WE hear this a lot: Just keep repeating a lie, over and over, and people will believe it. A falsehood being told, people will still believe the lie if it’s repeated enough.
Apparently, this has some scientific backing as evidenced by a 2015 Vanderbilt University study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
This scientific study was the basis of the article written by University of Sheffield Psychology and Cognitive Science Professor Tom Stafford in BBC Future that the “illusion of truth” is created from frequently hearing a statement repeated.
In the Vanderbilt University experiment, 80 participants were asked to judge whether or not a statement was true. In the first study, 40 participants were told to rate how true a statement was on a six-point scale. In the second study, a different set of 40 participants were asked to simply state whether the statement was true or false.
The results found that in both cases, repetition made a statement more likely to be categorized as true. One example given was the case even for statements that contradict well-known facts, such as “Oslo is the capital of Finland.” (The fact: Helsinki is the capital of Finland).
Another earlier study, among others, was published in the Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior in 1977. The findings of this experiment led to the conclusion that “for both true and false statements, there was a significant increase in the validity judgments for the repeated statements and no change in the validity judgments for the non-repeated statements. The frequency of occurrence is apparently a criterion used to establish the referential validity of plausible statements.”
This knowledge has been used many times in history for propaganda purposes, and could have been the rationale for the constant bombardment of fake news being spread through the podium of the White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders and by President Trump himself, that the independent investigation into the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections is folding for lack of evidence.
THE FACT IS: The case against the Trump campaign has moved forward with the indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller of Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates. As reported by the New York Times, “prosecutors contend that Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates violated a law that requires Americans to register and disclose activities undertaken as agents of a foreign power, and then that they took steps to launder tens of millions of dollars in income from that work and to evade paying taxes on it.”
THE FACT IS: Former Foreign Policy Adviser to the Trump Campaign George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about meetings in March and April 2016 with a Russian agent who promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
DESPITE President Trump’s incessant demonization of the legitimate news media — branding them as “fake news” for investigating and reporting on facts about his campaign and his administration — the “watchdog of the government” and the “fourth estate” continued to do their role and obligation to the nation, and have been following the probe on the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to undermine our democratic process and the integrity of the U.S. election process.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds “that the conservative effort to discredit the probe has fallen flat as the case has progressed toward its first public charges.” And we see optimism about how most Americans may have not been victims of Trump’s “illusion of truth” aka “alternative fact” propaganda.
Findings of the study:
“A 58 percent majority say they approve of Mueller’s handling of the investigation, while 28 percent say they disapprove, the Post-ABC poll finds. People’s views depend in large part on their political leanings, but overall, Americans are generally inclined to trust Mueller and the case he has made so far.
Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans say they believe Trump is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, while about half believe he is not.
49 percent think it is likely Trump himself committed a crime in connection with possible Russian attempts to influence the election, although more say this view is based on suspicion rather than on hard evidence.”
THIS IS WHY responsible legitimate news media should not be intimidated by the president, his administration, and his followers/fans base. If the government spews lies, the news media should detoxify falsehoods by calling them out and report on facts over and over again.
The Mueller investigation isn’t over. We, the people, should follow where the truth and the facts take it it because our democracy is at stake.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos