Monday, January 16, 2017

Slanted News

The print edition of Sunday Jan 15 Detroit Free Press carried an Associated Press article by Steve Peoples titled "Trump unleashes Twitter attack against civil rights legend." It's true that Rep John Lewis D-Georgia is a famous champion for civil rights going back to the march in Selma where he suffered a fractured skull.

I also agree with the article that "...no one is untouchable for scorn from a president-elect with little tolerance for public criticism." Yes Mr Trump does seem to be rather thin skinned as was also evidenced in the debates.

I'm not disputing any of this. But this article is a good lesson on how a news article can be slanted to present a certain image to the public.. If you just read the headline above you could easily think Mr Trump started it. The opposite is true. It was Mr Lewis who said he didn't think Mr Trump was a "legitimate president." Mr Trump was responding to that.

We have to defend ourselves from the techniques used to sway us to a certain mindset. Failing to say explicitly who started a dispute is one way as mentioned above.

Another is the use of adjectives and adverbs. Look at the word 'unleashed' above.  It means something-an attack perhaps-already exists but is on a leash. Then Trump unleashes it on a civil rights hero. Mr Peoples could have used words like 'Trump responded' or "Trump answered' which are action words but do not indicate violence--to which most people attach negative feelings--which the violence of 'unleashed' does. Achieving negative feelings does seem to be the goal here.

One more. This involves obfuscation.
                       "U.S. intelligence agencies have said that Russia, in a campaign ordered by President Vladimir Putin, meddled in the election to help Trump win."

So this is about meddling in the election but which is followed by this sentence:
                       "After spending weeks challenging that assessment, Trump finally accepted that the Russians were behind the election-year hacking of Democrats."

See the switch in meaning here? Russian meddling in the election, for which there is no evidence, is combined with "...Russians were behind the election-year hacking of the Democrats." It is true that the Russians and the Chinese et al have hacked the Democrat's computers. The Democrats have not been very concerned with cyber security as Hillary's private server fiasco has revealed. But the Democratic National Committee's computers were not used in the election.

It was not at all necessary for the reporter to use the phrase election-year. Everybody knows this is about the election. So the packaging of the words 'Russian', 'election', 'hacking' and 'Democrats' was designed to equate those concepts in the mind of the reader so he will be nudged to conclude that Russians hacked the election.

In closing let me say we must keep an eye on adjectives, verbs and attempts to obfuscate ideas instead of identifying them precisely.

P.s. I could not find a link in the Freep's online edition.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What? No Santa?

 "Self-described progressives like Meryl Streep don’t care about freedom of speech. It’s only some journalists they wish to protect — their kind of journalists at CNN, ABC, HuffPost and MSNBC. The ones who only support their narrative of endless big government and socialistic do-goodism through government coercion" This quote is from Michael J Hurd's post here about how celeb's can't handle being talked back to.

Meryl Streep is just the tip of the disillusioned Hollywood iceberg. Most of Hollywood can't figure out why their cognitive caretakers in the MSM could not tuck them into bed that election night with something like "There, there now. It's going to be alright. This is just an aberration. It will pass." It didn't happen because their mental nannies in the media were having their own nightmare - Trump winning. Here is an observation I jotted down in November:

"Watching the election returns November 8th 2016, I went back and forth between Fox News and CNN. Both channels interviewed panels of expert political pundits whose job was to tell us what to think of those results. But instead of enlightening us they projected a bare naked, full screen display of just how detached they are from reality and the general public.

They used words like "shocked" and "stunned" and "amazed" and other such descriptors. "What's going on here?" and "How can this be?" were voiced often. Megyn Kelly used "unbelievable" several times. It was as if some children were just told there is no Santa.

It was glaringly obvious that these talking heads were frustrated at a reality that was not conforming to their preconceived--or should I say indoctrinated--notions of how the world should work and were at a loss to explain why. These pundits' frustrations projected a well earned image. It was as if they all shouted in unison "Can it be the public isn't listening to us any more?" And I smiled."
The 'do-goodism' of which Dr Hurd speaks is what I call government enforced altruism, the desire to achieve good through the initiation of force. There is nothing wrong with voluntary charity. But government enforced charity is neither moral nor charity. It is loot.

We see the Democratic Party and the media  having breakdowns because their world view has been rejected by voters. But who created that false world view for them? Our university departments of philosophy and their notions of post-modernism, pragmatism, egalitarianism and others.

The only solution is to get government out of education by starting with the federal Dept of Ed. This will start the process of decentralization which should continue within the states down to the local level where it belongs. Trump said he would do that. We have to hold his feet to that fire.





Sunday, January 01, 2017

The same ole New Year on the Left

It's New Years day and the leftist Detroit Free Press is at it again. The Freep's chief political cartoonist Mike Thompson presents his Auld Lang Syne year in review with a collection of past cartoons. One of them shows a family of four in a sedan with dad driving, mom next to him and what seems to be a daughter and son in the back seat and a small dog sticking his head out the window all of whom are smiling except the dog. This I presume is supposed to represent the traditional American family.

But in front of that car we see eight adults and two children standing in line just below a sign saying "Flint Bottled Water Distribution" with an arrow pointing the way. None of these people are smiling. In the upper right hand corner are the words written in cursive: "There's no way like the American way."

These two images together are conveying the notion that the American way is to go from having Happiness-the smiling faces, and having independence-driving the family car, to unhappiness-no smiling faces-and dependence, standing in line for emergency charity. So the American way is to go from happiness to unhappiness.

There is a lot of truth to this cartoon though I don't think its the truth Mr Thompson wants his readers to glean. The truth is that the traditional American family existed in an era of more political freedom, that is to say less government control and more self reliance.

But since the sixties that 'American way' has been reversed. Today we are constantly advised by the chattering class that it is wise, nay even morally ideal, to place all our economic needs--not just political ones--in the hands of government controllers. And I say it is the government control of the water supply that is responsible for the disaster in Flint.

On that note I just want to point to all that clean water being trucked into Flint. Why is it clean? Because it is produced by big, huge, giant corporations in business to make profits. They have the economies of scale that allow them to bring massive amounts of water, that small mom and pop businesses could not match, to those who need it.  They can't afford to poison their customers even accidentally. They would lose too much money. Government doesn't face that prospect.

So, the lesson to be drawn from Mr Thompson's cartoon is that the modern American way of trusting government to provide for our economic needs is unwise, nay even morally wrong. Thus the resolution we should all make for 2017 is to work hard to remove government from our economic needs and urge Mike Thompson and the Detroit Free Press to join us in that endeavor.