PR for People Monthly MARCH 2017 - Page 25

Red is a scary color that suggests the Red Scare, red alerts, and red herrings. Senator Joseph McCarthy used Red Scare propaganda to attack communism, socialism and radical leftism. Red alerts are deployed by law enforcement as the most dangerous warning of all. And red herrings? Well, you should know what they are, especially if you’ve read mystery novels. They’re false facts cleverly designed to throw you off track, so you never learn who the true perpetrator is until you reach the very end of the story.

These days we know the identity of the true perpetrator and his team who are highly adept at tossing red herrings. Red herrings are flourishing everywhere, because the true perpetrator is highly skilled at ranting like a bully, exploding in anger, and hurling barbs at anyone who is not part of his team. The perp’s childish behavior stirs-up so much distraction that it is preposterous to believe that he has a grand plan. But don’t let the crazy-making antics fool you. The perp does have an agenda.

Look at what is happening in our nation. Witness the slow erosion of Wall Street reforms, which provided people consumer protection after the financial collapse of 2008. The perp is making it hard for low-income Americans to be granted a mortgage and easy for Wall Street bandits to prey on people’s savings and retirement plans. Eighteen million Americans stand to lose the healthcare that is provided by the Affordable Care Act. The perp pontificated that he would help working-class people get ahead, but he has surrounded himself with a brigade of filthy rich businesspeople who made their money on the backs of the people. And we are only into the first chapter of the mystery novel.

Never forget that good strategic thinkers can set up a diabolical plot that makes their enemies look like fools. Clever strategy has destroyed individuals, whole industries and has made cities, towns and nations disappear like lost civilizations. Make no mistake, Fake News is a brilliant, but evil, strategy concocted to undermine the power of a free press, because only a press that is free can speak the truth. Someone architected the Fake News phenomenon and I’m willing to bet that the perp might have a hand in it.

If people understand how Fake News works, they can make informed decisions about our leadership, regardless if they are elected officials. There are three categories of Fake News: Advertising, Punk and Political. Here are concrete examples:

Advertising Fake News is easy to spot. The New York Times “defined Fake News on the Internet as fictitious articles deliberately fabricated to deceive readers, generally with the goal of profiting through clickbait.” Many of these fake stories are generated by online advertising companies. These stories are clustered in the columns running from top to bottom, or along the footer of your screen. Advertising Fake News stories serve up sensational headlines about celebrities or freakish people: The Real Reason why Angelina Jolie Drinks Blood or Mother of Chinese Orphan Gives Birth to Rare Dog. The moment you click on a Fake News story, your personal data is captured so advertising algorithms can sell things to you.

Red Alert!

by Patricia Vaccarino