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Gaslight: Michael Hastings and the Age of Nervous Media

June 20th, 2013 - 8:59 pm

That can only fuel the apprehension, especially among journalists. Given this background, it is easy to see how Michael Hastings could have thought someone was out to get him. But fear itself can be a weapon, and the very panic engendered by the NSA revelations can be more disruptive than the agency’s actual activities themselves. The Chinese call this “killing the chicken to scare the monkey.” Voltaire’s name for it was pour encourager les autres. For example, the Taliban have become so afraid of the Apache helicopter that they have come to call it the Monster:

“The Monster is here!” a Taliban lookout shrieked over the radio to fighters in a valley below a few months ago as an Apache arrived on the scene to help U.S. troops battle the insurgents. “The Monster is above my head now! Do not move or you will die!” The lookout’s breathless alarm — intercepted and translated by U.S. forces during the battle — was reported to Boeing by the commander of the 1st Battalion of the 101st Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division during a recent visit to the company’s Apache plant in Mesa, Ariz., company marketer Mike Burke told Breaking Defense during the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

Whether or not the Monster is even tasked to seek them out, the fear of being turned into hamburger by it is so great that it will shut down all the Taliban within hail. The net result in politics may be similar. Many people — the AP’s sources for example — are convinced the NSA or the FBI are listening on the other end of the line. The paralyzing psychological effect of fear was memorably depicted in the 1944 film Gaslight, where the caddish Charles Boyer terrorizes Ingrid Bergman into submission. The film’s title has come to describe an entire process of psychological warfare not unsurprisingly named gaslighting:

Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term “gaslighting” comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations. The term is now also used in clinical and research literature.

And that’s exactly what’s happened to sections of the press. Perhaps Hastings began to doubt his own sanity, just as Attkisson did. And that may have made them paranoid. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that nobody is really out to get you.

What’s your opinion? Comment at the  WikiLeaks/Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theory Open Thread


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Top Rated Comments   
"or are already cowed into submission by the dirt that the NSA has on them. "


And THIS is exactly why the much-despised "social conservatives" are right, and have been right all along.

Yes, character DOES matter. It DOES matter who you sleep with, how easily you lie, how you treat your wife, how you handle your finances.

In the final analysis, in fact, character is the one thing that matters MOST.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
We do live in times that we never thought would be possible in this country. The government, and those connected with the ruling party, are functionally above either the law or shame. They operate totally outside the law and the Constitution with impunity and silence from those whose normal interest it would be to fight politically and legally to the last breath. We have learned from their own lips, that the coercive organs of the State [which phrase is a specific term of art] are targeted against the people of this country and the domestic political opponents of the regime almost exclusively, and the external enemies of the country are given a pass. And once again, we see them operating outside the law and Constitution.

In this post-Liberty, post-Constitution iteration of our poor country; seeing what has happened to Hastings, and knowing his record of once helping the regime and thus "knowing too much", and now working on a subject that could bring the State into disrepute, only a blind fool would not think of the possibility of his extremely prejudicial termination and its convenience to the State.

Those who beat me to this thread have expounded the truths we are going to have to live by, or perhaps perish by. Because politics can no longer be a mere hobby, interest, or a pastime. It is now literally a bet with your life and the lives of those you hold dear. Wretchard knows this level of seriousness from his past life. Our poor country has not seen it for over 150 years, and this generation is in for a sudden and very unforgiving encounter with reality not unlike Hastings' car.

Our situation has been tied up nicely by General Tso, Sparklesalt, and most especially Dworkin Barimen; and most especially the last. If I may, for emphasis, I will quote him:

"As for Tice, he is potentially confirming one of the worst case scenarios about this NSA debacle. Yes, I am extremely angry about my 4th Amendment rights being violated, but one of the main thrusts of this domestic dragnet is to grab control of those with their hands on the levers of power, and those up-and-coming rebels who threaten the power structure. The implications of Tice's allegations are quite shocking when you give it more than a passing thought. If he's telling the truth, then most likely either the US espionage services are the real power behind the throne, or whomever is in control of them is. If he is telling the truth, then politics as a method of guiding our system of government is null and void. Obviously, all manner of threats to the Ruling Class could be shunted to ground quite easily and quietly.

