SILENCING TACTICS


By: www.resistingdefamation.org

"We know how to destroy people." Silencing tactics appear when one engages in deep discussions and communications about American society and politics. It rapidly becomes apparent that gatekeepers on the Internet and in the newsrooms work to silence those who speak out. There are nine principal silencing tactics, and it is important to understand what they are because one rebuttal to them is to name them when they appear in public discourse.

Censorship Ear

The chief goal of any of the nine tactics is to smear and silence people, a strategy outlined by a New York Post reporter, "We know how to destroy people," Jared Stern said, according to a person reading a transcript of the meeting. "It's what we do. We do it without creating liability. That's our specialty."

(1) Name-calling is the most important tactic. All slurs are important as silencing tactics. When a debater is labeled by a term that is viewed negatively in our society, it impedes his or her ability to communicate effectively. It works in a larger sense, too. When the dominant media culture or the corporate entertainment culture decides that ordinary European Americans need a slap to remind them of the proper European American place in our society, a news story is published or a film is produced that uses slurring labels and artful anecdotes to silence European Americans who continue to labor under the false impression that all the venomous criticisms directed toward them are honorably presented in the interests of fairness and, of course, a better society, instead of being simply an unending continuation and extension of the Graetz legacy.

(2) Trivializing or marginalizing works well as a silencing tactic. This tactic suggests that the speaker is speaking about unimportant or peripheral matters that do not matter in our society. It is a frequently used tactic of gatekeepers. This can include an allegation that the speaker is isolated and without allies or supporters, a loner in his or her views.

(3) Misrepresentation is an extremely effective tactic to silence people. It is used extensively by gatekeepers in the newsroom and on the Internet simply by restating the speaker's position incorrectly.

(4) Intimidating or threatening is another effective tactic that can be observed in use by the gatekeepers in the newsroom and on the Internet. In fact, the fear of intimidation or threats can silence would-be speakers before they even write a letter or make a speech.

(5) A sneering and belittling response to a speaker's position is another silencing tactic that is used frequently by Internet and newsroom gatekeepers.

(6) Claiming that the speaker is disturbed or ill, either emotionally or mentally, by characterizing him or her as obsessed or as a crank are usually highly effective silencing tactics. To defend oneself against such a charge almost always results in some excitement or emotion that can then be turned to support the gatekeeper's charge.

(7) Questioning the speaker's motives is an effective silencing tactic. It changes the issue in the discourse, and it puts the speaker on the defensive with little recourse. Like all silencing tactics, it avoids dealing directly with whatever allegations were being made by the speaker before his or her motives became the issue.

(8) Gatekeepers frequently label the speaker as strident or shrill, or as somehow engaging in violations of etiquette. European Americans have a weakness for this silencing tactic because they were often brought up to have good manners and to behave in a civil manner. When the accusation of bad manners is made by a gatekeeper, it frequently drives European Americans out of the discourse, and thus silences them.

(9) False linkages are also an easy silencing technique. If the defamers can link an innocent person with an unpopular person or idea, it frightens European Americans away from the innocent person because they don't want public identification with anyone linked with the unpopular person or idea. The defamers are so confident that they even use the term "linked" with confidence that listeners will not observe the "switch and bait" that operates to smear and and silence innocent people.