Synonyms:
Firehosing

Definition of Firehose of Falsehood

A firehose of falsehood, or firehosing, refers to a well-established propaganda technique, in which the public is bombarded with more lies or controversies than they can possibly digest.

Typically, a large number of false and contradictory messages are pushed out rapidly, repetitively, and continuously over multiple channels (the firehose of falsehoods). State-controlled media are useful for this purpose, but if the entertainment or shock value is high enough, even legitimate news channels can no longer ignore it.

Overwhelmed…? It may have been on purpose.

The term is closely related to gaslighting, information overload, and information warfare.

REPORT

The Russian “Firehose of Falsehood” Propaganda Model
Why It Might Work and Options to Counter It

The American RAND Corporation attributes this technique to Russia, that has reportedly successfully used it during its annexation of Crimea. The model has been adopted by other governments and political movements around the world, among which in the United States.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.

How to spot firehosing

  • High-volume and multichannel
  • Rapid, continuous, and repetitive
  • Lacks commitment to objective reality
  • Lacks commitment to consistency.

KEY CONCERN

The aim is to entertain, confuse, and overwhelm people to the extent that they no longer have time to digest the situation.

It distracts from independent thinking and sows confusion. People feel insecure.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

If a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes an article of belief, a dogma, and men will die for it.

(This quote is often attributed to Lenin, Hitler and Goebels, but predated all of them – it is an old truth…).