Pre-Bunking, Media Literacy, & Democratic Security
After reflecting on the insight that was revealed upon comparing and contrasting the West and Russia’s employment of pre-bunking, media literacy, and “Democratic Security” – the first two of which are also applied abroad – it becomes clear that the first-mentioned hypocritically embraces double standards in order to disguise its motivations while the second is completely transparent in all respects.
The Pretext For Experimenting With “Inoculation Theory”
The Associated Press (AP) reported late last month that “‘Pre-bunking’ shows promise in fight against misinformation”, which refers to the practice of “exposing people to how misinformation works, using harmless, fictional examples, [in order to] boost their defenses to false claims” per something called “inoculation theory”. Google, which participated alongside university researchers in the study described in the AP’s piece, plans to experiment with this in real-life conditions by “roll[ing] out a series of pre-bunking videos soon in Eastern Europe focused on scapegoating, which can be seen in much of the misinformation about Ukrainian refugees.”
Poland will predictably be one of the places where this strategy is practiced, especially since “[Its] Ukrainization Puts The Final Nail In PiS’ Faux Nationalist Project” as was noted by the author of the present piece over one-third of a year ago. By late May and shortly after unofficially merging with Ukraine into a de facto confederation, “Poland Suddenly Realized That It Can’t Indefinitely Fund Ukraine & Its Refugees”, hence why it cut off the generous benefits that many of them were receiving and starting unsuccessfully pressuring its other European partners to subsidize them instead. Despite there being plenty of specific points to address about this issue, the pre-bunking will only be generalized.
As AP put it in their article, “Pre-bunking videos, however, don’t target specific claims, and they make no assertions about what is true or not. Instead, they teach the viewer how false claims work in general.” Put another way, this manifestation of “inoculation theory” aims to inform their targeted audience about various perception management tactics and strategies with a view towards either reinforcing pro-refugee attitudes or changing the opinion of those who don’t support unlimited numbers of them and all that entails (which can include cultural clashes, socio-economic burdens, and political shifts at all levels). Considering this, it can therefore be described as a form of perception management itself.
No judgement is being implied about this approach since it’s actually what the author himself first proposed two years ago in his piece about how “Media Literacy, Not Intimidation & Censorship, Is The Best Way To Fight So-Called Propaganda”. Basically, the best response to disinformation and/or perception management tactics/strategies (whether naturally occurring and/or externally orchestrated, as well as objectively existing and/or speculative) is indeed preemptive (“inoculation”), with pre-bunking arguably being much more effective than intimidation and censorship since it aims to teach the targeted audience to discern the variety of information products that they’re regularly exposed to.
From “Democratic Security” To Meddling
The concept being employed can be described as a form of “Democratic Security”, which refers to counter-Hybrid Warfare tactics and strategies. In the AP’s example, it’s being practiced to ensure that select European populations have favorable attitudes towards refugees out of their governments’ fear that negative ones could be exploited by domestic radicals and/or foreign agents for various ends. It can, however, also be practiced by multipolar states like Russia to counteract latent Color Revolution and Unconventional Warfare (terrorist) threats from the US-led West’s Golden Billion. Pre-bunking can therefore be applied for peaceful purposes even if some disagree with the narrative goal being pursued.
Having acknowledged the reason why it’s used by stakeholders in a given society (who some of the target audience might believe have overstepped their legal and/or moral authority depending on the particular case, end goal, and/or means), it’s time to mention how pre-bunking could be employed for malicious purposes against foreign societies as a form of meddling, or at least be interpreted as such. Starting with the most deliberate and obvious, Bloomberg reported at the end of August that France and Germany are plotting to have the EU direct its pre-bunking efforts against Russians through social media platforms like TikTok, VKontakte, and YouTube in order to get them to distrust their government.
There’s no doubt that this represents a clear-cut case of foreign meddling under the “publicly plausible” pretext of pre-bunking in order to sow the seeds of anti-government sentiment in Russia, the fruits of which can then be manipulated for Color Revolution ends at a later date. There’s no other reason why this proposal would come up in a confidential report during closed-door discussions like Bloomberg reported. What’s so hypocritical about this is that the West has accused publicly financed Russian international media like RT and Sputnik of fulfilling exactly that same role, though their intentions are different (even if dishonestly interpreted by some as the same) and will now be clarified.
