Dissecting word games

Gary Larson takes apart a WaPo report on the Acorn exposure and illustrates how insidious propaganda can be.

Such are the ways of today’s news media. Cast aspersions. Use labels. Slay those who do not share your beliefs. Dishonor them. Label them racists. And Walter Mondale talks about the “coarseness” of debate? In spades.

The original report contained a made-up quotation and the ‘correction’ made later was only enough to claim a correction was made. The pattern is part and parcel of the former President Clinton’s recent resurrection of the “vast right wing conspiracy.”

Bottom line: Democracy itself suffers from use of news as political weapon.

A neighbor described a local newspaper story about a woman who had to wait months for cancer treatment – in the US! The idea that this was agenda journalism did not occur to her. There are many ways to use news as a political weapon and many are not conscious tactical efforts. Rather they can be rationalizations or psychological comforting efforts on the part of the ‘journalists’ who want to see things in a certain way. Deliberate misquoting, as Larson describes, is either getting into deliberate tactical propaganda or it is a deeply irrational escape that should cause one to wonder about the sanity of the reporter.

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