If we had a real opposition party, they would be using these issues as a powerful bludgeon against the administration. Instead, they are on the cusp of turning over official one-party rule to the Democrats via amnesty and handing Buraq a nice little win. They are so quiet and meek about this atrocious rape of our entire system of governance, that one can only conclude that they are complicit in it and/or are already cowed into submission by the dirt that the NSA has on them."

For those of us here, of course, it is too late. We are already on the lists. All we can choose is how, not if. Which may be enough.

Subotai Bahadur

43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
See now we're all going nuts. Conspiratorial thinking used to be the hallmark of citizens of the Soviet Union, Iraq or Syria. Everything was always wheels within wheels to them. And how the West laughed back then at their labyrinthine thought processes. Ha ha ha ha.

But in a way the spread of conspiratorial thinking is the first step in the fall of the narrative. Working democracies have a very simple, but accepted narrative. That's how things get done. A tax is just a tax. And when the President speaks everyone assumes he is speaking the essential truth.

When a system breaks down the first symptom is that the gauges begin to spin and the compass does the merry go round. The different parts of the system no longer trust their inputs and give off uncertain outputs. The fix for this is to return confidence to the system.

If somebody is gaslighting the public, they are also inadvertently gaslighting themselves. And in the end the conspirators finish up like Charles Boyer, roped up in their own fables and looking at the ceiling.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (76)
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Has anyone thought that all of these scandals coming from every direction all at once is gas lighting itself? I have never been associated with more paranoid people than I have lately. While some of it may be attributed to heavier pot usage (which educes paranoia- heh) far too many of my fellow conservatives have their tin foil hats firmly in place with flags flying from both sides.
In addition, it's hard to know where to turn. Do we examine the IRS? EPA? NSA? FBI? Benghazi? Fast and Furious? I remember the Clinton Administration and the days of the Clinton Chronicles (Yes, I had my own personal copy). I caution against returning to those days when the GOP became so mired in 'proving Clinton did *something* that we ended up not achieving all or even most of attempts to limit the size and scope of government. Even those inroads we had made were negated and/or overridden by new legislation.
Obama DEARLY wants Obama care and to legalize illegal immigrants. That's where my head's going to be.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
“He was incredibly tense and very worried and was concerned that the government was looking in on his material,”

At one point in the near past we would have said he was full-on paranoid. Now, not so much.

Not that this incident could not be just an accident but that as much as 8 weeks ago the notion that an arm of The Feral Gov't was listening to all of our communications in one form or another WAS truly the stuff of conspiracy theories.

Remember there was a movie by the name that posited just what is happening now.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jaycen - "So, what are we going to do about it?"

Step one is to live well. Living well is the best revenge. It will induce wannabee LIVs to follow you. You will get a following. Once you do, the MSM will fawn all over you. Did you see Krauthammer on Obama in Germany? Obama is sooooo passé.

Without the LIVs, he is impotent.


Step two is to do your Pied Piper imitation and lead the LIVs to the Promised Land.

Fear Not! Have Faith!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obnimpotent.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know anything for a Hastings conspiracy but I do know that if there was one the dogs are following a red herring. People are routinely drugged in bars by amateurs and it is easy to do. Now, is there a chemical when ingested makes you feel out of control enough to leave and then later completely lose it, wacko-crackers? Probably not, no such experimentation would ever be contemplated during the cold war let alone during these times of sublime peace. Why I know a guy who killed himself in similar circumstances and everybody thought it was a conspiracy. Such rubes. He wasn't the only guy to shoot himself in the back of the head three times. Conspiracy is so unlikely that conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor is a felony. Doesn't happen. Ever. Can't. The perfection of man under Marxism you know.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Understand, Dear Taxpayer. I would use this 'technology' from a desire to do good... But through me, it would wield a power too great and 'too awesome not to use', Trust me!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
The media has been Gaslighting America for Decades. Or maybe it is more like passing gas and lighting it.