Comparing & Contrasting Publicly Financed Russian & Western Media
RT and Sputnik, just like their publicly financed analogues such as the UK’s BBC and others, don’t hide their ties with their respective state patron. Nevertheless, those two Russian platforms aren’t “state-controlled” like the BBC as proven by the collection of RT articles that the author compiled under this Facebook thread documenting that publicly financed outlet’s dozens of surprisingly harsh criticisms of China, which is one of their financial patron’s closest partners anywhere in the world. It’s unimaginable that the BBC or RT’s other publicly financed Western counterparts would ever publish similarly harsh criticisms of their own financial patron’s closest partners, which is a point for everyone to dwell on.
Moving along, while the result of Westerners consuming publicly financed (which importantly isn’t the same as “state-controlled”) Russian international media products might resemble the result of Russians consuming Western analogues (which importantly are indeed state-controlled or at least -influenced when it comes to CNN and other officially “independent” outlets) with respect to second-guessing whatever their authorities and social influencers say, that’s also openly disclosed through RT’s slogan to “Question More” and Sputnik’s about “Telling The Untold”. That is to say, they’re not deviously hidden in a confidential document that was only discussed behind closed doors by supernational elite.
Who’s Really Gaslighting: Russia Or The West?
What this means is that Westerners are explicitly informed of the financial connections and narrative motivations of those products that they consume from Russian international media whereas Russians won’t be made aware that those proposed EU-backed influencers who are engaging with them across social media have such connections and motivations. The first-mentioned are therefore less likely to be misled and will thus only change or reinforce their views after thinking deeply about everything associated with those Russian international media products, while the second are more susceptible to those perception management operations, hence why their details aren’t publicly disclosed.
Realizing this, it can indisputably be concluded that the EU is considering employing the exact same perception management tactics and strategies that they’ve consistently accused Russia of employing, but which wasn’t ever truly the case since RT and Sputnik explicitly inform their audience of their financial connections and narrative motivations as was explained. As such, there’s no doubt that the West’s prior claims about so-called “Russian meddling” weren’t just disinformation, but also the deliberate gaslighting of their own people in order to manipulate them into naively thinking that their governments would never do the exact same thing that they’ve so angrily accused Russia of.
The most effective way for Russia to defend its people from this potentially forthcoming information warfare offensive by the EU (which is almost certainly already being practiced by the entire West and probably was since Crimea’s democratic reunification with its historical homeland in early 2014) is to step up its “Democratic Security” efforts at home, which includes cultivating rational patriotism among the populace. This concept was most recently touched upon by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying during a press conference in early August in response to a loaded question from the US-led Western Mainstream Media.
They asked her why some Chinese were supposedly upset that their country hadn’t responded more forcefully to US Speaker Pelosi’s provocative trip to Taiwan, to which she answered that her civilization-state’s people are rational patriots who don’t support irrational actions under faux patriotic pretenses. The author elaborated on this concept more at length in his analysis at the time about how “The Chinese & Russian People’s Rational Patriotism Is A Model For Multipolar Societies”, which explained the importance of the state preemptively educating/”immunizing” the population from demagogic viruses spread by domestic and foreign forces that try to divide society from the state.
The Ideological Factor
Interestingly enough, it can be said that the domestic application of pre-bunking by Western stakeholders aims to achieve the same goal “Democratic Security” goal of cultivating rational patriotism at home, albeit from the perspective of the Golden Billion’s unipolar worldview which drastically differs from the multipolar one that’s enthusiastically embraced by the vast majority of humanity across the Global South. Again, no value judgement is being implied about either side of the New Cold War’s domestic application of these perception management tactics and strategies. All that’s intended is to raise awareness of the larger motivations behind its employment at home.
