Are the Fake News Awards Persuasive? by Scott Adams

Scott Adams believes President Trump’s fake news awards were a persuasive masterpiece. From Adams at

By now you know President Trump announced his winners for the Fake News Awards. You can see them here. Let’s talk about what he got right in terms of persuasion.

The very idea of a Fake News Award is unusual and provocative. That guarantees attention. Getting attention is step one in any persuasion play. Nearly everyone who cares about American politics is aware of the story. I’m no historian, but I doubt any prior president has combined theater and politics so ambitiously and so effectively. President Trump is intentionally and deftly “bringing the show” on this topic and lots of others. If you don’t understand persuasion, you might think he is just being crazy or narcissistic or authoritarian or some other misdiagnosis. But if you know that attention and memory are the primary levers of persuasion, and you see how often he commands both, you might recognize that you are seeing something special here in terms of a talent stack. (A talent stack is a combination of skills that are designed to work well together, such as the collective sub-talents for persuasion, theater, and politics.)

President Trump didn’t need to announce the Fake News Awards ahead of time. He could have simply put together the list and tweeted it any time he wanted. But he knows anticipation controls attention, and it amps up the perceived importance of whatever follows. He primed us. His supporters were salivating for the “good stuff” to come, while his detractors in the anti-Trump press probably hoped they didn’t make the top ten. (Then they did.)

Many of you wonder why he didn’t do a televised awards event. I’m sure the idea was considered. But in my view, that would have been a step too far. The Fake News Awards are, by design, supposed to be humorous without being funny. By that I mean the situation itself is funny. And that’s the perfect “light touch” for a Modern Presidential event. If it had been a televised event with some glitz, you would have wondered if that was a good use of your tax dollars.

To continue reading: Are the Fake News Awards Persuasive?


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