Card Stacking

Card stacking is a propaganda technique that seeks to manipulate audience perception of an issue by emphasizing one side and repressing another. Such emphasis may be achieved through media bias or the use of one-sided testimonials, or by simply censoring the voices of critics. The technique is commonly used in persuasive speeches by political candidates to discredit their opponents and to make themselves seem more worthy.

The term originates from the magician's gimmick of "stacking the deck", which involves presenting a deck of cards that appears to have been randomly shuffled but which is, in fact, 'stacked' in a specific order. The magician knows the order and is able to control the outcome of the trick. In poker, a deck can be stacked so that certain hands are dealt to certain players.

The phenomenon can be applied to any subject and has wide applications. Whenever a broad spectrum of information exists, appearances can be rigged by highlighting some facts and ignoring others. Card stacking can be a tool of advocacy groups or of those groups with specific agendas. For example, an enlistment poster might focus upon an impressive picture, with words such as "travel" and "adventure", while placing the words, "enlist for two to four years" at the bottom in a smaller and less noticeable point size.

Famous quotes containing the words stacking and/or card:

    The Universal Soul, as it is called, has an interest in the stacking of hay, the foddering of cattle, and the draining of peat-meadows.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    What is the disease which manifests itself in an inability to leave a party—any party at all—until it is all over and the lights are being put out?... I suppose that part of this mania for staying is due to a fear that, if I go, something good will happen and I’ll miss it. Somebody might do card tricks, or shoot somebody else.
    Robert Benchley (1889–1945)