Brainwashing Trumps Reason

March 17, 2016

I’d like to punch him in the face.” Fighting words from presidential contender Donald Trump  that foreboded real violence at Trump rallies, manifesting last Friday at the University of Illinois Chicago, and first in North Carolina, where Trump supporter John McGraw first sucker punched peaceful protestor Rakeen Jones in the face, then told a news reporter later, “Yes, he deserved it, the next time we see him, we might have to kill him. 
“We don't condone violence,” Trump told Fox News’ about the incident, “but the kid did, from what I hear, stick up a certain finger right in everybody's face. And this man has had enough, because I'll tell you what, people in this country are very angry. What about Chicago? Did his incendiary language cause the clashes at the U of Illinois? "I don't think so," Trump argued. "I represent a lot of people who have great anger."
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Anger? You bet there’s anger. But as revealed by Jen Senko’s new documentary “The Brainwashing of My Dad,” it is faux anger, caused by more than a generation of propaganda stemming from a coordinated far right takeover of media – and brains.
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THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD  - Trailer from Jen Senko on Vimeo.
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Those familiar with my work know I’ve dealt with government policies which allow corporate media giants to take over our airwaves with lies painted as “news.” But in “Brainwashing,” Senko goes deeper into the historical underpinnings of far right media indoctrination and the virtual brainwashing of family members and society. Senko’s film shows over time how her open-minded Kennedy Democrat father transformed into a raging right-winger after excessive exposure to Talk Radio and Fox News. Says Senko, "What I mean by brainwashing is that people like my dad have become so taken over by right-wing media and its disinformation campaign, that they speak, vote and even act against their own interests - even against the very core of who they are.”



Dave Ninehauser, whose Hear YourselfThink Project is featured in the film, says fear and anger are the neuronic drivers of the brainwashing phenomenon. “The indoctrination process works by pumping out scary stories disguised as news (for example: Obama wants to kill you with Ebola terrorists) which induce fear and anxiety, causing a feeling of loss of control. As the fear-mongering continues, fear and anxiety tip over into anger.”
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Hmmn… scary stories disguised as news, like this 3-14-2016 story RushLimbaugh is pushing in defense of Trump inciting violence at rallies.  Limbaugh first sets up a clip of then Senator Obama on the campaign trail:
RUSH: “Let's go back September 17, 2008, in Elko, Nevada, during a campaign event, Senator Barack Obama running for president...”
OBAMA: “I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors.  I want you to talk to 'em whether they're independent or whether they are Republican.  I want you to argue with 'em and get in their face. …  You are my ambassadors, you are the ones who must make the case." 
 Limbaugh then opines on the event.

RUSH:  So it's Obama.  "Get in their face.  They bring a knife, you bring a gun.  Get in their face.  I want you to argue with them."  Look, folks, Donald Trump supporters are not leaving Trump events and going to Hillary events or going to Bernie Sanders events and beating people upside the head.
Whoa, Obama said “They bring a knife, you bring a gun?” Even I am getting scared now… but wait, give a listen. 
  
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Obama didn’t say that, Limbaugh just said that he said it. But no matter, the lie is now implanted in his 15 million listeners' brainsThe fear leads to rage, which then actually causes our critical thinking to shut down. (Psychologist Daniel Goleman coined the term “Amygdala Hijack” for the affected group of neurons inside the brain’s Limbic system.)
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Ninehauser takes it further: “With loss of critical thinking comes a high susceptibility to ideological indoctrination as one is willing to credulously accept a narrative which makes sense of a scary situation and returns a sense of control. Importantly, this ideological narrative provides a tribal identity while cementing allegiance to the propagandist as the only trusted source of (mis) information.”
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Hmnn… cementing allegiance to the propagandist? Like 50 million avowed listeners of Right Wing Propaganda radio who believe every word fed to them, whether it makes sense or not? Like Trump making his supporters raise their right arms and “pledge” to vote for him in what looks like a “Heil, Hitler”salute?
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Then Ninehauser says the process repeats itself over and over again, becoming “further ingrained with the next round of scare-mongering and sensationalized story telling.”
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Hmmn… Like Sean Hannity talking to Donald Trump about what he says is a lack of violence at his rallies:Well, I don’t see any violence at Trump rallies. I’ve been watching and flipping the dial tonight. And somehow people are trying to flip this on you.” No violence? Hannity’s 2.5 millionviewers on Fox News and 14 million listeners on talk radio believe it, and then share the false information on social media and emails, creating its own echo chamber. 
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The beat goes on. And on. And on.
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The millions of us who can no longer have a discussion at the dinner table without erupting into a battle knowingly nod at Senko’s title, “The Brainwashing of My Dad.” Yet for all its revelations, it is a light hearted film about a real family, one that at the end makes us want to stop fighting and give each other a good hug instead. Senko: “It is my hope that by lifting the curtain on what the right-wing media is doing to the very fabric of our country, by shedding light on both its tactics and agenda, families and the nation can begin to heal."
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It is must see for this political season, and premieres Friday March 18 for a one week run in Los Angeles’ Laemmle Music Hall http://www.laemmle.com/films/index/40276/2016-03-18?modal=&replace=#get-tickets (Producer Matthew Modine will be on hand Friday and joined by Jen Senko Saturday for the 7:10 screenings,) and New York’s Cinema Village theaters, http://27.formovietickets.com:2235/T.ASP?WCI=BT&Page=schedule&SelectedDate=20160318   (Senko will answer questions after the Friday 7 PM screening.) Theaters nationwide are booking the film due to popular demand, and it is available via Video on Demand March 18.

Originally posted in L.A. Progressive

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