In 2002, the French writer Sylvain Timsit published a decalogue of the strategies most frequently used by the media and political elites. manipulate the masses.
It is a list attributed to a press error by Noam Chomsky, a philosopher, linguist and politician who has also been described as through mass media entertainment they manage to reproduce certain relations of domination.
Sylvain Timsit’s public manipulation strategies
The Timsit List became very popular because it specifically describes ten situations each of us could surely relate to. We will describe below strategies for manipulating public opinion and society by Sylvain Timsit.
1. Encourage distraction
Distraction is a cognitive process that involves paying attention to certain stimuli and not others unintentionally and for a variety of reasons, including the interest that these stimuli generate in us and the intensity or attractiveness of these.
It is a process that can easily be used as a strategy to distract from political or economic conflicts. This is usually done by encouraging information overload, or when that information it contains a strong emotional charge.
For example, when news organizations spend entire days reporting tragic events and downplaying moments spent reporting problematic political events. This type of distraction encourages disinterest in gaining in-depth knowledge and discussing the long-term repercussions of political decisions.
2. Create problems and also solutions
The author explains this method by means of the formula: problem-reaction-solution, and explains that a situation can be explained with the full intention of eliciting a specific reaction to a specific audience, For this audience to demand action and decision making to resolve the situation.
For example, when political powers remain indifferent to increasing violence in a city, then deploy police laws that affect freedom and not just decrease violence. The same is true when an economic crisis is defined as a necessary evil that can only be thwarted by cuts in public services.
3. Call for graduality
It refers to the gradual implementation of significant changes, so that public and political reactions are also gradual and easier to contain.
Sylvain Timsit cites neoliberal socio-economic policies as an example which began in the 1980s, and which gradually reverberated without its negative consequences being able to pave the way for a truly massive revolution.
4. Postpone and leave for tomorrow
Many of the actions taken by governments are not popular with the public, which is why one of the most used and effective strategies is to make people think that this measure is painful but necessary, And that it must be agreed in the present although its effects will be seen years later.
In this way, we get used to the process of change and even its negative consequences, and since it is not a problem that immediately affects us, we can more easily associate with the possible risks.
As an example, Sylvain Timsit mentions the changeover to the euro proposed in 1994-1995, but applied until 2001, or the international agreements that the United States have imposed since 2001 in Latin America, but which are said to be in force. until 2005.
4. Infantilize the interlocutor
Another of the most commonly used strategies is positioning the audience as a group of people who are naive or incapable of taking responsibility for themselves, Or to make critical and responsible decisions.
By positioning viewers in this way, the media and political powers make it easier for the public to identify with this position and end up accepting the measures imposed and even supporting them with conviction.
5. Appeal more to emotions than to reflection
It refers to sending messages that have a direct impact on the emotional and sensitive register of the audience, so that through fear, compassion, hope, excitement, among other emotions or sensations, it is easier to implement ideals of success, or norms of behavior and of how interpersonal relationships should be.
6. Recognize the other as ignorant and mediocre
This strategy is reflected, for example, in the significant differences between the quality of education and the resources allocated to it according to the socio-economic and political class to which it is addressed.
This makes the use of technologies reserved for the few, which in turn hinders large-scale social organization. Likewise, it leads certain populations to recognize themselves as mere victims, No chance to be active.
7. Promote complacency in mediocrity
It is about reinforcing the feeling of success and satisfaction with the situation we find ourselves in, even if it is a precarious or unfair situationThis prevents us from developing a critical reflection on this situation or even from justifying it.
8. Reinforce guilt
At the other extreme, it is to make us think that the situation in which we find ourselves is like this through our own fault, that is to say to make the individual believe that he is responsible. of his misfortune (whether he thinks he is unintelligent or that little effort, instead of recognizing that there is a social system that tends to injustice).
like that the organization and that for the exercise of resistance or revolt are avoided; and people tend to self-assess and blame themselves, which in turn generates passivity and encourages the onset of other complications such as depressive or anxious states.
10. Get to know people better than they know themselves
Timsit suggests that advances in science in understanding human beings, both in psychology and in biology or neuroscience, have resulted in better knowledge of how we work; however, they did not generate a process of self-knowledge at the individual level, so the elites continue to be the holders of wisdom and control over others.
- Timsit, S. (2002). Manipulation strategies. The strategies and techniques of the masters of the world for the manipulation of public opinion and society. Accessed April 9, 2018.Available at http://www.syti.net/Manipulations.html
- Timsit, S. (2002). Manipulation strategies. The strategies and techniques of the Masters of the World for the manipulation of public opinion and society. Accessed April 9, 2018.Available at http://www.syti.net/ES/Manipulations.html