Controlling the Image

Posted in Government,President Obama,U.S. by Ryan on the May 13th, 2014

Interesting video about how the White House has denied access at times to control the image of the President.

This video references some of the images I include on my satirical Tumblr site,  It is exclusively dedicated to photos from the official @WhiteHouse and @BarackObama Twitter feeds intended to highlight other things, but just end up as hero shots of Obama.

Chasing the Cause Célèbre

Posted in Media Bias,War on Terror,World by Ryan on the May 7th, 2014
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Some stories get a lot of coverage, others don’t. The reasons why should give us all pause to consider how we understand the world and how we react to things in it.

There have been stories about Boko Haram killing hundreds in Nigeria for months now. However, I don’t recall them being front page news like the current stories about the abduction of large numbers of girls. The gender specific nature of the victims seems to have elevated the evil of Boko Haram to new levels, even attracting the attention of US Senators and prompting a letter signed by all 20 female United States Senators.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine is even calling for US Special Forces to be used to help recover the girls.

The debate of using US troops aside, it is striking how hundreds of people being massacred, and students being mercilessly killed doesn’t elicit a great deal of attention until something more emotionally tangible happens that aligns well with more contemporary themes.

I’m wondering why these 20 senators did not sign a letter when 29 students were killed by the same group as mentioned in one of the articles linked above.

Suspected Islamic militants killed 29 students in a pre-dawn attack Tuesday on a northeast Nigerian school, survivors said, setting ablaze a locked dormitory and shooting and slitting the throats of those who escaped through windows. Some were burned alive.

Boko Haram is bad, and we should react uniformly to its actions, just as we should react uniformly to any perpetration of evil, bigotry or violence. Leaders, journalists and concerned citizens need to stop chasing the day’s cause célèbre and actually be informed to react in a principled manner to events in our world.

The Lying Left

Posted in Media Bias,U.S. by Ryan on the May 6th, 2014

The last couple of months, I’ve given this some thought as I’ve distilled some recent observations into a straightforward conclusion. I suppose I’ve always known this, but it is worth stating succinctly.

The left lies.

They lie about many things to achieve various policy objectives and to sway public opinion. The right however is much less inclined to fabricate, deceive and lie. This puts the right in the difficult position of having to laboriously explain and clarify to mitigate untruths.

Exhibit A: Women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes
This is a great emotional rallying cry for many to latch onto as proof of gender inequality and create a partisan wedge. To engage on the point, the right has to expend a mountain of words to explain that the methodology and logic to arrive at this figure is flawed.

Exhibit B: 8 million people signed up for Obamacare
President Obama recently declared victory with with the Affordable Care Act and declared it a success with no need for further debate. To dispute this simple claim takes a paragraph to explain all the missing data and demographic information that would actually validate or invalidate this claim as successful.

Disputing these assertions of 77 cents or 8 million don’t just take more time to explain, but the energy required to combat and overcome an “original” premise that is so widely asserted takes much more effort than simply making the original assertion. In fact, without the media’s help, I’m not sure how it can be done. Were the right to lie as regularly, the media would dissemble the lies quickly and question those disseminating them. When the left does it, they rarely question them but instead often just parrot the lies without any investigative inquiry or curiosity about their origins in fact.

I’ve been musing about the inherent disadvantage the right is under because of how it has more loyalty to truth than the left does. The left misrepresents facts to achieve political goodwill for their policies, and because there is often some grain of truth inside of the larger mistruth, they take advantage of human emotion and they’re able to maintain their original assertion for much longer than they should. Sometimes indefinitely.

The right needs to find ways to counter this tactic of the left with honest but effective slogans, statements or assertions that are just as potent and emotionally attractive. Truth will always, eventually, overcome fiction.