I love debunkers — the REAL ones. I am a rational skeptic and I know a dedicated and skillful debunker can save us all time and help keep us from being duped yet again in dangerous and impactful ways. The problem is finding and identifying the real ones in a murky sea of fake naysayers and hating trolls with a hidden and biased agenda that does not prioritize truth.
We are living in an unprecedented era where one person or a small team can use independent and alternative media to communicate key perspectives to millions of people worldwide — in a short amount of time. Given what we are dealing with in the way of planetary demise, this is a really good thing!
The flip side, however, is that someone with very little real expertise can undermine valuable inquiry and healthy skepticism. I met one man who said he was going to watch THRIVE, but then changed his mind when he saw that it “had been debunked.” I asked if the debunking had made sense to him. “Oh I didn’t actually read it. I just saw it had been debunked.” My immediate reaction was a punch in the gut. How often are people throwing away or discrediting years of valuable fact-checked research on the grounds of a baseless attack?
Most importantly, why is that and how do we get good at sorting out the truth?
LESSONS FROM THE TRENCHES
If you are challenging the dominant paradigm as peddled in the corporate media and your influence is expanding, debunkers will enter your life. It goes with the territory. One of our seasoned advisors, a successful whistleblower who has survived one wringer after another, told us before THRIVE came out, “You’re going to get it from all sides, and if you’re not taking flak, you’re probably not over the target yet.”
I want to offer some of what we have learned about debunkers, detractors, haters and trolls in relation to THRIVE.
- Who are they?
- Why do they do what they do?
- How can we recognize and deal with them effectively?
- And why bother?
An accurate assessment of what’s going on is critical if we want to create effective solutions. If we don’t have a true understanding of the problem, we won’t put our attention on the innovations that can best meet the challenges we face. So debunking the debunkers has a huge payoff. It helps us to sleuth out factual truth and create a safe environment from which to engage in meaningful public dialogue and transform our world into one that actually works for everyone.
HOGWASH AND HOOEY, BALONEY AND BULL
I looked it up, and “bunk” is short for “bunkum.” It’s an old word from 19th century America that means “nonsense.” Other dictionary synonyms are “baloney, rot, hogwash, applesauce, bull, and hooey.” So when a group like snopes.com spends serious time and rigor separating the fabricated hogwash and hooey from facts and realities on the Internet, it’s a valuable service. Wikipedia used to be helpful, but is now so co-opted on virtually every controversial issue, that its merit has been severely undermined for important topics that challenge major money or control interests.
THE FED AND ETs
I remember the first time I heard (from my son!) that the Federal Reserve was a private corporation and that no government agency could overrule their actions. I found it hard to believe and went on the Internet to look it up. At the time, there were very few sites addressing this issue, and many of them just discredited anyone questioning the reality or wisdom of the Fed’s printing money out of nothing. I came away not knowing what to think. Fortunately, my son kept giving me more and more evidence. The same thing happened when I first heard about the military covering up their involvement with UFOs. The notion seemed far-fetched to me when I first heard about it, and by the time I made it through the first debunking sites, I would have been pretty skeptical that there was any real issue to discover there were it not for the dedication of a few individuals to wake me up.
Fast forward to 2014, where we now have over 36 million sites addressing the issue of the Federal Reserve, many of which are intelligent analyses and critiques of a corrupt system of counterfeit finance that has left the country and an alarming percentage of its citizens in debt slavery. It’s an acknowledged fact that Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (known as the BRICS countries) have now formed their own bank to bypass the stranglehold of the Federal Reserve and the World Bank, and people from all walks of life acknowledge the corruption of the system and the need to get out from under it.
As for UFOs and the military, while debunking sites abound, there are enough credible documents and confessions from high-level government, military and FAA insiders to inspire any sincere researcher to look further, and to recognize that the subject warrants serious inquiry and public dialogue.
What happened? What did it take to overcome a disinformation campaign and legitimize once-denied information and insight? My guess is that it took persistence, and a lot of people with a strong enough desire to get to the truth that simple mudslinging and cheap dismissals weren’t enough to squelch their questioning…despite the discomfort.
