The echo chamber feedback loop

“Everyone is talking about this,” says the outgoing president on more than a few occasions.. “Everyone knows this is true” or “Everyone knows” he might use as an alternative or add-on to the above, as he is prone to repeat himself. These are intentional phrases used to make the listener or reader skip past them and assume the statements are true. When you hear or read these comments, do yourself a favor and assume the opposite.

Why? Because you are hearing an echo chamber feedback loop. The echo chamber occurs when the same piece of information, rumor or conspiracy theory is repeated within limited sources of information. In fact, this is how disinformation is so easily shared, especially with an untruthful, unrelenting and unaware user in the White House. In fact, when a Russian, Iranian, Chinese or American troll hears the outgoing president repeat what they made up, it is like capturing lightning in bottle.

Here is how it works. One of these sources will concoct an outlandish story that has some link to the truth or preconceived notion. about a person or party. Hillary Clinton is a prime target, eg, she is imperfect and an easy foil for made up stuff. As of this writing, there is a North Carolina man who is in jail because he believed that Clinton was running a child trafficking ring from a pizza parlor in Washington and took action armed for bear.

The concocted story is then picked up by one of the conspiratorial websites or a known sensationalist like Alex Jones, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. Since the outgoing president is on the look out for props to sell with (meaning a good story), he will latch onto it and retweet. Since he is president, the news agencies may pick up on the story he is espousing. As it gets repeated more, the lack of veracity of the story does not get repeated each time with the story, especially within the limited sources of information.

Then, the outgoing president will hear these stories and repeat them again. The story is still concocted, but now the White House incumbent believes it to be true and will punctuate statements with the phrases above. What is also interesting is even when the outgoing president makes things up on his own, he will begin to believe his own BS. This is what has happened with fraudulent claims of wide-spread voter fraud. He staged this story for months, but now believes it to be truth. Why? Because losing cannot be tolerated.

Years from now, historians will look back at this period and define the outgoing president as the most corrupt and deceitful US president. The voter fraud story is just a subset of his deceit, but the real story is how a person, well documented as untruthful, has convinced his followers every else is lying. That may be the biggest con in American history.

Two rules of thumb to remember. Read and listen to multiple sources. And, if the outgoing president says it or writes it, do not assume it is true. The odds are well in your favor to consider it false.

21 thoughts on “The echo chamber feedback loop

  1. Every time I hear him say, “Everybody knows …”, my thoughts are … then, I must be a nobody, because I don’t believe a word of it! Those like Alex Jones, Hannity and Limbaugh who repeat his lies as if they were fact, ought to be criminally prosecuted, for they have helped him mislead some 74 million people in this nation … people who would help him drive this train off a tall cliff. 16 more days … how much more b.s. will we have to put up with in that time? Good post, good advice, Keith!

      • Your calm assessments are often far more effective than my hot rants … I just sometimes cannot help myself. As always, you are my gold standard, but one that I find I cannot live up to, for I have a fiery temper … compliments of my Castilian grandmother, no doubt!

      • Jill, thanks. My calmness betrays the fuming I do inside. But, calling the outgoing president names to his followers, won’t get our message heard, although he makes me want to curse more than anyone I know. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: From a CNBC article a few minutes ago called “Major business leaders tell Congress to certify Biden won electoral college; Trump lost” by Dan Morgan, the following two paragraphs speak volumes:

    “Major U.S. business leaders on Monday urged Congress to certify this week President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump, who has refused to recognize his loss in the 2020 election.

    Business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Partnership for New York City separately issued statements calling for an end to efforts to undermine Biden’s win.”

    This a grown up version of “out of the pool.” Since Cruz, Johnson et al won’t listen to folks like me, maybe they will hear these louder voices.

    • Janis, that is a good question. If a major donor told Cruz, Kennedy, Johnson to cut the crap – you are embarrassing our country and our party – they might listen. It got these guys to pass a tax cut in December 2017, so maybe it will help.

      What is sad, instead of being leaders, they followed the untruthful person down the rabbit hole. Keith

  3. It isn’t that they consider themselves liars, Keith, they are simply fabricators of their own version (read Donald Trump”s version) of the truth. Evidentiary fact is not necessary in their case, while the more the truth is repeated by different people is the gold standard.
    So why don’t we start a fabricated truth of our own, and get all of our readers to repeat it not only on their blogs, but in their everyday conversations with their family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and even their business contacts: Everyone knows, Donald Trump is a screw-loose wing nut, who needs to be locked away in a forensic mental ward for the rest of his unnatural life. Only in such a place can he be allowed to believe he won the 2020 US Presidential election.
    Oh, that is the truth? No, we made it become the truth! We unelected him!

    • Rawgod, the only fly in the ointment is the outgoing president wants a mud fight. The calmer and more forceful the pushback, the more nervous he gets. British reporters frequently call Boris Johnson out on his lies. The US president gets very unnerved when he is publicly told that is not true and here is why. As I said to Jill, know person has made me want to curse like this untruthful outgoing president. Keith

      • I don’t know, Keith, but maybe you missed my main point. HUMOUR! Take it all with a grain of humour, life is not as bad as it may seem. Be serious, yes, but laugh seriously, especially at yourself. As the Reader’s Digest (first published in Winnipeg, Manitoba, another shout out to my home town) section says, Laughter is the Best Medicine. A shot or two of covid vaccine might help too, we don’t know for sure yet.

    • Be careful about, as Heinlein wrote, “[shooting] an error in to the air” because it may always afterwards be “… still going, everywhere”. I don’t feel malice in your post; I don’t want to use such an unusually uncontrollable weapon.

  4. Note to Readers: After speaking with an aide for my Congressman, who said he did not know which way the Congressman would vote, the boss said he would vote against accepting the electoral college vote as expected.

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