HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Sunday, June 17, 2018

 

Truth sandwich

by Tom Sullivan

The sitting president leads the press around by the nose. He has since announcing his run for the presidency. Only recently have reporters begun to snap out of their conditioning and begun to openly challenge the president, fact-checking him live (and his team) and publicly pushing back on the lies.

Key to spotting how Trump's shtick works is understanding that language is not neutral. As Mawuna Remarque Koutonin observed recently in The Guardian, the word "expat," a person "temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing," is employed almost exclusively to describe white people. Even the Wall Street Journal admits who is an expat "depends on social class, country of origin and economic status." Koutonin continues:

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.
Hardly any other example better explains how privilege is woven into the culture. There are no expats being processed on the Texas border.

Through sheer force of repetition -- the president repeats phrases mid-sentence the way others use "um" -- the press has begun adopting Donald Trump's language and framing. Especially words that convey toughness or strength. At the Plum Line blog, Greg Sargent takes colleagues to task for coverage of the just-released Department of Justice’s inspector general report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Reporters have unconsciously adopted language that supports the Trumpian narrative that the report proves anti-Trump bias in the FBI:
For instance, the New York Times quotes a Trump ally pushing his narrative, and then asserts as fact that “any independent criticism” of Comey “helps” Trump “undermine the credibility of someone who may be a crucial witness against him in any case of obstruction of justice.” The Associated Press claims the report gave Republicans “ample fodder” to “question” the Russia probe. The Post says the report will serve as a GOP “cudgel” against Mueller. CNN asserts that the inspector general gave Trump “fodder” to claim a “deep state” coup.

But here’s the problem: There is no neutral way to make this claim. Either the inspector general’s actual findings legitimately support that Trumpian argument about the significance of those findings, or they do not. To be sure, these accounts sometimes quote an interested party on the other side saying the findings don’t support the Trump/GOP interpretation. Yet this isn’t enough, particularly since these accounts also state as neutral fact, in the voice of the omniscient journalist, that the findings do indeed provide “fodder” for those arguments, effectively conferring legitimacy on the Trump/GOP interpretation of them.
Sargent gives a series of examples of ho bad-faith ref-working by the president and his allies produce results that advance a false picture of reality.

The problem is what to do about it. Cognitive scientist George Lakoff explains to Brian Stelter in the "Reliable Sources" podcast how to stop enabling the sitting president's lies (emphasis mine): "Start with the truth that he's trying to hide. You make that clear, and then you point out that the president is trying to hide this by lying ... say a little bit about what the lie is. And go back to the TRUTH."

So, a "truth sandwich," Stelter quips.

But the press is trained to repeat what public figures say. They are doing what they were taught to do in journalism school. But language is not neutral, Lakoff insists. He writes in the Guardian:
“Deal” and “winning” are not just words. They are central to his worldview. Those who win deserve to win; those who lose deserve to lose. Those who don’t win are “losers”. This is a version of individual responsibility, a cornerstone of conservative thought. There is a moral hierarchy. Those who win are better than those who lose.
One thing Trump does well is marketing. More conservatives study this than liberals. "He's been selling for fifty years." By now how he deploys language is reflexive. (It's obviously not deeply thought out.)
Trump’s tweets are not random, they are strategic. There are four types: 1) Pre-emptive framing, to get a framing advantage. 2) Diversion, to divert attention when news could embarrass him. 3) Deflection: Shift the blame to others. And 4) trial balloon – test how much you can get away with. Reporting, and therefore repeating, Trump’s tweets just gives him more power. There is an alternative. Report the true frames that he is trying to pre-empt. Report the truth that he is trying to divert attention from. Put the blame where it belongs. Bust the trial balloon. Report what the strategies are trying to hide.

Cornered by the Russia investigation, Trump is working overtime to twist the facts, the law, and reality in general, to benefit himself. As the indictments and the evidence pile up in favor of a case for Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election, he’s made it clear that he considers himself above both the law and the truth. As president of the United States, anything he says – true or false – is faithfully parroted by the press. This needs to change.
Democracy is under attack. Journalists need to realize, Lakoff says, simply quoting him at face value is destructive.

But Lakoff has been putting out this message for some time, Stelter notes. Does he think journalists learned anything?

Lakoff replied, "No, I don't."

"We want to be able to say, just tell people the facts and they will reason to the right conclusion. That's what Descartes said in 1650, and he was wrong."

* * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.