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Monday, October 11, 2021

Fake News


Silverfiddle Rant!

From Gallup...

* 9% in U.S. trust mass media "a great deal" and 31% "a fair amount"
* 27% have "not very much" trust and 33% "none at all"
* The percentage with no trust at all is a record high, up five points since 2019

Complaints of "the lying news media" are common, but the purveyors of propaganda are much more subtle that that.  Most of the press does not outright lie, they instead rely upon artistic use of tone, tenor and shading to sculpt key sentences in a story for maximum propaganda value.  

Here is an excellent example:  One sentence from a CNN article designed not to convey the news that Tennessee has passed an anti-CRT bill, but rather to ridicule the conservatives who passed the bill: 
Section 51, part 6 of the Tennessee law makes lesson plans illegal if students "feel discomfort, guilt, or anguish."
That Tennessee law sounds idiotic and legally unsound, doesn't it?  

(a) An LEA or public charter school shall not include or promote the following concepts as part of a course of instruction or in a curriculum or instructional program, or allow teachers or other employees of the LEA or public charter school to use supplemental instructional materials that include or promote the following concepts:

(6) An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual's race or sex;
So, rightly stated, the law says...

Tennessee public schools are banned from teaching that "An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual’s race or sex."

See the difference?

If dragged into a court of law, CNN could defend every word of their deliberate misstatement, because it has all been vetted by their lawyers.  So, CNN is broadcasting fact-checked, legally parsed propaganda designed to inflame, outrage and ridicule.  

CNN--and most of the rest of our Infotainment Media Complex--is only a hair's breadth better than sensationalist tabloids full of Elvis sightings, Gordon Ramsey's sex dwarf, 500 pound house cats and Dick Cheny is a Robot headlines.

But is that really what we want?  We deserve better than barely-legal propaganda disguised as news.

26 comments:

  1. I wonder if that Tenesee law were passed in Germany, how it would affect the teaching of WW2 history?

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    Replies
    1. (Goes without saying that I find CNN to be an unsatisfactory news source)

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    2. Read the law. It does not prohibit teaching history.

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    3. Not explicitly, but when I read it I instantly imagine the types of legitimate history "patriots" would try to apply it to.

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    4. Jez, contrary to what US media outlets may have told you, we teach all of that bad and negative stuff from our history, including slavery, Jim Crow, and the civil rights struggle.

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    5. I don't doubt it, but I fear you make some of the same kinds of ommissions as we do when teaching the history of the british empire.

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    6. The omissions of many of America's misdeeds, both domestic and abroad....fill a library.

      I'm not advocating for school curriculum to be an exercise in negativity....but writ large, students enter the real world with a surface-level, pollyanna view of this nations history.

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    7. As usual, Jez, you completely miss the point of the post. The subject is not the law, it is about THE WAY THE MEDIA REPORTED on the law. The MISREPORTED. The used a phrase out of context, not so much to make the law appear to be something other than what it is, but so as to belittle and mock the legislature which passed it.

      And because you do not want to join in on criticism of the media, you jump up to talk irrelevantly about the example that was used in the post and not about the post.

      I keep saying I am not going to rise to your sophistry, but you just keep getting under my skin.

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    8. I should start charging for this service.

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    9. CI,
      I'm not advocating for school curriculum to be an exercise in negativity....but writ large, students enter the real world with a surface-level, pollyanna view of this nations history.

      I attended a very Conservative private Christian school from 1961-1968. We studied about our nation's sins, but not until we were juniors or seniors in high school. In the grades below, the curriculum focused on the good that America has done, the bravery of the colonists, etc.

      Oh, and we learned to sing so many patriotic songs: "My Country 'Tis of Thee," "You're a Grand Old Flag," all the verses of "American the Beautiful" and, later, all the verses of our National Anthem.

      I was no Pollyanna when I arrived at the university -- except for my study of Literature. I had to play catch up because all my public-school classmates had read Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.

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  2. Of course it's what we want. "We" want confirmation bias.

    And we can easily find it.

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  3. Most of the press does not outright lie, they instead rely upon artistic use of tone, tenor and shading to sculpt key sentences in a story for maximum propaganda value.

    This is a good statement. But, since I take far, far more umbrage at our elected representatives lying to us.....would you characterize politicians as the former, or the latter....as outlined above?

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    Replies
    1. Omission lies at the foundation of today's news reporting.

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    2. CI, our elected officials and the entire political class have raised this to a high art. That is why I no longer consume any media that involves discussions with politicians or political operatives. It is all BS all the time. And yes, I think this is actually worse than what the press does, if that is possible

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    3. I do read news articles, but I do not watch or listen to all those weekend TV shows with politicians or podcasts. The absolute very worst are the ones that feature campaign managers and political party operatives. Just to clarify, I do consume news about this stuff but to sit and spend time a half hour or an hour on such a program is a total waste of time.

      I was published at American thinker, and had a good relationship with the editor there, and I could have used that as a stepping stone, but I just could not stand to be that steeped in politics to that level. Too much brain space. Even doing this blog for AOW is too much, hopefully she will be back in a few weeks.

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    4. It'd be nice if we could separate policy from politics, and truly educate the electorate on merits and facts....but nobody would watch it.

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    5. SF,
      Even doing this blog for AOW is too much, hopefully she will be back in a few weeks.

      Feel free to write about something other than politics! Variety is refreshing.

      PS: I'm trying to get up and running. Gotta get some of the wardrobe boxes unpacked. Working around Warren's work schedule.

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  4. Joe, your observation about omission is spot on

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  5. SF,
    I do not watch or listen to all those weekend TV shows with politicians or podcasts. The absolute very worst are the ones that feature campaign managers and political party operatives.

    No kidding! Early on after 9/11, I watched those weekend shows. But a few years later, I swore off them -- including Meet the Press.

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  6. I check several news aggregators daily and can pretty much detect the source by the spin of the headline.

    “I didn’t say he beat his wife” has 8 entirely different meanings depending on how it’s said or voice inflections of each individual word.

    The problem with CNN and others who’ve been on the propaganda machine’s hit list is that they’re talking to an audience that have seen 4 years of constant political gaslighting. Even the very premise of altering the language on laws on CRT is in itself the result of responding to a gaslighting scam of the Southern Strategy on steroids.

    It’s just a tall order to not point out the blatant dishonesty and manipulation of issues such as CRT, the Big Lie, COVID resistance, the attack on our democracy, and the many other attacks on our country while only reporting the exact words of a legislator or language in a bill.

    And there’s also a faction of programmed cultists who not only are incapable of distinguishing what is true and what is not true but they don’t care.

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