Here is a small example from five minutes ago. I logged into the Bing hpme page and among the teasers at the bottom I see a picture of a woman and the slug "Jim Allen rant." Lately I started clicking the teasers to see what the rest of America sees. It led to a link page and this was the description of the top link:

"Illinois Republican official Jim Allen called the biracial Erika Harold, a candidate for Congress, a 'street walker' and 'love child' of Democrats."

I almost didn't follow the link but then a I thought, wait, let's play "guess the Party!" We know the pig is a Republican and the victim is a...Democrat? But wait, it does not say "Democrat." So I followed the link and read the story very carefully (and you must read carefully) and found that she was, indeed, a Republican. Or at least running in the Republican Primary.

Of Course reading between the lines she is probably a conservative and the Jim Allen mess a possible deliberate "mistake" by the political establishment in Illinois. Suppose Jim goes to work for the Democrats or maybe just gets a good job: All will be forgiven, won't it? And will we read about that?

http://news.msn.com/us/local-gop-leader-resigns-after-rant-on-former-miss-america?ocid=ansnews11
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
remark on facebook by Michael Yon, yesterday am:
Michael Hastings and ShotSpotter

That strange crash with Hastings...for instance the woman saying the sound shook her home. It seems almost as if a small bomb got him.

Los Angeles uses ShotSpotter. Did those sensors pick this up?

http://shotspotter.com/company/client-agencies
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Considering the nature of Obama Inc. one would have to be irrational to trust that things are as they seem. The fact of the matter is that his death is more than suspicious, as have others which surround Obama Inc. Yes, some things are as they are and to posit otherwise is a whole lot of conspiracy nonsense. This is no such case - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/06/20/re-shaking-the-down-low-skeletons-in-the-potuss-closet-the-unexplained-remains-hovering-nearby-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
yo adina, take your link-whoring elsewhere Belmont club does not need it!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't be a troll. I'm glad someone besides myself is linking to Doug Hagmann, the Pennsylvania-based private investigator who has filed a sworn affadavit on May 30 that he saw the letters 'NSA UTAH DATA CTR' on his caller ID and heard a recorded NSA message when he picked up. That's under penalty of perjury and he could lose his PI license if found to have perjured himself. I'd like the NSA's defenders in fedgov to go under oath starting with that liar to Congress Gen. Clapper who should go to jail.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
With all due respect, the notion that "there are 300,000 vehicle fires every year" is a big "so what" (you can have someone deliberately setting a car on fire or you can have a car like a Pinto being rear-ended and catching fire). The stat of interest is -- how many brand new Class C Mercedes explode into a fireball? Is this a "routine experience" for drivers of Mercedes? (almost laughable). Right now it is simply far too early to draw any kind of conclusion -- the investigation has only just begun. Let us wait and see before making definitive statements (questions, yes; conclusions, no).
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I drive a M-B C-class a lot - my dealer really wants to sell me a new car, so every time I bring my old ML in for service, they give me a C as a loaner - they're small but built like tanks and you really have to work at killing yourself in any Mercedes. That said, the odds are pretty good that anybody driving at 4:30 AM probably shouldn't be driving and if you get home without hurting or killing yourself or someone else, it was just luck. Can't say I haven't checked my bumpers for blood and hair a few mornings. If the world were still sane, I'd say wait for the tox reports and for the accident report. The World isn't sane anymore and LA has a Democrat government, so why would I believe them about anything?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
So many want a magical conclusion right away. They say "probably not murdered" (statement of blind faith, maudlin), or "Hastings was not murdered. I will assume that until actual evidence proves, or at least strongly suggests, otherwise." (O'Reilly-eque, bold and drunk.)

Why say anything? We don't know. Not everything weird has to be resolved. Real life is full of things "we know we don't know" (Rumsfeld, mature, sane and sober).
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, Hastings was probably not murdered, and Breitbart knew his ticker was going to kill him. But the government which is known to have committed or covered up far greater malfeasance has no automatic credibility. We have reached the point where government is guilty until proven innocent.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
My God, Richard could not have picked a 'more perfect' title, Gaslight, indeed.

I had thought the 9/12 Project in 2009 the turning point, that Patriots are still the silent majority of this country. Seeing the great mass on the national mall, it had shown me we had 'safety in numbers'.

Alas, the power that be would not be defeated. And here we are.......
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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