Who Really Controls the Message: Bottlenecks & Amplifiers

To get everyone up to speed on how we got here, the first two boxcars on this train of thought (or non-thought, as the case may be):

Trump Controls the Message Because We Enable Him

Who Really Controls the Message?

by O Society August 5, 2019

In our last discourse, we discovered Trump generates messages literally, on Twitter, in “press conferences” held under a whirring helicopter blade on the White House lawn, in TV interviews, rallies, and so on. What is the message?

“Me.” That’s all you get.

In population genetics, we call this sort of phenomenon a bottleneck. What does this mean? In this series, we are going heavy on pictures and videos and links for people who want to dive deeper, and we’ll keep the main discussion at a level everyone can understand without knowing much of anything about genetics or anything else. Common knowledge, so to speak. So here’s a picture:


What we see is we’re talking about cheetah. The cat at the bottom of the image is a cheetah. At the top of the picture it looks as if there’s a bunch of pieces of bubblegum in a bubblegum machine, right? See, easy peasy.

What happens when you put your 25¢ in the gumball machine and turn the knob? That’s right, a gumball comes out. Yes, we know you greedy little bastards want to get all the gumballs at once, don’t you? The game doesn’t work this way. But you do have a $ dollar. So what happens when you turn the knob 4 times?


Exactly. 4 gumballs come out. This is the parable of the gumball machine. What’s this got to do with cheetah or Trump?

These 4 gumballs are alleles. Alleles are different versions of the same gene. One allel says purple, one says green, one says blue, one says grey. That’s what you get. All those other flavors – pink and yellow and red and so on – they’re gone. Lost. See ya!

This is an extinction event or at least an event which can lead to extinction. We had 25 flavors of bubblegum, 21 got lost, now we got 4 crummy flavors left. I mean, I love me some grape, so the purple’s good, but imagine what grey tastes like… yeah, cardboard flavor. YUCK!

And who’s responsible for this loss of genetic heterogeneity, this loss of alleles, this population bottleneck? That’s right. These two assholes:


Thing 1 and thing 2. No, the dead animal they are carrying around is not a cheetah, it is a leopard. It’s a parable. Gumballs. Cheetah. Assholes.

The result is inbreeding. Loss of genetic diversity. Perhaps extinction. As in no genetic diversity, everyone’s dead. Any Questions?





So now imagine this is Daddy Trump twitting and twatting on Twitter, OK? Same scenario with the gumball machine. Gumballs are not alleles any longer, they are Twitter twats and tweets and twits and twoots, got it?

Once Daddy trump gets a hold of the phone, there is no more discussing meaningful stuff – those 21 different things we could talk and tweet about instead – discussed here. All you get to talk about is Trump. Four flavors of Trump all the time every time. Got it?

George Lakoff observes the four flavors of Trump twats you get to twit about are these:


BROOKE GLADSTONE:  So here’s one you say embodies all four of these categories: preemptive framing, diversion, trial balloon, and deflection. All in one message. I will read it. It is, “Intelligence agencies should not have allowed this fake news to leak into the public, one last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”


First, preemptive framing: this is fake news.

Second, diversion: it’s gonna be discussed whether or not it’s fake news or should have been leaked, rather than the content itself.

Third, deflection: attack the messengers.

And then fourth, the trial balloon: will the intelligence agencies be stopped from doing this? Are they Nazis?

BROOKE GLADSTONE:  Obviously, you don’t think the media are handling these utterances very well. What do you suggest we do?

GEORGE LAKOFF:  The media is addicted to breaking news. So we act as if we have to repeat the tweet. That’s the breaking news!!! Wrong, because doing so allows him to manipulate you as a reporter and manipulate the truth and manipulate the reader.

BROOKE GLADSTONE:  So you’re saying don’t report what he says?

GEORGE LAKOFF:  First, you begin by telling the truth and giving the evidence for the truth, then point out what Trump says contradicts the truth, and you then talk about what kind of statement this is out of the 4 canned functions.

