Anti Patterns on one page

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Focus on Deficiencies

Unemployment is a commonly looked at societal deficiency.


This pattern suggests that the way to look at a community (or other things presumably) is to focus on its deficiencies; what's broken or dysfunctional. Thus, one can "diagnose" a community for its "diseases" such as crime, drug use, broken families, or "loose morals."

How it works

This pattern reinforces the idea that the particular thing being looked at is bad fundamentally. This has the effect of making people in the community feel that they're worthless and are incapable of doing anything positive. It also can justify the need for "professionals" to come in from outside and clean up everything. The pattern also helps disregard the things that are good about the community and represent potential "local" solutions. If these assets are ignored, then it's very easy to simply not think about supporting them.



Profit-motivated Health Care, Social Darwinism, Criminalizing Poverty, Sustaining World Hunger,


Hidden Agendas

The reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States (1776). Traslates to "New Order of the Ages" or "New World Order." Some claim this shows a hidden agenda to create such a world order.


Society expects its leaders to keep their agendas transparent and in line with the agenda of the groups and people that they represent, however, this is rarely the case. Those in power often have agendas of their own that aren’t in line with the public’s limited expectations of them, and for this reason they may choose to keep these agendas hidden. Of all the patterns this one may be the most pervasive and potentially destructive.

How it Works

Hidden agendas work by keeping certain information secret and misrepresenting the true motives behind an action. It can sometimes use the ability to distort history to be in line with whatever agenda is being propagated. It is very important to shut down any vocal opposition or questions about the possible reality of the hidden agenda, if such an opposition arises. It often relies on the societal apathy of the people who may be affected by this hidden agenda and their ability to be distracted by other things that may demand their attention.

If the hidden agenda gets out, it can disenfranchise citizens and fuels their disrespect and distrust for those in charge. Once trust is broken, the people may begin to look for more evidence of lies and distrust can snowball. Hidden agendas cannot represent the people’s best interest if they have no say (as they've been kept in the dark) and overtime can lead to civil disobedience and social unrest.


An example could be the motives of the 2002 US/Iraq war It was said that this war was a war on terror as officials in the US government implicated Saddam Hussein being involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11th, or 2001. These implications were questioned by skeptics and have been denounced by various groups and multiple official investigations into them, including the US select senate committee on Intelligence.[1] Top officials from both sides of the aisle later came out and indicated that the war was for the protection of oil assets, not the spread of democracy and freedom.[2]


Semantic Manipulation, Distorting History, Corruption and Fraud, Opacity, Societal Apathy, Weapons of Mass Distraction, Advertising-Funded Media


  1. Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, "Bush Overstated Iraq Evidence, Senators Report," New York Times (6 June 2008).
  2. , retrieved Feb 2nd, 2014

Media Monopolies

Chart showing media concentration ownership

Description of the pattern

Media outlets that are controlled by a small number of corporations often broadcast propaganda that aligns with the interests of those corporations. Information that challenges or opposes those interests is rarely given through mainstream media sources.

How It Works

A large company, or corporation, such as News Corp or Walt Disney Company, buys many shares of a media source (i.e. news, radio, newspaper, billboards. etc.) so that they effectively own that source. The information broadcasted is then under the corporations discretion. Now when there is an event that may jeopardize the interests of the company the news source controlled by them is forbidden from reporting on the event. The control and censorship of media is rendered more effective through media cartels; whereby different corporations that own media sources agree to support one another through the content and right-wing slant of the news they control.

If media is controlled by corporations, pro-business perspectives can dominate. This will also inhibit marginalized groups from spreading their messages. When we allow these media sources to frame the way we view current issues then the way we respond to those issues is informed and manipulated by corporate interests. Media monopolies try to ensure that the public thinks a certain way, and that they are overwhelmed by a sense of superficiality and fear (see Fear Mongering pattern).


See chart above. The New Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian

Linked Patterns

Dumbing Down Monopoly Silenced Voices Weapons of Mass Distraction