Friday, April 25, 2008

The Implications of our new revelation... "MFM"

Blog readers... particularly liberal ones who distrust the mainstream media as much as I do, typically refer to the them as the "MSM". Now we have a new term... MFM... "Message Force Multipliers". I've been thinking about this term all day and want to share my thoughts on the implications of this term.

First, some background... The New York Times broke a story last Sunday that... well... I've sort of suspected all along. (Humbly speaking) That the analysts on TV that discuss all matters pertaining to just about anything and everything are essentially biased and often have a vested interest in their own analysis. The conflicts of interest of many "Analysts" have been well documented and I need not review them here.

But back to the New York Times article. And again... while the New York Times broke this story its gotten little play in the MSM and when I googled the term in quotations... I only got 180 hits. 180!!! And, unfortunately I did not see my last posting as one of those hits so I can't trust that Google is not an accurate read on this as apparently my words are not part of their search engine even though they own blogspot.

The story in the times entitled "Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand" reads like so:

"Five years into the Iraq war, most details of the architecture and execution of the Pentagon's campaign have never been disclosed. But The Times successfully sued the Defense Department to gain access to 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records describing years of private briefings, trips to Iraq and Guantanamo and an extensive Pentagon talking points operation. These records reveal a symbiotic relationship where the usual dividing lines between government and journalism have been obliterated.
Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as 'message force multipliers' or 'surrogates' who could be counted on to deliver administration themes and messages to millions of Americans in the form of their own opinions."

Photo courtesy of Gameslore

Dare I say these three little words speak volumes about what is (I firmly believe) the actual truth behind the MSM. Quite simply, if we are told something enough times, it essentially becomes fact. Then, those "facts" are picked up by others who are believed to be knowledgeable and repeated over and over again and the cycle continues only until someone blows a whistle if that ever happens. Eventually, it is never again questioned and becomes an underlying assumption.

One example is the amplified threat of terror that we see over and over again... even in the most liberal press and how to deal with it. The assumption of the threat is seldom ever questioned. Only the response to TERROR is debated. As a matter of fact, an honest discussion of why such TERROR even exists is a topic no one will discuss. But we read over and over and over.... that word... TERROR. We hear it everyday, we read it everyday in the newspaper. TERROR. TERROR. TERROR. We ride on the subways and see "If you see something, say something". (They can say TERROR without even saying TERROR.)
It has become part of the collective mindset of the nation so deeply that the question of its very existence never comes up. It simply is FACT. I don't know this for sure... but I imagine if I went to Sweden, or Denmark, or Hungary today (I went to Hungary last year and it was true), I wouldn't see this word nearly as much if at all. This word and its implications is simply not part of their daily reality and part of their collective conscience.

Now let's take a look at this term "MFM" and see where it comes from. If I ever want to find out something, I always go to Who doesn't love Wikipedia?

I looked up "force multiplier" and found some really interesting information. Turns out this is a very common term in the military and really is quite simple. From Wikipedia:
"Force multiplication, in military usage, refers to a combination of technology, intense training, organization, or a combination of all to make a given force more effective than another force of comparable size. Deception as to the presence or size of a unit can increase its effectiveness. Another way to state the idea is that a force multiplier refers to a factor that dramatically increases (hence "multiplies") the effectiveness of an item or group."
They have a very telling quote from former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell:
"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. Morale, training, and ethos have long been known to result in disproportionate effects on the battlefield. A volunteer military is, soldier for soldier, significantly more effective than a conscription force. Psychological Warfare can target the morale, politics, and values of enemy soldiers and their supporters to effectively neutralize them in a conflict."
This gives us a very shiny and clear glimpse of the MFM doctrine as it can be easlily applied in the media... how to take just a few "knowledgeable" people, have them continue to say the same things over and over again, and soon you have psychological advantage. It essentially explains everything that was said and REPORTED TO BE TRUE IN THE MEDIA in the run up to the Iraq war and then everything that happened after. Only when they could no longer hide that it was all going very badly did the message change. But the point I want to make is that the analysts sent out by the Pentagon in 2005 were simply one tiny example of this tactic and how it is used to frame what most of what Americans believe to be true in the world.

We are essentially subject to MFMing on nearly every issue today. And the designers of the message multiplication are not just the military. It could easily be everything that makes news and is reported as fact. Political talking points, assumptions about the intentions of other countries. Who is hostile and who is not. Osama, Osama, Osama. Al Queda, Al Queda Al Queda and "believed to be linked to Al Queda".... the message multiplication machine just grinds on and on and the the underlying assumptions that we as a society believe to be true are a direct result of message multiplication. The "army" or "force" in every day life is the corp of journalists who don't, can't, or are too afraid to do their jobs and question underlying assumptions.

Not until Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 did anyone even think to imagine that the U.S. was fighting the Vietnam War anywhere except inside Vietnam. It simply wasn't even imagined to be true. Had he not leaked it, we may still not know to this day.

On my bookshelf are two very interesting books (which would easily be branded "conspiracy" books) that I think have information that may be correct to some degree.... however, the premise of the books I believe to be strikingly true. They are each a series of essays whose Editor is Russ Kick. One is called "Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the other is called "You Are Being Lied To".

So, when the story came out in the NY Times, I was not surprised. Candidly, I wondered what took them so long. My reaction was "oh finally", but then a shrug and a thought... "isn't this true for just about everything and why does no one seem to realize this? Why would this story be a surprise to any skeptic?"

What was NEW for me... was the term "Message Force Multiplier". Now... I had a way to describe what I already knew to be true!!
I think there is a huge insight and truth here that needs to be delved into very deeply. We need to be ever more vigilant of the messages that are repeated over and over again as underlying and assumed truths. ALL OF THEM. We must question everything and throw off all assumptions. If we are dumb enough to think this is the first (and last) time that this tactic has been used to frame the debate in America and present facts, then we would be demonstrating a colossal naivete.

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Anonymous said...


I'm mesmerized and discomblogulated by the wealth of information in your blogasphere.
This will be the first BLOG I will endeavor read regularly.

Or I will link all the info to an ethernet chip in my right brain and have my avatar conduct hourly bloggings.

Is it a surprise that my favorite current rock star, Matt Bellamy of MUSE, is a proponent of super massive conspiracy theories, and that my dear friend Bruce is blogging along to unmask them?

Yours forever,

Bruce Steinberg said...

jesse... I have just the pill for your discombogulation discomfort.

when you insert your chip... remind me... I have a piece of code I need to put in it so you will think that I am the smartest and hottest man you have ever met. works like a charm!!!!!