to be "grassroots" and "real"--see the AstroTurf Tea Party movement funded by the Kochs; 2) public opinion is notoriously malleable and easily manipulated by altering such basic elements as the wording of questions, their order, and the overall content of the survey instrument. 

DLAS, an organ of the "Carthago Project", is most likely a front group for a larger organization.

What do you think the bigger play is here? Who is trying to look "populist" and "authentic" as they measure the "public's" opinion about the George Zimmerman trial and his acquittal for murdering Trayvon Martin? To what ends is DLAS going with this data?


Learning is Eternal said... Got something for ya'. Lemme know what you think. I was browsing the web for black owned businesses to support &... well...

chauncey devega said...

They are populating black sites and the White Right is setting up fake sites on Dr. King and others. Young people especially are vulnerable to this hustle and those who mindlessly pass along links and info they find online as being reputable.

Lewis Orne said...

I truly dont understand why so many white folks are so heavily invested in george zimmerman. I don't recall ever seeing propaganda on this level and so multilayered WTF !

Zimmerman got off but still this crap continues to be created in support of his murder of a 17 year old child.

I would argue it suggests deep down that these white folks know what GZ did was murder and they are simply doubling down in their ignorance and fear, it boggles the mind !

Though I suspect some part of the NRA is responsible for this propaganda. Bob Brown an NRA board member back in the 70s ran full page recruiting ads for mercenaries (in his Soldier of Fortune magazine) to defend the Ian Smith apartheid govt in Rhodesia.

The dirt runs deep with these fools

chauncey devega said...

This is a much bigger story than folks want to give it credit for. Sometimes you swing and miss. I am going to be doing more research on the manipulation of Zimmerman opinion. I bet this gets to ALEC and other groups too.

Lewis Orne said...

No doubt about ALEC, the Koch brothers and their legion of doom dystopian umbrella have been throwing an epic amount of shade these days.