You know, you say, this is a case of diversion. Here’s what he is diverting our attention from, quickly. Don’t have a panel discussion about it, you know, [LAUGHS] Let’s vote on it and take callers and make a spectacle of it and our offense to it. Just do it and go on with our lives. Keep going back to substance and the truth instead of repeating bullshit.

Taxonomy of Trump Twats & Tweets & Twits & Twoots

He’s right you know… the echochamber is of our own making.

“The most basic tenet of professional physicians is the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. Its intent is clear, simple: When practicing medicine, the fundamental ethical consideration should be to not make things worse. All decisions on treatment —including whether or not to treat a patient in the first place — flow from this starting point.

Journalists, while they take no such professional oath, should be duty-bound to follow a similar principle when reporting the news: “First, do no harm to the truth.” While our internet-era news ecosystem, like modern medicine, suffers from a number of institutional inefficiencies and dubious remedies — from endless horserace poll stories, to scoops that aren’t, to mind-numbingly banal analysis — these editorial efforts should, at the very least, avoid lowering the public’s overall command of facts and reality.

But increasingly, corporate news organizations are failing to clear even this low bar, and it starts — and, just as critically, ends — at their point of first contact with their readers: social media headlines. Which in this case is repeating whatever Trump says, which leads to the illusory truth effect, which leads to readers believing his bullshit is true or real.”

‘Trump Says…’ The Journalist Malpractice of Echo-Chamber Headlines

Trump’s bottleneck controls the message by making it all about him all the time. He doesn’t hold press conferences where reporters spontaneously ask real and difficult questions with meaning or depth. What we get instead is the same smoke and mirrors show Putin pulls on his press in Russia, and we new it was coming long before Trump took office.

Yes, it is and yes, we did. A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media

Trump simply tweets about whatever he sees on Fox News.

Yes he does. “Executive Time” is what Donald Trump does Most of the Time, which means he’s Goofing around on Twitter and Watching Fox News on TV. Here’s the Proof…

“We knew Donald Trump spends much of his day live-tweeting Fox News coverage.

Now read Trump’s Executive Time-filled leaked private schedules, which documents his day is spent doing things besides being presidential. As in watching TV and tweeting about how he is portrayed on the news.”

These are the first two parts of the feedback loop in language anyone can understand: the Trump Bottleneck and the Media Amplifier, which makes the volume on his bullshit go to #11

Why would the media do such a thing? You know, amplify Trump’s bullshit so no one can get away from it? Even if you live under a bridge, there has to be graffiti down there. You can’t escape it.

CNN Had a Problem. Donald Trump Solved It.

CNN and Trump are in a Co-dependent Relationship

Why? Ask Trump. He’ll tell you the truth about this if nothing else…


Factbase suspects about 27 of these tweets were sent out by Trump’s staff, meaning most of them (including “covfefe”) were sent by Donald Trump himself.

Screen Shot 2019-01-13 at 8.08.31 AM.png



Donald Trump Rode $5 Million in Free Advertising Into the White House

Which leaves us with one tenable conclusion, namely Trump & Corporate Media Are Both Enemies of the People

Next time we’ll talk Trumpets, because they are part of this feedback loop too, of course. Can’t have a cult without the cult members – duh!

Here’s our series recap:

Trump Controls the Message Because We Enable Him

Who Really Controls the Message?





10 thoughts on “Who Really Controls the Message: Bottlenecks & Amplifiers

  1. Regarding the gumball-machine analogy, some may wonder why, as the number of gumballs is reduced (an effect we also experience in commuter traffic), certain colours of gumball make it through, while others don’t. The selection of certain colours, or alleles, is your key point, but any old gumball machine, as encountered in any mall, lets through any old colour at random. Thus your illustration or analogy needs a little work to be clearer.


