The word for today’s soapbox is SCAM…. Technically the definition is a dishonest scheme, a fraud, or swindle …. both as a noun and verb. For this soapbox discussion let us think outside that scamming on the phone for money or selling the Brooklyn bridge routine we all encounter.
To start off, I will say these tactics I will show are along the same ones used in pseudoscience, the false memes, the outright lies, the use of fake “science” sites, the ignoring of facts the attempts to demoralize academia and the discretion of any mainstream research. As anyone writing a fable or musing with the over-take of a company, you learn quickly must destroy the opposition before you can lay a legitimate foundation, even if that foundation is based on lies. As long as the populace believes in those created lies the foundation will remain strong. However once cracked, that foundation will only be supported by two methods. The first being to ignore the cracks and whitewash them over with a thin cement. The other to outright denounce those in opposition as the ones causing the cracks. Check your history and see how many times that fits the bill.
So now back to the main word of the day SCAM…..
In that definition, if a “news” site is deliberating placing false stories, if a “person” is intentionally creating fake scandalous memes, both for the purpose of swaying an election and to make money, would you not call those acts a scam? Since the whole purpose of a scam is either to make money or to get something otherwise unobtainable, is these two examples given above, not a scam.
Is a scam helpful or hurtful? Traditionally we think of scams as being nefarious, done to fool the gullible and cheat people. Seems there would be an outcry with peel warning each other not to fall prey to these fake news sites or memes. However we have not seen that in this last election cycle. Instead we saw scams on an unfathomable level being passed around as if they were mana from heaven and the spoken word of God. And what has this scamming done, caused and election to be swayed, instill anger, and to humiliate any who are not of one side or the other. Is this what we as a people want: to believe in false news and memes based on lies?
Can the scam be seen as beneficial? In a way yes. If the scam was done for the betterment of society in order to correct an injustice that was done. Not for a small percentage of a society, but for the overwhelming majority. Here are two very simple straight forward examples: scamming a villain out of a weapon to save a city from meltdown. While the opposite would be to scam elderly people out of a section of the city so someone can built a new series of sky-rises that are not needed. One is to better the city, to save the population, the other is to make short term money.
So in whose eyes is the scam okay? Well of course those who benefit from the scam. It is a part of human nature in which we tend to overlook bad behavior if it is advantageous to ourselves. For example you have a team whose member does some sketchy moves during a tough game. In the end your team wins because of those unethical moves. The other side is of course upset because your team has in effect scammed the other side. In your eyes it is okay, so let the matter drop. On the other side it is not okay and wishes to push the case. Thus the scam has both negative and positive effects for the team members.
SCAM… no one likes to be scammed and no one likes that term. But it is a fact we all have to face. Anyone who has passed around a false/lies memes or stories did participate. We already know about the teens overseas who made untold thousands of supporters with their over welcoming anti-Hilliary themed memes and stories. They also has anti-Trump ones but the percentage far outweighed the other side and those where the money was to be made, that is where they allegiance laid.
There is also the guy here in the US that has made untold thousands on these kind of scams, he prefers to call entertainment, stories made up that no one would believe. On his Facebook page he was even surprised that the people who believed what he wrote and the effect it had. He literally blasted those people who believe in his fakery for not checking facts when it came to something serious like an election.
That is only the tip of the iceberg. We have the “opinion” news sites that twists quotes around to incite anger and cherry picks facts, i.e. scammed their readers into believing false stories. Throw into that charismatic speakers that scream from the rooftops implementing conspiracy theories and denouncing recorded events to the idiocy that they never happened.
These fake news sites were clever to denounce all real news sites, in order to give them credibility. That is step one in any debate, demoralized and discredit your opponent. And that tactic work, a majority of people see the media as corrupt but see these fake news sites that produces nonfactual stories as legit… something went very wrong in society to allow this to happen. Remember in the beginning I mentioned pseudoscience: same tactics, same methodology used.
So why did this kind of scam work so well. That is what need to be studied. Was it a revenge motive behind the anger to have an all one party government? Was it a racial issue to defeat any minority? Was it a desperate last attempt to keep a white male in power? Or was there something else, besides money, that was the reasoning for the vitriol wordage? And if money is the only root, what does that say?
These and many other theories have been floated about. In the end the research will show, in my opinion, it lies with fear, the next 4-word topic I plan to cover. The fear of the unknown, the fear of losing identity and the fear of the future. Fear freezes the soul and propels the irrational…
The lesson I hope some learned, FACT CHECK.. Check the sources, do not rely on fake sites. Then determine what you want to believe, but at least know the other side in your decision making…
Other topics to be discussed will be, though not in the order presented: fear, facts, polarization, echo chambers, logic, critical thinking, and even terms.
See you as I step down and am seen dragging the soapbox off into the sunset