Trust your cognitive dissonance. Try to be aware you’re being manipulated or at least someone may be trying.
— Sharyl Attkisson to America
Sharyl Attkisson has always been a respected and well-regarded journalist, and her recent work is only building her reputation. After spending years holding Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama accountable to the American people, Attkisson left CBS to strike out on her own. Even though she faced tremendous pressure from the Obama administration (and may have even been spied on by the administration), Attkisson persevered.
Now she’s one of the leading voices teaching the American people about what is really going on behind closed doors at the mainstream media outlets.
Attkisson recently appeared on Fox News with Shannon Bream to explain how the modern news media works and to implore Americans everywhere to be wary of what they hear on the news. Bream calls the sense of skepticism that you get when hearing a story, your “cognitive dissonance,” and she wants Americans to trust their gut more. If you hear a story that seems unlikely, it may well be.
“In general the journalists who have decided to take a stand against this president and announced in some instances that they’re suspending the normal rules and procedures of journalism because they think this president is such a threat and in many instances they really believe that. They are committed in some cases partisans, but just committed people who think they’re doing the right thing. So I think you’re going to get that sort of feeling from them. Also, they are also being cheered on by the people around them almost like a feeding frenzy with sharks. The people surrounding them are patting themselves on the back and saying, ‘good jobs.’
If you listen to the players I interviewed in this book that operate in the smear universe they themselves will tell you — this is kind of scary when you think about it — virtually very image you run across whether it is in the news or social media or elsewhere and even the comedy shows, it’s being put there, they say, for a purpose by somebody who wants you to think something that may not necessarily be a consensus at all or may not even be true. And there are well-funded actors that use fake accounts on social media or powers of persuasion and a ton of money to try to manipulate what you think. So when you see the common narratives circulating on news outlet after news outlet and social media that everybody thinks this or that and you’re thinking, ‘Really, because I don’t think that.’ Trust your cognitive dissonance. Try to be aware you’re being manipulated or at least someone may be trying.”