CHALLENGING THE SYSTEM
By the time we made THRIVE, Kimberly and I had both experienced the discomfort of asking socially-taboo questions and looking into controversial topics enough to recognize the power of disinformation campaigns. We suspected we would be the target of some likely disinformation and reputation-bashing when we released THRIVE. And of course, that turned out to be true.
THRIVE covers at least 14 topics that stretch the status quo. For most people, there is at least one theme that’s challenging to consider. But in the nearly three years since its release, there is not a single fact in THRIVE that has been disproven. And yet the debunking of our film was rampant in its early days.
Now, virtually everything and everyone who is effectively challenging the banking elite’s agenda for global control will have sites or trolls actively debunking them and their message.
WHO ARE THE DEBUNKERS?
First, let me say again that there are skillful truth-seeking “debunking” sites whose priority seems to be accuracy and they seem to get it right almost all the time. And then there are hired hands who work for the government, for corporations, the intelligence agencies, the military and political parties. I have been assured of this by people formerly on the inside and here is a video clip that documents and verifies some of this.
These cyber mercenaries are called “trolls” perhaps because their behavior resembles the mythical mini-beasts who live under bridges and hassle innocent passers-by.
Ogre Under the Bridge by Vegas Mike
WHAT ARE SOME OF THEIR STRATEGIES?
When working for these types of groups, their job is to find anything that might undermine the credibility and propaganda of their institutions and then attack the content — with either:
- Outright lies
- Trying to smear the credibility of the truth-teller
- If none of that is effective, the next tactic is to make it unpleasant and unsafe for anyone to make positive comments, effectively
- Scaring enthusiasts away from the site or thread altogether
HOW CAN WE IDENTIFY THEM?
1. Vicious attacks against the person who is providing the information rather than the facts themselves.
2. Name-calling and mud-slinging with no evidence.
3. Malicious disregard for the value of public debate and discussion, as if to question or bring up an alternative view is to be shunned.
4. No proposed solutions to the problem being discussed.
5. Lack of facts or rational logic to support their argument.
Some real examples from our experience:
Notice the one eye in the THRIVE poster? It’s proof that Gamble is an Illuminati corporate shill!
Oh No! Not the Elite Minority! UFO's, Free energy, NWO, Crop Circles, Chariots of the gods. This Documentary has all the BS rolled into one. All it needs is antivaxers and 9/11 truthers to be complete
Anybody buying this pile of crap is too stupid to deserve to exist. Eat s—t and die!
And this from our cannabis healing blog from last week, that had over 100,000 views in the first 24 hours:
Thrive = Procter and gamble = elite = fluoridation = deceipt. sic
6. Attacking someone for their references, with a guilt by association campaign.
This came up a lot for us. THRIVE was never intended to be a political movie, so we had no concern for the political affiliation or lack thereof of any of the people we interviewed. Debunkers on the Left would say:
“Did you know they interviewed Ed Griffin and he was a John Bircher?”
While people on the Right would say:
“Did you know they interviewed Deepak Chopra and he is a complete liberal?”
While still others would say:
“They interviewed David Icke and he talks about reptilian ETs.”
So his decades of documented research about the banking families must be useless?
What if instead we consider the fact that THRIVE transcends political party politics and offers solutions based on principles that empower people globally? Since when does a reliable resource for information and insight have to be someone with whom you agree 100%?
If we are going to create meaningful solutions, then we need to listen for truth and documented information even if it comes from someone with whom we have other differences of opinion. And why dismiss someone with a vengeance because they have a different worldview?
The vehemence is often a sign of the debunker’s lack of legitimacy. Anyone serious about engaging in true discourse and finding real solutions can figure out a way to challenge respectfully and with evidence of a legitimate alternative perspective.
Another sign of intentionally misleading debunkers is their:
7. Tendency to operate anonymously If you go to the website or Facebook page (if they have one) of these type of commenters…
- Their identity is often obviously contrived.
- They have little or no biography.
- Virtually no friends.
- Their face is obscured in pictures.
