Muftic: Gaslighting defined, an example of what it is
January 24, 2017
A recent CNN report defined a tactic known as gaslighting. It is a manipulative technique used by dictators and abusing spouses, to throw the public or victims off balance, confusing, contradicting, and leaving them so confused, they cannot find what is reality so they just believe the "great leader" or the abuser.
That President Trump's complaint that the press got the size of his turnout for the inauguration wrong is the text book example of gaslighting.
His spokesperson, Sean Spicer, claimed the TV view audience was the largest in history and complained about press coverage. Nielsen ratings also showed viewership was down seven million from the Obama 2009 inauguration. Spicer seemed to be saying what you see in pictures is a lie; and what Trump or his spokesperson says to the contrary is the truth. Kellyanne Conway, Trump's other spokesperson, the next day called Spicer's statement "presenting alternative facts". Her NBC interviewer, Chuck Todd, called her out with "Alternative facts are just falsehoods" On MSNBC's Morning Joe program, panelists compared this to double speak as illustrated in George Orwell's book, 1984. It reminded me of the nightmare aspects of Alice in Wonderland or her trip through the looking glass.
The first rule of political communication is to remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.The side by side comparisons with the photos of the Obama and Trump crowds attending their inaugurations flooded the social media, putting a visual lie to the Trump's administration claiming that the Trump inauguration crowds were the largest turn out for such similar events in history.. The photos of the millions world wide who amassed in the Women's March the day after the inauguration in protest were virtually ignored.
These pictures were significant because, while so many were asleep at the voting wheel in November, it showed they now have the wakeup call and the beginning of an activist movement with the potential of the anti-Viet Nam war movement of the '70's. The lists and emails of the attendees provide an incomplete but huge database of those willing to act on their political beliefs and can be called on to act politically in the future.
What is notable was the leadership of this movement did not arise from the Democratic party organization.. It was clearly grass roots, and later issue oriented organizations, and organized, promoted by social media. However, it struck such a chord with so many who were not activists in those interest groups or political parties, that it caught fire and surpassed all expectations.
This demonstration was no illusion to be dismissed as alternative facts by the gaslighters. If they do, it is at their own political peril. And dismissive they are. Kellyanne Conway on January 23, Good Morning America, said she saw no point to the Women's March.
There were also many in small town Colorado who held their own local marches. Grand County women chose to join the 100,000 strong Denver march.. Those bus riders with whom I rode were generally not the usual political activists in the county, but they were women who were in fear they were going lose gains in rights, access to their health care, and equality over the past 40 or so years, but what I saw in Denver was there were also those who marched from many generations.
This embryonic movement is not confined to narrow demographics, but widespread with staying power over many years.