Repetition


Repetition is important "as a weapon in the fanatic's arsenal. Repetition breeds blind acceptance and contagion... one of the essential features of fanatics is their certainty that not only is their cause good but that it is the only good, an absolute good" (Arianna Huffington, The Texas Observer, 7/4/03).


("..telltale symptoms of fanatics: an intolerance of dissent, a doctrine that is riddled with contradictions, the belief that one's cause has been blessed or even commanded by God, and the use of reinforcement techniques such as repetition to spread one's message" (Arianna Huffington, The Texas Observer, 7/4/03).


"The very idea of advertisers is to intrude into your head and plant a brand name like some alien pod of commercialization" (Jim Hightower. "Bush Rewrites the Founders." Texas Observer, 1/30/04, 15).


"Reagan and his PR apparatus knew how to get their desired message across while satisfying the media's appetite for interesting stories and appealing visuals. The apparatus understood the value of repetition.. only messages that get repeated can pierce the statis and register on the public consciousness..." (Mark Hertsgaard. "Beloved by the Media." The Nation, June 28, 2004: 7-8).


"...the Administration's response to the collapse of its case repeated the well-worn pattern of its response to the downfall of its claim before the war that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction: monotonous repetition of the falsehood in the face of manifest evidence to the contrary and then a redefinition of words... and throughout a tireless insistence that they were right, detached alike from information and the meaning of words. They seem to believe that truth consists not of correspondence of word with fact but of an implacable consistency armored with impervious self-righteousness" (Jonathan Schell. "The Lexicographers." The Nation, July 12, 2004: 10).


Sources:

Sharmistha Law, Scott A Hawkins, Fergus I M Craik. "Repetition-induced belief in the elderly: Rehabilitating age-related memory deficits." Journal of Consumer Research. Gainesville: Sep 1998.Vol.25, Iss. 2; pg. 91, 17 pgs.

Hertwig, Ralph, Gigerenzer, Gerd, Hoffrage, Ulrich. "The reiteration effect in hindsight bias." Psychological Review. Washington: Jan 1997.Vol.104, Iss. 1; pg. 194, 9 pgs.

Samuelson, Robert J. "The triumph of the psycho-fact." Newsweek. New York: May 9, 1994.Vol.123, Iss. 19; pg. 73.

Begg, Ian Maynard, Anas, Ann, Farinacci, Suzanne. "Dissociation of processes in belief: Source recollection, statement familiarity, and the illusion of truth." Journal of Experimental Psychology : General. Washington: Dec 1992.Vol.121, Iss. 4; pg. 446


"[Bush] also pulled out the old chestnut about "my opponent voted in the Senate to increase taxes 98 times." (Remember when he did that to Al Gore every 10 minutes on the theory that someone is bound to be dumb enough to believe it?) Kerry voted to increase taxes one time, in 1993. That was the Clinton tax package that increased taxes mostly on the very wealthy..." (Molly Ivins. "'Misunderestimating' the Public." Texas Observer, 10/22/04: 14).


"...his fearmongering rhetoric. The right-wing propaganda machine assumes relentless repetition of the big lies will carry the day" ("Retirement Security Fight." The Nation, Feb. 21, 2005: 3).


"It is hard to believe that George W. Bush has ever read the works of George Orwell, but he seems, somehow, to have grasped a few Orwellian precepts. The lesson the President has learned best--and certainly the one that has been the most useful to him--is the axiom that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. One of his Administration's current favorites is the whopper about America having been founded on Christian principles. Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones...

"Our constitution makes no mention whatever of God. The omission was too obvious to have been anything but deliberate..." (Brooke Allen. "Our Godless Constitution." The Nation, Feb. 21, 2005: 14-20).


"It has long been right-wing strategy to repeat over and over phrases that evoke their frames and define issues their way. Such repetition makes their language normal, everyday language... everyday ways to think about issues" (George Lakoff. Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate: 50)...


"...critique[s of] the powerful do get written, challenges to the conventional wisdom typically run once, often buried inside the paper. Meanwhile, the pronouncements of the powerful are repeated day after day, often on the front page. Accurate and important reporting is usually overwhelmed by the drumbeat" (Robert Jensen. "Monitoring the Myths." Texas Observer, July 8 2005: 26-27).


Colby Glass, MLIS