Sunday, October 7, 2012

Propoganda 101: A willing Press

Hey, guys. Sorry about the lapse in posts. Life happens. I may take a week off once in a while, though, just to maintain my sanity. I'm sure you understand.

Anyway, in this election season, it's especially important to see how our press, including newspapers, television, radio and electronic press, really operate.

It has been said that a journalists' job is to chronicle the events of our time. In recent years, however, the [press has taken the role of a crusader more than a chronicler. When Chris Matthews gushed about having a thrill rush up his leg whenever anyone mentioned Barak Obama's name, it signaled the death of objective journalism in the United States.

But really, when you're already aware that you're not going to get the whole truth by FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, or anyone in particular (Don't even pretend to keep a straight face while you tell me how impartial NPR is), how do you know what IS the truth?

It's usually in what they DIDN'T say, more than what they did say.

Back in the '90's, the LA Times Book of Style banned the phrase "Pro-life." Here's why. The prefix terms "pro" and "Anti" have their own connotations. If someone is "Pro" anything, that puts their issue in a positive light right off the bat. If someone is "anti," they automatically attract a negative connotation.

So we don't have "Pro-choice" or "Pro-life" factions. Look at your newspaper, listen to the talking heads. You only get "Pro-choice" and "Anti-aborton" or "Anti-choice." That tells you right there what side of the issue they stand on. Journalism isn't supposed to be slanted. Somehow, our press is.

One of the all-time classic tactics is the smear campaign. Look what happens whenever someone mentions the name of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Wow, I saw that flinch you just made. Seriously. Joe McCarthy was a senator in the '50's who suggested that there were soviet agents in positions of power in the United States. Now, you're going to think of witch hunts and blackballed actors, and all kinds of horror stories about people going to jail or getting ruined because of Joe McCarthy. But think about this: Joseph McCarthey was a SENATOR. The House UnAmerican Activities Commission was supposedly his little gang of thugs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but according to our constitution, a senator would have nothing to do with a House Committee. That should stink to someone. But the press assassinated his character so thoroughly, his name is a byword even sixty years later. And a Soviet document captured years later named names of Soviet agents who were in positions high in our government. What was done with them? Mostly nothing. But that's another issue.

Here's something else to think about. Last week we were talking about polls. Look at this link (okay, don't just look at it. Click on the darned thing!)

What they are not telling you are what questions they asked the pollees or how the results were tabulated. Now, it's Zogby poll, which is supposed to be an indication of the integrity of the company. But the way it works is the company asks the questions they are hired to ask. It doesn't guarantee the pool will be impartial. It just guarantees the raw numbers will be accurate wiuthin a certain percentage.

Here's another one:

According to this, Hispanic people will be put through extreme hardship if the have to prove they're US citizens at voting polls. It may even make them not want to vote.

Excuse me? That's like putting up a headline that says, "World Ends Tomorrow: Women And Minorities Hardest Hit!" Why should any race be treated differently at the voting booth, unless there is a desire to allow non-citizens to vote? If the issue is money for a state ID or driver's license, then why doesn't the article mention poor white people as well? We see what they are saying. What aren't these people saying? Is what they are really saying, buried in what they aren't saying?

Back to advertising, the most blatant propaganda: There are ten words considered to be the most influential. They are:

1. New
2. Guaranteed
3. Proven
4. Results
5. Safety
6. Save
7. You
8. Now
9. Easy
10. Free

The press have their own list of influential words. They include:
1. "Anti" Being against anything makes you the bad guy, automatically.
2. "Pro" Being for something makes you the good guy.
3. "Fringe" puts one on the outside. All someone has to do is say it. Look what they did with the Tea Party (who claim no affiliation to any party, and boast members bot Republican and Democrat, along with a strong representation of Libertarians)
4. "Disenfranchised." It's the favorable word for "fringe." It's supposed to evoke pity and sympathy.

Here's a link to look at for the tools the press loves to use to influence us:

They think they have a ring in our noses, and when they pull on that ring, we're going to go. I say, start looking at the tools they use. When you see an attempt at influence rather than reporting, are you willing to question the report? Who's going to open up their eyes and see the agenda behind that talking head?


  1. Happy to be the first to comment, Cy... You are indeed one inspired, truly wise person. Yet, to many you'll raise the red flag of protest. An attempt at influence? An agenda? WTF? Are you kidding! I only listen to "fair and balanced" reporting! But to are simply stating the obvious. And I applaud you. I know the tools. My question is where do we go to find the truth? Jodi aka Joelle

  2. It takes a lot of work to find the real truth behind what we're being fed. A balanced approach begins with looking at what both sides are saying. In matters of legislation, one can look up the bill and see what it says directly.

    The thing to be careful of is the claim made "This bill, if enacted, COULD..." whatever. Come on, folks. A ham snadwich COULD kill you under the right circumstances. COULD is one of the words I'd add to the dirty tricks pile the press draws from.

  3. This is why I despise politics. People lie on both sides, and the only agenda that seems to be genuine is fame and fortune.

    But that's another story.

    I'm keeping these words in mind while getting the details right for my fictional dystopia. Propaganda is a major part of life, and quite one-sided. Thanks for posting this!

  4. Quite welcome, Kay. I just want everyone to wake up and realize that we're being manipulated, and it's up to every one of us to listen to both sides and make our own judgements as to what is the underlying truth.