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Caroline Orr @RVAwonk
, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
With a lot of attention focused on fact-checking ahead of the #TrumpAddress tonight, it's important to keep a few things in mind regarding the effectiveness of fact-checking when faced with the volume & style of lies that Trump tells. 1/
I'll start by saying that fact-checking is better than no fact-checking. But even the best, most thorough and timely fact-checking won't come close to undoing the damage of letting Trump interrupt regular evening programming to spread propaganda from the Oval Office. 2/
First of all, Trump's words are only part of the performance he's putting on. When the president interrupts regular programming to deliver a special speech about an "emergency" and a "crisis" at the border, that sends a message and fosters a sense of importance and urgency. 3/
A speech like this is not something that happens very often, and when it does, it is usually reserved for *actual* emergencies. Trump knows this. He is using the performative element of the address to tap into people's emotions (esp. fear). You can't fact-check emotions. 4/
Emotions resonate more strongly than facts. And emotions guide our decision-making far more than most of us would like to acknowledge.

Fear is a very potent emotion, and it will influence how people receive Trump's speech AND how they receive attempts to fact-check it. 5/
Our brains are not equipped to deal with lies when they come at us repeatedly in such a high volume. Repeated exposure to a claim, regardless of whether or not it's true, increases its acceptance as true b/c repetition leads to familiarity, and familiarity leads to acceptance. 6/
Trump's lies are propaganda. It's not about persuasion. It's about power -- the power to get all major news networks to disrupt regular programming for him; the power to reach millions of Americans to fearmonger about a manufactured crisis; the power to redefine reality. 7/
<pausing for the address>
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