| Albrecht Müller
|May 16, 1938
|University of Mannheim, Free University of Berlin, University of Munich, Nottingham University
Albrecht Müller is a German economist, publicist and former politician (Social Democrats (SPD)). Müller was head of planning in the Federal Chancellery under Chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt. From 1987 to 1994 he was a member of the German Bundestag for the SPD. In the 2000s he wrote a column for the SPD newspaper “Vorwarts” and has since published several books. He has been the author and publisher of the NachDenkseiten independent media outlet since 2003.
Müller is author of a number of books on political manipulation methods, touching on deep state subjects. In his book Believe little. question everything. Think for yourself (2019) he listed 19 frequently used methods to deceive:
1. Language control. Let the self-evident validity shine through in the language: "As we all know", "as is already known", ...
2. Manipulation using frequently used terms laden with specific meanings. Using the good sound of a word for another purpose. The best example: "Reform".
3. Leave out things when telling narratives. For example, start the narrative about the 2014 Ukraine crisis with the Russian takeover of Crimea, not the coup in Kiev a few weeks earlier.
4. Hide things Leave out evidence of CIA dirty work or financial conflicts of interest.
5. Repetition – A steady drip wears away the stone. Incredibly effective and the most used method.
6. Smear it thick - A bit is going to stick. Compare someone to Hitler. Even if the addressees of these messages dismiss them because of the exaggeration, a bad impression remains.
7. Send out the same message from different angles. If the same message comes from different (political, ideological) corners, it is particularly credible.
8. Everyone in the group has the same opinion. Then it must be right. See the application of this method in almost every talk show. The invitation to the discussants does not always have to be based on the 5:0 or 4:0 method, the method also works with 5:1 or 4:1. Inviting the minority has the advantage of increasing the credibility of the entire affair.
9. The seesaw effect. By negatively labeling an opponent, your own side appears in a better light.
10. Use opinion polls to form opinions.
11. Say B and mean A. The criticism expressed in several variations (Message B) of the Chancellor because of his (alleged) reluctance to deliver arms almost automatically leads to Message A being conveyed: Arms deliveries are good and correct. - To convey this is the goal of the advocates of arms shipments in the first place.
12. Establishing or using NGOs.
13. A hodgepodge of insinuations makes the sum of half-truths into the truth.
14. Experts help - to manipulate. The common method on stock market broadcasts, business news and many other forums.
15. Linking names and thus judgments of individuals. In his book, he cites a dozen articles from German-language media, including public ones, where several politicians are treated as a package. For example, one paper wrote: "Viktor Orban, Matteo Salvini, Donald Trump, Rodrigo Duterte, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are 'strongmen' who don't tolerate any arguments and want to clean up their countries". Müller shows how such name bundles, with which individual politicians are mischaracterized, are also readily copied and adopted by other media.
16. Targeted use of emotions.
For example, a politician pretending to be upset to gain the moral upper hand. 17. Using and staging conflicts to create mood and opinion.
18. The dissemination and use of the basic feeling "We are the good guys" (see below).
19. Pars pro toto - a part stands for the whole.
Using individual phenomena to characterize and label everyone as such. "All the demonstrators are right wing extremists." etc.
20: "Relativize extreme measures through even more extreme demands. Demand Zero Covid to make lockdowns seem a moderate solution.
We are the Good Guys
The dissemination and use of the basic feeling "We are the good guys"
Spreading the feeling that we are honorable, free, good, democratic and exemplary here in the West is not as easy to understand as a method of manipulation as, for example, the methods of repetition, exaggeration, concealment or telling abridged stories. And yet spreading the basic feeling that we in the West are the good guys can be understood as a method of manipulation. The method is extremely effective and determines a wide area of contemporary political life.
It is a tremendous feat for the West to have established itself as an all-round good world. I should probably say more precisely: created and strengthened the feeling and the impression that we are the good guys here. It is a basic feeling in Western societies and is mostly not questioned by the people living there, but used instead. Being able to use this self-esteem is also nice and helpful. In all situations. Because with this basic feeling one lives quite well. We here in the West are the beneficiaries of this arrangement, without having done much to build up this basic feeling.