  2. Maybe a better analogy is a sieve, which lets through some things but not others. One might even speak of separating wheat from chaff, but that has additional implications, since somehow we are losing the wheat and collecting the chaff. But for the moment, consider that the four varieties of deception in Trump’s tweets succeed differentially in getting through the media “filter,” whereas boring s*** like “facts” get stuck and dont’ make it out. Why is that? Is it something about the nature of the four deceptions that makes them especially fit for mass-media dissemination? But whatever this nature might be — sensationalism, appeal to the lowest common denominator, appeal to emotions that no longer want to be tamed by reason– it would seem to be separate from, and independent of, their truth value. (Or perhaps not. . .)


  3. Another question we should ask is whether the “sieve” effect is a property of Trump’s tweets, or the fault of a media which has grown too lazy to do anything but repeat poticial press lines, instead of reframing Trump’s tweets, diverting us away from their shallow content to more pertinent considerations, deflecting Trump’s criticisms and emphasizing his incompetence, or trying out whatever repackaging gets readers to take more notice and care (which four tactics, for better or worse, are I suppose what we expect as a corrective). But “lazy” might be too harsh. Good journalism requires funding, and that system is broken, for whatever reason.


  4. The system certainly is broken.

    On one hand, now everyone has a voice. Democracy. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. And so on.

    On the other hand, now journalism is reduced to gossip. Did you see what Trump said on Twitter today?!?

    “Oh, my!”

    And you have to say it in your George Takei voice.

    In otherwords, the bottleneck is your “brand” Jim O. What’s your slogan? Your WWF finishing move? Do you say “Oh, my!” like George or do you put your name in big gold letters on things, like Trump?

    Human beings are now commodities. We’re brands. Trump is all the proof you need. All Donald Trump is literally is the TRUMP name. There’s no there, there. He’s just selling himself, which is nothing. A black hole.

    So the medium we’re all supposed to be looking at – Twitter – because Donald said so is bullshit. It’s 140 characters of bullshit. And when I see a “news” article reporting on all the Twitter twats and tweets, it isn’t journalism. It’s lazy gossip, isn’t it?

    Why let’s speculate on what Trump says about “the Squad,” shall we?

    Did no one graduate high school yet, because this is what I see. I see high school flashbacks when I try to look at most things which pass for “news” and “journalism” now. The only paper left standing is USA Today because they deliver the goods, don’t they?


    Shall we talk about the cheerleaders and which ones we’d like to bang at the back of the bus next?

    How ’bout those science nerds who say the classroom’s getting too hot. Bugger them!

    Who’s the prom couple? I voted for Hillary to be queen and Donald to be king!

    ^ That’s ^ exactly what I see on social media and “the news” on TV for the most part Jim O.

    How ’bout you?


  5. I mostly avoid “social media” — Facebook, Twitter, and so on. It doesn’t have much appeal for me, because I’m not very sociable — not what you’d call a “people person.” Having worked in high-tech most of my life, I also don’t trust it. The privacy and “echo-chamber” problems it raises were immediately obvious to me. I can’t believe how long it took society to notice. And yet still all kinds of people use Facebook. I guess the downsides are too remote and abstract to influence them, weighed against the happiness they get from talking at each other about themselves all day, plus of course the techniques Facebook uses to addict them.

    Sometimes I watch the news (CBC or CTV). I don’t watch much TV otherwise; it’s not very interesting. Sometimes I’ll find a show I like: Time Team, Breaking Bad. Mostly though it’s all crap, as far as I’m concerned. Especially reality TV.

    What explains the wasteland that is modern North American life? I don’t have the answer, just some ideas, some observations. But whatever explains it also explains Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jim O ~

      I am at a Buddhist retreat at the moment so cannot speak much. The teacher here, a monk named David, would say the answer to your question is conditioned mind. It goes by other names as well but this label works as well as any. We could call it programming or algorithms, but we are not the same as machines or computers because we are alive. Human life is precious


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