Safari 17

Counter Propaganda

Communication is the soul of what we do at GrayResearch and that always means understanding who you are trying to communicate with. Election years are a great time to get an understanding of voter’s minds. We are all impacted by wave after wave of propaganda from both parties and all possible sides. Even when we have ready access to all the revenant facts, we are so deluged with firm declarations of “Truth” from all sides, it would take years to look it all up. However, if facts could be disseminated in an accessible way to a wide audience, would that make voters more informed? Would it change minds?

The question this project will try to answer is can the beliefs of the most hardened “heads” be illuminated by facts that don’t agree with their beliefs? What is the best methodology for disseminating the information that may well be contrary to a person’s deeply held beliefs in an effective manner?

After several months of trial and error in a “closed” setting, we’ve taken the Embarrassed Republican live on the local “Patch” website. The work really can only be judged by actual responses to each piece, at this point that’s “Comments” readers favor us with, tweets generated and Facebook “Recommends”. We’re working with the Patch to get more data, but for now we’ll have to judge by the responses we receive.


I started writing “Embarrassed Republican” on the Speak Without Interruption site. Throughout the early pieces I was amazed that everyone didn’t just realize the amazing truth of my words and begin waving flags of appreciation. In fact some contributors were so diametrically opposed to my supposed truths that they became inflamed with rage. Instead of learning from that experience, I decided to “tweak their noses”, which I continued throughout several more iterations. Slowly it occurred to me that I wasn’t convincing anyone, it was the old case of “The louder you shout, the less people listen.”

When the election started to heat up in my own town and county, I began to see the same types of inflamed commentary on an attack vector for anything that disagreed with their own personal world view. We were all up against vast propaganda machines churning out mind numbing half truths and focused interpretations of the facts. So, it occurred to me that perhaps rather than tweaking the noses of the hardened minds I might find a different approach. I could at least experiment with several different approaches and if not actually change anyone’s mind, at least get them to see a bigger picture.

Here then are the Embarrassed Republican columns, from their first inkling, the introduction and their present forms. I’ve include notes on each one to show what modifications I made as I went along. The earliest iterations are available on the Speak Without Interruption site on my author’s page.

The Embarrassed Republican