This basic feeling can be used without having to be explained and justified, again and again. Any discussion is excluded; that's how the world is divided.
The seesaw effect
The term seesaw effect probably sounds strange. It doesn't appear in the textbooks. However, I could not think of a more appropriate term for the manipulation method that will be outlined here:
US President Donald Trump is a special figure, he uses nasty methods and lashes out with excessive slogans. But in many political intentions and actions, such as the tendency to wage wars, he is no worse than his predecessors Barack Obama and above all than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton and also no worse than his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. But thanks to the index finger constantly being raised against the current president, the negative image that already exists is being further aggravated. In return, his predecessors and his competitor appear as wonderfully virtuous figures in the last election campaign. The Democrats around Obama and Clinton seem downright glamorous – the result of the see-saw effect. . Another example: In recent years, the established media and their representatives began to eye the growing media on the Internet critically and even condescendingly. This criticism and the resulting negative labeling also works according to the see-saw principle. The established media appear as the real thing; they appear at the same time more and more as a block. The tabloid Bild-Zeitung on the one hand and, for example, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Zeit on the other act as a consensual grouping of true media. That's strange, especially when you remember their big differences and mutual criticism in the past.
There has long been a skeptical debate and critical analysis of what is commonly called democracy among critical fellow citizens in the West. Democracy has almost never existed, I once said, thinking of the massive financial support from business for the CDU Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his successors, above all Helmut Kohl and somewhat quieter Angela Merkel. The conservative parties CDU, CSU and FDP had the support of the rich part of our society. They always had far more resources to fund their election campaigns. Equal competitive conditions and thus truly democratic conditions never existed.
It's no different in other countries, sometimes worse: in the USA, presidential candidates have to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in order to be able to run. This type of candidate selection cannot be called democratic. In France, a presidential candidate like Emmanuel Macron appears out of nowhere. Apparently selected and controlled.
Big money plays a big role in all such so-called democracies. Actually, one would have to admit that the conditions are not democratic. The see-saw effect helps out of the jam: Compared to the so-called autocrats, compared to Turkish President Erdoğan, for example, the people acting here appear to be democrats and our system appears to be democratic. The seesaw ensures that we are then considered democrats and anyway as the good guys.
Quotes by Albrecht Müller
|German Council on Foreign Relations
|“DGAP is an insupportable lobbying organization, especially insupportable because we co-finance it as taxpayers. Recently, one of these experts appeared in a television news program again, who are presented in order to (allegedly) disseminate a well-founded opinion. It was about more money for the military, and the quoted expert was Christian Mölling from the German Council on Foreign Relations. This is a lobbying organization that is funded to a considerable extent by us taxpayers and gives the impression that it represents the public interest and thus also the interest of all of us. Mölling is the head of the Center for Security and Defense at the DGAP. Typical for his publications is a DGAP memo with the title: "Defense Budget 2024: The budget is increasing – and not enough yet". The text speaks of a "gaping gap in defense spending". Propaganda for more armaments by publicly paid so-called experts.”
|30 November 2023
|Ursula von der Leyen
|“As Federal Defense Minister, Von der Leyen behaved as the US President wanted when he called for increase in military spending: higher military budgets, increased armaments instead of disarmament. And although this minister got into trouble because of her high spending on consulting firms and various personnel decisions and was anything but a role model, she became President of the European Commission. That is a key function and it is important for the US.
The decision for von der Leyen happened quietly backstage. No sensible person can explain why she was given this important office. A partial explanation is that she had the support of important countries from Eastern Europe. The United States has a great influence on these states.In the first major critical case, Von der Leyen immediately and unequivocally represented the US position, where she said Iran itself is to be blamed for the confrontation in the Middle East and for the execution of the Iranian general. With her, the United States can probably also stake a claim on other occasions and play a key role in shaping the internal structure of the European Union. Ursula von der Leyen is the perfect example of an "agent of influence".”
|2 January 2021