The Repetitions of 2009


It's an old saying in marketing: "If you repeat something often enough, people will believe it." Apparently, some researchers agree:

Another route to understanding how beliefs form is to look at how they can be manipulated. In her book on the history of brainwashing, Taylor describes how everyone from the Chinese thought reform camps of the last century to religious cults have used systematic methods to persuade people to change their ideas, sometimes radically.

The first step is to isolate a person and control what information they receive. Their former beliefs need to be challenged by creating uncertainty. New messages need to be repeated endlessly. And the whole thing needs to be done in a pressured, emotional environment.

Let's review some of the headlines about Gopher football in 2009:

9/16/09 - Whatever love that existed between Gophers coach Tim Brewster and KFAN is now apparently no longer - The Star Tribune

10/2/09 - U censures Brewster for violations - The Star Tribune...This one deserves a quote:

Brewster, who was in his first fall as Gophers coach, responded to text messages sent to him between Aug. 29, 2007, and Nov. 30, 2007.

One was to respond to a text message wishing him luck in an upcoming contest, another to respond when a prospective student-athlete sent a text message saying he would be attending another school.

11/8/09 - Suspended Judgment - MNDaily.com

11/09 - Does Brewster know something we don't? - KARE11.com:

University of Minnesota Head Football coach Tim Brewster has put his house up for sale.

11/19/09 - Players aren't sucked into Brewster spin - The Star Tribune

11/22/09 - Jim Souhan: Blame for offense's collapse falls squarely on Brewster's shoulders - The Star Tribune

11/23/09 - Souhan: Brewster and Childress have gone in opposite directions since start - The Star Tribune

12/9/09 - Maturi won't stop Brewster if he wants to seek another job - The Star Tribune

12/17/09 - D-Day for Maturi on Brewster's Fate - The Star Tribune

12/28/09 - Bob Sansevere: Gophers AD Joel Maturi screws up Tim Brewster extension - The Pioneer Press

These headlines scratch the surface of the negative press that the football program endured last season. Many of the stories were either blown completely out of proportion or anticipated conclusions that didn't happen. For example: 1) Brewster never sold his house in order to take another job, 2) Brewster never left for Kansas, 3) Players having a scuffle on the street, while ill-advised, is not quite the same as (still unproven) rape allegations, 4) Texting players may be against the rules, but poorly-timed secondary texting offenses really aren't headline newsworthy. I just thought you'd enjoy the 2009 media season in Cliff Notes.

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