Spy Movies Make You Spy-Friendly (and Iceland/NSA, Crazy Fucking Russians)

Quote of the Day: “The more knowledge that Americans have about NSA and its activities, the less they support the agency.”

First off, anyone know a better source than the FreeSnowden.is page for the latest Snowden docs no matter where they appear?

Secondly, here’s a wonderful lesson in propaganda. Covering a poll that shows the American public doesn’t trust the NSA, Walter Pincus leads off with the one result showing that Americans would be willing to have their government assassinate terrorists if necessary to “combat terrorism.” You have to scroll down to find out what the MAIN POINT of the poll was. [1]

Anyway —

It turns out that hypnotizing people and having them mentally enter the world of espionage makes them more likely to approve of the NSA’s data slurping.

In a “lite version” of the Chekist Mentality I’d pointed out earlier, it seems that watching spy-movies and spy-TV is enough for people to at least partially adopt that viewpoint as their own. (Watching video is indeed a hypnotic state, and watching it in a movie theatre doubly so.)

Just as employees at a spy agency have this viewpoint etched into their brains by the insularity and all-encompassing nature of the work re-magnetizes the moral compass… so too, if on a lesser scale, does temporarily immersing yourself in that reality. Hey, it’s a verry sticky reality.

Of course, spytainment rarely shows the elements that would cause an ordinary person to deeply object to what’s going on… everything is more or less justified on-screen. So there’s certainly an element of that here, too. “They’re always justified and in the right on TV, so they must be that way for real!”

(Never mind, of course, that in the flurry of Snowden psychoanalysis following the leaks insiders were quoted as observing that anyone in Snowden’s position at the CIA (and NSA?) would be confronted by the same moral crises he faced many many times throughout their career.

To the point that was an expected part of the job for anyone who didn’t come to work humming “it rubs the lotion on its skin.” [2])

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/polls-lesson-for-nsa-show-that-surveillance-programs-actually-combat-terrorism/2013/11/10/1e095442-47ed-11e3-a196-3544a03c2351_story.html

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDgS6qLsVM4

The NSA spied on Iceland — and we can conclude Assange had a source feeding him info on the NSA’s tapping in 2010. http://rt.com/news/britain-spied-iceland-banks-497/

Speaking of Russia Today… One for the Crazy Fucking Russians file. Man nails his balls to Red Square to protest the totalitarian Putin state. His statement on the learned helpnessness of a society under that tradition is deeply insightful:

“It’s not a bureaucratic mess that deprives society of its ability to act, but fixation on our own defeats and losses that nails us to the Kremlin’s pavement stronger and stronger, creating an army of apathetic idols out of people, patiently awaiting their fate.” http://rt.com/news/naked-artist-nails-testicles-519/

http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/11/real-spies-fake-spies-nsa-and-more-what-my-2012-and-2013-national-polls-reveal/

” I have been researching for some time whether spy-themed entertainment (particularly on television and the big screen) has become adult education for intelligence. Last year, I found a strong correlation between frequent spytainment viewing and approval of aggressive counterterrorism tactics, including rendition, assassination, and harsh interrogation methods. In fact, support for torture was higher in 2012 than it was during the Bush administration. The influence of spytainment, I posited, helps explain why. Here are some of the statistically significant findings from my 2012 national poll:

38 percent of frequent spy TV watchers believed that waterboarding terrorists was the right thing to do, compared to 28 percent of infrequent watchers.
60 percent of frequent spy TV watchers thought transferring a terrorist to a country known for using torture was right versus 45 percent of infrequent watchers.
34 percent of frequent spy moviegoers said that they thought it was right to chain terrorist detainees naked in uncomfortable positions in cold rooms for hours. Only 27 percent of non-movie goers thought the naked-chaining-stress-position approach was right.

My October, 2013 poll reveals that spytainment viewing habits also extend to the NSA. I found that the more people watched spy-themed television shows and movies, the more they liked the NSA, the more they approved of NSA’s phone and Internet collection programs, and the more they believed the NSA was telling them the truth. In many instances, opinion differences between spytainment viewers and the rest of the country were large. The statistically significant correlations include:

NSA Favorability: 58 percent of people who watched spy movies six times or more in the past year had favorable views of NSA, but only 34 percent of infrequent spy moviegoers reported favorable views of the agency.
Approval of NSA Surveillance Programs: 44 percent of people who watched spy TV shows frequently or occasionally said they approved of NSA’s Internet data and telephone records collection programs. But only 29 percent of those who rarely or never watched spy TV shows approved of these surveillance programs
NSA Telling the truth: 23 percent of frequent/occasional spy TV watchers believed the NSA was telling them the truth about not listening in on telephone call content in the agency’s “metadata” collection program, compared to just 15 percent of infrequent spy TV show watchers who said they thought NSA was telling the truth.

Of course, the big question is causality: Is it that spytainment attracts a skewed viewership of NSA supporters? Or are these fictional shows creating real-world effects on public opinion? To begin to get at this question, we examined party identification and gender. It turns out, males who frequently watch spy television were still more likely to view NSA favorably compared to males who do not. The same was true for frequent watchers who are Democrats.”

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