Let's look at the deception formula in action by examining some recent articles by Janet Alderton, Board member of the Friends. Janet has deceptive editorials recently published here and here (same editorial in two places, neither of which mentions she is with the Friends). Her editorial starts out with the premise that CAO concerns are overblown. For example, here is the opening:
Some organizations have spread fear about what you will be able to do with your property under the proposed critical areas ordinance. In reality, the proposed buffers will generally be the same or smaller than current wetland buffers.That is followed by a list of cherry-picked half-truths from the text of the CAOs, all meant to persuade us that we'll be much more free under the new restrictive CAOs than now. If you survive Janet's stream-of-consciousness prose, you arrive at the real message at the end:
Buffers should be undisturbed areas with native vegetation. But the numerous activities permitted in buffers by the proposed CAO update interfere with buffer function and fail to protect our valuable critical areas.If you're suffering from cognitive dissonance after reading her article completely, you're not alone. Janet starts out by implying we have nothing to fear; then lauds the flexibility of the new CAOs; then she concludes by saying that the new CAOs are not strict enough. The final bit is the real message. She doesn't feel we should have any choices or freedoms under the CAOs, no matter how illusory, and she's upset at even the prospect that we might have any.
In summary, here's the three-step deceptive communication formula:
- Say that we have nothing to worry about.
- Blather on about how good we have it ... blah blah blah ... choice choice choice ... shiny object ... blah blah blah.
- Conclude with a threat, stating that we're getting off easy, and scold us that the prospective CAOs could be, and should be, even more restrictive than they already are.
With Friends (and CAOs) like these, who needs Martians?