Millions of working Americans talk, act, and vote as if their economic interests match those of the megawealthy, the multinational corporations, and the politicians who do their bidding. How did this happen? According to Air America radio host Thom Hartmann, the apologists of the Right have become masters of the subtle and largely subconscious aspects of political communication. It’s not an escalation in Iraq, it’s a surge; it’s not the inheritance tax, it’s the death tax; it’s not drilling for oil, it’s exploring for energy.
Conservatives didn’t intuit the path to persuasive messaging—they learned these techniques. There is no reason why progressives can’t learn them too. In Cracking the Code, Hartmann shows you how. Drawing on his background as a psychotherapist and advertising executive as well as a national radio host, he breaks down the science and technology of effective communication so you can apply it to your own efforts to counter right-wing disinformation. It’s both an art and a science—as Hartmann explains, political persuasion is as much about biology as ideology, about knowing how the brain processes information and how that influences the way people perceive messages, make decisions, and form a worldview.
Throughout the book, Hartmann shows you precisely how to master this technology, providing examples dating back to the time of the Founding Fathers. As you read deeply in this book, you’ll see things you hadn’t realized were there—in everything from advertising to political rants—and discover abilities you didn’t know you had. Whether you’re a politician, an activist, a volunteer, or a concerned citizen, you’ll develop a strong sense for how to reach into that part of the collective human psyche where we truly do have the power to create a new world.
About the Author
Thom Hartmann is the host of a nationally syndicated Air America radio program. A four-time Project Censored award winner, he is the bestselling author of more than nineteen books, including Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, and Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights.
“No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts,
but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear.”
—Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen
“Thom Hartmann’s book is an excellent primer in communication techniques. But unlike other message makers, Hartmann has genuine substance. He is restoring the radical populist tradition to the mainstream of our culture. Much of what we revere as Americans, Hartmann believes, was created by radicals who simply were ahead of their time.”
— Tom Hayden
"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
—Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall
“In Cracking the Code, Thom Hartmann, America’s most popular, informed, and articulate progressive talk show host and political analyst, tells us what makes humans vulnerable to unscrupulous propagandists and what we can do about it. It is essential reading for all Americans who are fed up with right-wing extremists manipulating our minds and politics to promote agendas contrary to our core values and interests.”
—David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community and When Corporations Rule the World and board chair of YES! magazine