All In Our Heads | The Unraveling Podcast with Jocko Willink and Darryl Cooper

Key Takeaways

  • “We as human beings have trouble assembling good information.” – Jocko Willink
    • If the sources are bad or are trying to intentionally manipulate information, it only gets more complicated
  • Nowadays, different media channels cover the same story differently
    • For liberal democracy to function, there needs to be a competent open press with some level of objectivity
    • It’s almost a contradiction to have a liberal democracy without functioning freedom of the press
  • The internet, instead of becoming a medium to counter mainstream media narratives has become a place controlled by those also controlling the mainstream media
  • The 24-hour news cycle and the advent of cable television created an environment with less time to process information and confirm sources
  • Big social media corporations sell their ability to influence your thinking and behavior. That’s their business model
  • Jocko thinks people don’t yet realize the full extent of how they are being controlled

Key Books Mentioned

  • Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann
    • “The real environment is altogether too big, too complex, and too fleeting for direct acquaintance” – Walter Lippmann
    • In the book, Lippmann describes our inability to interpret the world and how we construct biased and subjective “pseudo-environments” (this is basically social constructionism in sociology)

Intro

  • “We are talking about what we think, how we think.” Jocko Willink
    • What do you allow inside your head to understand what is happening around the world?
  • Jocko Willink and Daryl Cooper break down how mainstream media narratives influence our thinking, what changed with the advent of cable television, and why functioning freedom of the press is an absolute necessity for liberal democracy
  • Hosts – Jocko Willink and Darryl Cooper

We Got Fed Some Bad Intel

  • Sometimes we get bad intel because the source is lacking or because it has been manipulated
    • Humans create their own stories, we fill the gaps in our stories because we want to understand the world
    • “We make context to understand what is happening around us, and we add our little cognitive biases.”Jocko Willink
  • Biases play into everything we think
    • Confirmation bias – confirming what you already think
    • Anchoring bias – what you heard first is what you stick with
    • Availability bias – what you hear a often is what becomes true to you
    • Blindspot bias – thinking you are a little bit better than everyone else at staying unbiased
    • Reactive-devaluation bias – you devaluate an idea because it came from someone you don’t like
  • “We as human beings have trouble assembling good information.”Jocko Willink
    • Even when the information is sound, we sometimes mishandle and mess it up
    • And if the sources are bad or are trying to intentionally manipulate information, it only gets more complicated
    • More than eight-in-ten Americans get their information from digital devices, and about half get it on social media 
    • Emotional media – Jocko’s name for social media because it provokes us emotionally
    • There is a lot of spin/manipulation on social media platforms

“And That’s The Way It Is.”

  • Jocko grew up watching Walter Cronkite, the legendary CBS anchorman
    • He was often dubbed as “the most trusted man in America”
    • Most Americans in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s got their news from Walter Cronkite
    • Cronkite played a huge role in determining public opinion
  • It is very different than today’s multifaceted news environment
    • Nowadays, different media channels cover the same story differently
    • For liberal democracy to function, there needs to be a competent open press with some level of objectivity
    • It’s almost a contradiction to have a liberal democracy without functioning freedom of the press
  • In a democracy, you need somebody to keep the information moving forward openly because everyone is a “political actor”

The Influence of Technology on the Mass Media

  • “Public opinion is taken for granted, but the idea of public opinion wasn’t a thing until we got mass media.”Daryl Cooper
  • Different technologies bring about radical changes in the medium
    • They influence the type of content that’s released and how people experience it
    • Making the switch from broadcast to cable to the internet
    • For each iteration, people were bombarded with more information
  • Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann
    • There is so much information about the world that no one is going to understand it on a basic level
    • Narratives are how we chunk information and simplify it so people can understand
    • Therefore, we need to make sure that the people who prepare this information are well-intentioned
  • The internet, instead of becoming a medium to counter mainstream media narratives has become a place controlled by those also controlling the mainstream media

The Pressure to Have an Answer 

  • The 24-hour news cycle and the advent of cable television created a different kind of environment for news broadcasting
    • There is less time to process information, build a narrative, and confirm sources
    • Answers were demanded for everything that happened all the time
    • “Make something up, make a call, interpret it now.” – Jocko Willink
    • If you say “I don’t know”, or you don’t have an answer then that becomes the story
  • People became addicted to 24-hour news and information
    • Social media platforms only amplify this because we get updates from everyone, all the time

Hunter’s Laptop

  • Hunter Biden’s laptop controversy
    • They suspended the White House press secretary for sharing the link to the story
    • The link to the story could not be shared in direct messages
  • Daryl believes the Hunter Biden controversy was enough to make people think that the election was not legitimate
    • “How is it a free election if 80% of the people get their news via digital sources and those are completely censored in a story that is obvious political censorship?”Darryl Cooper
    • Daryl wonders (cynically) if would they would censor The New York Times for writing a piece about Donald Trump Jr.’s laptop
    • He is sure that if this got out, it would’ve changed the course of the election
  • This is what big social media corporations do, they sell their ability to influence your thinking and behavior. That’s their business model
    • Big corporations like Facebook are extremely sophisticated at manipulating our behavior and how we think

Is There a Way Out of the Mess?

  • We have to stop falling into the trap of allowing ourselves to be hyper judgmental and hyper-emotional over political tweets
    • Feel free to disagree with an opinion but don’t feed on it in an antagonistic way that will make a chain reaction
  • Jocko and Darryl want to be the alternative information source that gives a little bit more reasonable information about what is happening
  • Americans don’t like to be controlled
    • Jocko thinks people don’t yet realize the full extent of how they are being controlled
    • Americans have a level of corporate trust but when they find out they are getting screwed, they will not like it
    • Jocko thinks it will get to a point where they make a stand of not taking it anymore (perhaps abandon social media platforms)

The Unraveling Podcast with Jocko Willink and Darryl Cooper : , , , ,
Notes By Dario

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