- Often their names are straight from central casting like: Muertos, CraveHell666 or Arturobastard
Seriously…these are genuine!
WHY ARE THEY SPENDING THEIR TIME THIS WAY?
In addition to those who get paid to do this, there are, of course, scads of lonely, frustrated, abused, duped, dumbed-down, medicated people who just vent their unexpressed anger through their keyboard in the middle of the night. They hide in the shadows of anonymity and vent against any target, particularly if a person or project seems to be having some of the success and influence that they have not been able to achieve.
We have noticed that the level of self-responsibility seems correlated with the level of anonymity of the one commenting — how much needs to be disclosed to have a commenting account. It’s lowest on YouTube, a little higher on Facebook, and highest of all on our own website.
HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH THEM EFFECTIVELY?
Sometimes trolls and haters are best ignored. When they don’t attract much attention or achieve their desired effect, they often give up or move on to where they might. Other times, I find they must be called out and confronted directly with facts and especially with pointed questions. Usually they leave rather than have to think, research or admit they were making stuff up.
“Muertos,” the anonymous source behind the “THRIVE — Debunked” website, fit all the above criteria for being a hired troll. The conversations on his site began to expose and accuse him of this. Rather than issue a denial, he tried to deflect their accusations by instead inviting people on his site to take a poll of how many thought he was a troll. What? After a year, he announced the demise of the Thrive Movement, even though the film was still having over a million views a month and hundreds of solution groups were forming around the world in response to the coherence the film and website provided. In truth, it was his site that he closed down within days. Of course the remnants live on in search engines to confuse those who are uninformed about the nature of these distractions.
One site posted a scathing review of THRIVE that turned out to be based only on the trailer. The author hadn’t even seen the movie. To their credit, when I addressed the irresponsibility of this act on their comment board, they watched the movie, invited me for an interview, apologized and publicly mended the breach.
Others discredited us for being one political party or another — truly it came from all sides equally because we are not politically affiliated. Others completely ignored the solution strategies that we outlined in the movie and on the website and accused us of being elitists who don’t care about people because we do not believe increasing taxes is a sustainable solution.
Some have attacked me simply because one of my ancestors started a company that provided me with some inheritance. When challenged for being from a wealthy family, I have asked would-be debunkers, “If you won the lottery and suddenly became a millionaire, what would you do with the money to better our chances of thriving?” Some genuine inquirers have engaged the question creatively.
Another popular Internet radio host, who has acknowledged that he disseminates information for the government, launched into a completely false attack on me during a panel at a large conference. I was elsewhere giving my presentation, but someone who knows me was present and confronted him with facts while pointing out his divisive tone. To his credit, when I confronted him respectfully, but firmly, he apologized. I went on his show with the agreement I could address all the falsehoods. His listeners were very supportive and the incident was healed.
The lesson I have gained is that sometimes, when we have confronted the debunkers without malice or personal attack, but with clarity, we have often been able to raise the level of interaction.
We have been especially gratified and encouraged to see our own vast and diverse network responding intelligently, knowledgeably and, in most cases, respectfully, to mitigate or drive away cruel, uninformed attacks. At this point, there are very few trolls who spend much time commenting on our movie or movement in negative ways, because the facts have spoken for themselves, our reputations and integrity have held up to extreme scrutiny and our network is discerning and protective.
We each need to seek truth and live with integrity to be ultimately unassailable.
I learned from training and teaching the non-violent martial art of Aikido and from being a conflict resolutions facilitator in Silicon Valley that when confronted by an attacker, it is possible to respond non-violently by either DISENGAGING from the energy, or — if it is persistent and won’t go away — by IMMOBILIZING it with exposure and truth.
Sometimes we must be pro-active and strategic to make sure the lie doesn’t get perceived and repeated as truth. We can turn their own aggression back on the perpetrators — nonviolently — assuring that consequence clarifies their own choice of falsehood or truth, pain or love. This way we can model what we are after, while honoring the essential and courageous work that is called for to expose the true nature of the problems we face and cultivate the discerning open-mindedness that real solutions require.
Please let us know your insights with this troll and debunking challenge and what has worked for you in dealing with it.