This is crucial to keep in mind because it helps better understand why pre-bunking will be experimented with in Central Europe according to the AP’s latest report. Publicly financed Russian international media (which to remind the reader, isn’t the same as “state-controlled”) is already censored on the continent so stakeholders clearly aren’t all that concerned about what they misleadingly smear as so-called “Russian meddling” “weaponizing” refugee or other issues. Instead, the perceived “threat” actually comes from those of their own people who’ve independently arrived at certain “politically incorrect” conclusions about whatever it may be, whether refugees or whatever else.
Weaponizing Conspiracy Theories
Those within a society or their peers abroad with whom they interact with varying degrees of frequency (or are least occasionally exposed to their narratives across social media and/or the Alt-Media Community [AMC]) who independently espouse “politically incorrect” views can’t be censored (though they can indeed be shadowblocked even though there are creative ways to get around that) the same way that Russian publicly financed international media can unless they violate the terms of service for whichever platform they’re posting on. For this reason, the most effective “Democratic Security” strategy is pre-bunking in order for their own compatriots to condemn and isolate these “threats”.
Cynically speaking, this strategy amounts to dividing and ruling society by playing the “politically correct” faction off against the “politically incorrect” one, which his attempted by extending credence to the former’s state-backed views while denying such to the latter through heavy innuendo conveyed via the pre-bunking’s attendant information products and the consequent peer pressure (which can also include toxic trolling) that such perception management operations aim to produce. Those who continue to espouse “politically incorrect” views are viciously smeared as “foreign puppets”, “agents of influence”, or “useful idiots” so as to pressure them into self-censoring or changing their views.
This state-encouraged weaponization of conspiracy theories is also directed against those outside their writ who independently arrived at similarly “politically incorrect” conclusions that inspired them to support the global systemic transition to multipolarity and thus back the Global South against the Golden Billion in the New Cold War. This is especially the case if they engage with Westerners (whether directly or simply by sharing their views on the same social media platforms) and publish in European languages like English, for example. Instead of acknowledging these individuals’ independent right to formulate their own opinion, Western pre-bunking smears them as part of a global meddling conspiracy.
The Truth About The “Rules-Based Order”
This is just as hypocritical as those same Western governments and the social influencers who are close to them (especially in the media) doing exactly what they earlier accused Russia of, albeit this time actually employing the shadowy perception management tactics and strategies that they falsely fearmongered about for gaslighting purposes as was earlier explained. On the one hand, they insist that all people have the right to independently arrive at their own conclusions and then peacefully share their views with others, yet on the other, those who arrive at “politically incorrect” ones and then share them with Westerners (especially if they’re a foreigner or simply based abroad) are discredited at once.
This arbitrary imposition of double standards is par for the course when it comes to the Golden Billion’s much-ballyhooed “rules-based order” because it’s nothing but high-sounding rhetoric to disguise the Machiavellian means that are employed to advance the Western elite’s interests at everyone else’s expense. Once again, the hypocrisy is self-evident since that’s precisely what they accuse Russia of doing through its own “Democratic Security” policies, except that the West disguises the financial connections and narrative agendas of those who it directly backs in the perception management realm and then discredits those with “politically incorrect” views on unsubstantiated conspiratorial bases.
By contrast, Russia is surprisingly candid in openly informing its foreign audiences about the financial connections and narrative agendas of those who it employs at its international media platforms. Furthermore, its information products don’t discredit those who espouse the opposite (unipolar) worldview simply on the basis that they think differently, but always seek to challenge them by sharing facts, logic, and perspectives that they might not have been aware of or previously considered all that much. Lastly, RT and Sputnik respect their audience’s right to still disagree after consuming those two’s information products without promoting malicious conspiracy theories against them in revenge.
After reflecting on the insight that was revealed upon comparing and contrasting the West and Russia’s employment of pre-bunking, media literacy, and “Democratic Security” – the first two of which are also applied abroad – it becomes clear that the first-mentioned hypocritically embraces double standards in order to disguise its motivations while the second is completely transparent in all respects. That in turn belies the West’s lack of confidence not only in its specific information products, but also its unipolar worldview more broadly. There’s no other reason why they’d hide the financial connections and narrative motivations of those who they back while so viciously smearing those who think differently.