Sunday, April 02, 2006

Psychological projection as propaganda: another example by the media

Now that I've written about the use of projection as a propaganda tool, I'm trying to bookmark any good examples I stumble across.

Here's a good one found by Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher, who points out the hypocrisy of Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. It's not just hypocrisy; what Mitchell points out is a nice example of this type of projection:
it is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one "projects" one's own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings—basically parts of oneself—onto someone else (usually another person, but psychological projection onto animals and inanimate objects also occurs). The principle of projection is well-established in psychology.
As I've written earlier, I think that in politics, this is a deliberate act, to point the attention away from self, one more manifestation of the big lie (as pointed out by Shaula and eRobin in the comments).

In this case, Mitchell wants to know why Cohen finds it so easy to declare how wrong the current Administration was about the whole Iraq war when once upon a time, Cohen parroted the talking points of the current Administration about going into war. Mitchell believes an apology or acknowledgement would be appropriate.

One more thing: Cohen not only uses projection here but he's also flipflopping. Let's hope Cohen was not one of the many who accused Kerry of flipflopping. Of course, if that were true (I did a quick Google but nothing), it would be another post and another example of projection.