Thursday, 15 February 2018 06:18

Beware of manipulation tactics during the Olympics

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Knowledge is a powerful tool. It helps to protect you against manipulation. Unfortunately, the current Pyeongchang Olympics are being used to manipulate the public’s political beliefs, but I’ll give you the knowledge to protect yourself.

The Olympics aren’t just an athletic event; politics are at play, too. This was more obvious when the Soviet Union still existed. Back then, athletes weren’t the only competitors at the Games. There was also a fierce competition between democracy and communism.
But just because the USSR is gone you shouldn’t think the political battle is over. There’s still one communist country left: North Korea.
And the United States isn’t pleased with them, which means you’re going to hear a lot of anti-North Korea propaganda during the Olympics from some major American media outlets. Here are two techniques they’re sure to use.
The first technique is one I call incomplete comparison.
This is used to make us think the citizens in some countries are brainwashed. It also makes certain ideologies look bad and it tries to make our way of governing look perfect.
Most mass media outlets who interview an average North Korean will play a sound bite where the Korean makes a statement about how his country’s leader, Kim Jung-un, is a great man.
Of course, what you are never shown is that if the same interviewer were to ask random Americans what they like about their country almost every answer would be about freedom or democracy. Canadians would pretty much all mention health care. Both nationalities would sound just as repetitious and brainwashed as North Koreans; that part of the comparison is left out.
The second technique will be to hide the North Koreans’ humanity. I learned this from a television program called Departures. If you’re interested, the episodes are all on YouTube. The series follows two Canadians as they travel around the world.
While in North Korea, they’re chaperoned by tour guides because free movement isn’t permitted. At first, the North Korean tour guides are rigid, ill at ease and careful to praise their country.
They seem very robotic and the viewers are left wondering what this says about North Koreans in general.
However, after a week together, the Departures crew and the tour guides trust each other and their true personality emerges, especially the Koreans’. At the end of the episode, the Canadians and the North Koreans get drunk together and sing songs.
Everyone is laughing and being themselves. We see one of the female tour guides clearly has a crush on one of the Canadians. Instead of hiding the North Koreans’ humanity, Departures showed what average North Koreans are really like when politics are cast aside. The mass media won’t bother to paint North Koreans in such a true light.
That episode of Departures impacted me. To be truthful, the only time I felt prouder to be Canadian when watching TV is when Sidney Crosby scored the gold-medal winning goal in overtime at the Vancouver Olympics.
To be clear, I don’t believe in communism. It destroys nations and has been a murderous catastrophe in literally every country where it’s been implemented. Democracy is a better system, warts and all, and because it’s a better system I don’t think the mass media should resort to manipulation. We have a better system than the Communists. Any fair comparison proves that. There’s no need to lie.
We live in a time of 24-hour news and therefore we must be on guard against mass media outlets who want to manipulate the truth.

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.