Monday, June 16, 2014

Chauncey DeVega Discusses the Las Vegas White Supremacist Shootings, Stochastic Terrorism, and the Right-Wing Media on Ring of Fire Radio

I hope that your weekend was restful and/or otherwise productive.

Last week, we spent a good amount of time discussing the Las Vegas white supremacist shootings. I had the opportunity to appear on Ring of Fire Radio to "connect the dots" by locating that event within a larger pattern of Right-wing domestic terrorism in the United States. Here are the clips of that long--by radio standards--segment. I enjoy talking with Mike Papantonio and Ring of Fire Radio because it is a unique opportunity to actually explore an issue in greater depth than is common on most radio programs.

In that conversation, I emphasized several points.

1. The Right-wing media has blood on their hands for enabling and providing the logic and political atmosphere which fuels the violent political events that the United States is experiencing in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

2. The United States' politics has been broken by extreme ideological polarization. The Right-wing media is a key element in how this result was achieved: the end goal of America's abnormal politics is to delegitimate government in order to serve the interests of the plutocrats and corporatists.

3. The Tea Party GOP is a group of useful idiots for the 1% and the Koch brothers.

4. The spate of Right-wing mass shootings and other violence is a function of what is known as "stochastic terrorism".

I used the last term on Ring of Fire and also mentioned it in passing here on WARN. It is a very important concept that merits more discussion.

Stochastic terrorism is:

Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.
This is what occurs when Bin Laden releases a video that stirs random extremists halfway around the globe to commit a bombing or shooting.
This is also the term for what Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, and others do. And this is what led directly and predictably to a number of cases of ideologically-motivated murder similar to the Tucson shootings.
The person who actually plants the bomb or assassinates the public official is not the stochastic terrorist, they are the "missile" set in motion by the stochastic terrorist. The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media as their means of setting those "missiles" in motion... 
The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media to broadcast memes that incite unstable people to commit violent acts.
One or more unstable people responds to the incitement by becoming a lone wolf and committing a violent act. While their action may have been statistically predictable (e.g. "given the provocation, someone will probably do such-and-such"), the specific person and the specific act are not predictable (yet).

The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm not responsible for what people in my audience do."
The lone wolf who was the "missile" gets captured and sentenced to life in prison, while the stochastic terrorist keeps his prime time slot and goes on to incite more lone wolves.
One of its key elements in the context of the Right-media echo chamber is as follows:
At any given time there are hundreds of thousands of Americans with combinations of personality characteristics (such as emotional instability, a paranoid ideology, and a propensity for violence) that put them at risk of going off the deep end and becoming lone wolves. All it takes is the right push, the right nudge at the right time, to dislodge a few of them and send them on their way to fifteen minutes of fame surrounded by dead bodies.
There's nothing mysterious about this process. It is not much different to other instances where a person is almost ready to make a decision, and the right combination of inputs makes them act.... 
Anyone who is familiar with marketing and advertising knows how this works, and advertisers often target their messages to people who are "ready to buy" and just need a little persuading.... 
So let's take Beck, Hannity, and O'Reilly. There is no question that their emotional rhetoric appeals to people who are emotionally unstable. And, since their audiences are tracked and analyzed in detail, there is no question that they know it. 
When they go on TV and shout and sputter, rant and rave, and weep and wail, they are not expecting to persuade liberals or even undecideds to change their votes. They are "playing to their base," that they know includes people who are emotionally unstable. In short they are "stirring the pot."
Of course, the mainstream corporate media will not talk about stochastic terrorism because to do so would require discussing the Right-wing media's and white conservatives' relationship to political violence in the United States. White privilege and white supremacy make such a topic verboten.

Terrorism is something "those people" do; the history of the United States suggests otherwise.

And as I predicted, Fox News has essentially dropped any coverage or discussion of the Las Vegas white supremacist shootings. I am not surprised. However, it is unfortunate to have been so correct about the Right-wing media would behave, betraying any pretense to responsible "journalism" and fully revealing their commitment to Joseph Goebbel's principles of propaganda.

As always, if you have any thoughts or suggestions about my interview on Ring of Fire please share them. What can I improve? How have I gotten better over time? Were there any moments where I dropped the ball or missed an opportunity to really develop a point?


Myshkin the Idiot said...

Sarah Palin, indignant over the number of children in Border Patrol detention centers, where she really ratchets up the fear of a tyrant:

"So, GOP and Democrats alike, where are you on this humanitarian issue of child abuse?

"Hang on to your hat, because here’s the issue: Barack Obama has orchestrated this newest “crisis” in order to overload the system with the intention of “fixing” the problems his own policies create – by fiat, and that infamous phone and pen; screw the rule of law. He’s warned you by proudly claiming his executive orders can bypass the peoples’ representatives and obviously ignore the will of the people.

"This exploitation of foreigners’ children is an inhumane ploy to entice families to break laws by literally shoving kids across one of Obama’s infamous and irrelevant lines, with assurance that parents, aunties, step-uncles and third cousins twice removed will get to cut in line too – that sacred line that previously led law abiding, hardworking immigrants to build this great nation. Barack Obama will keep phoning in and penning the message that he will NOT secure borders, so, hey, extended undocumented relatives, you’re free to join the kids being used and abused to snag that golden ticket. Obama surely knows a nation is not a nation without borders, while we must surely know this is the “fundamental transformation of America” that he promised and some of us warned about.

"Congress and American voters, how long will you let Team Obama get away with this? The recent avalanche of devastating crises caused by a president believing he is above the law has set the most dangerous precedent a once-free people can imagine. To encourage and reward lawlessness by refusing to enforce the will of the people as proven by laws passed by our political representatives is the signature of a tyrant. In this case, Obama’s refusal to enforce immigration laws and his blatant suggestion that his chosen illegal activity will be rewarded are proof of his tyrannical tactics. The recent numerous manipulated “crises” have the media pinging and ponging trying to keep up with what is the scandal of the day, which one overshadows another, and how will they distract next, and who’s on first?! Purposeful decisions causing these crises are meant to overload the system, justify abuse of executive power to “fix” it all, and ultimately tighten control of the people."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great article.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

The kids are an inconvenience to conservatives. They don't care about their present, their history, nor their fate.

If a Republican was president, they would be singing a slightly different tune, something like:

"Hey, you can't criticize our president, they're doing everything they can. Where are these kids' parents?

"The media shouldn't even be reporting on this because it may cause dissent and make our allies put pressure on us.

"It's just a bunch of liberal whining, these children broke the LAW."