In previous articles, I have described two ways in which the Media Class exercises its power and advances its agenda. A third technique it uses is the “Judge and Jury” method. This is very effective because it casts the Media Class “personality” in the role of watchdog of the public interest, and we are unconsciously led into believing that the Media Class is essential for our protection.
Newscasters and other “interviewers” summon politicians into studios or catch them on the street. They then put questions to them in front of the cameras. This would be fine if the Media people were genuinely impartial and pursuing the public good rather than a media Class agenda. Those the Media Class disapproves of, get interrogated, and those it approves of get what are best described as “softball” questions.
The Media interviewer almost always has the benefit of hindsight (UK) or 20/20 vision (USA) for three reasons. (1) An event has happened and the outcome is known. (2) The interviewer never had to make a public decision before an event, so we don’t know what wrong decision he would have advocated. (3) He can imply by tone of voice etc. that he would have advocated the right solution to a problem or situation. Thus Media people soon come to think of themselves as experts on everything and the public are led to believe that many politicians, generals and others are fools or worse. In the USA, this is also known as “Monday Morning Quarterbacking”.
As with previous examples of Media power, we must look beyond the obvious. First there is the power to ignore some events and outcomes during the interview/interrogation. Clinton would never be reminded of his asprin factory bombing nor of Monica Lewinsky. Bush can be expected to be constantly on the defensive for every setback in Iraq, even though wars are full of setbacks for the most victorious sides. On global warming issues, the environmental alarmists are never asked to explain why Australia has just had its worst snowfall for a generation, or Greenland was for 200 years inhabitable but isn’t today.
Good news can be ignored. A setback for terrorists in Iraq due to effective army tactics can be deemed “not newsworthy” and simply ignored. Some good questions can never be asked because poitical correctness has put them beyond the pale. For example, no-one would ever ask why African Americans (in the US) and Afro Carribeans (in the UK) do badly at education and job finding, yet Indians and Chinese who also face handicaps achieve great success. There are too many examples of “the politically incorrect topic which can never be raised” to list here.
Those politicians and others who get the softball treatment in interviews know how to toe the Media line. Those who are due for the inquisition often make all kinds of concessions in front of the cameras in the hope of damage limitation. To refuse an interview risks the even worse publicity of being cast as too guilty or gutless. Some politicians and other Media-victims are capable of fighting back during the inquisition, but the Media interrogator can always edit the interview before it goes to the public. In this way statements can be ommitted or taken out of context. The latter technique is very effective, especially if a statement taken out of context is repeated frequently over the air and “Activist groups” can be called upon to express outrage about it.
Of course, those few conservatives who are really capable of turning an interrogation into a victory are rarely invited to face the cameras and we assume that they are not interested in expressing views. Zell Miller, an extremely effective conservative Democrat speaker with a gift for speaking the language and thoughts of ordinary people, was only ever on conservative Talk Radio and Fox News during the Bush/ Kerry campaign. Any renegade leftist Republican quickly became a Media fixture.
The Print Media uses the same techniques plus the added one of “headlining”. With a biased and often grossly misleading headline, the content of an article can be colored, even when real facts are buried in the small print. Many people browse newpapers, so a biased headline can often be the only thing they read and on it, an opinion formed. The pictorial trick is always useful. Al Sharpton (a Reverend in case you did not realise) recently joined Cindy Sheehan at Crawford. Together they knelt to pray, and for once the gathered Media circus became sympathetic to religion. Soon photos of the event were on all Media outlets and it appeared that the couple had been photographed up close and surrounded by followers. In reality, it seems, the photos were taken longrange. Seen in context, it would have revealed that the pair were surrounded by little more than Media people.
Perhaps the single most powerful tactic the Media Class uses, is repetition (the opposite of ignoring a topic). By running a story day after day in all branches of the Media’s outlets, almost any topic can become important. Well, you know who decides what will run day after day! The Media Class.
You have been warned on this website.