Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Shoddy Game of Political Telephone

In his new book, Bush's War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age Professor Jim A. Kuypers precisely articulates my experience of what has gone on in the months and years following 9/11 with regard to the media game of interpreting the President's messages into the narrative they prefer to give to it:
“What has essentially happened since 9/11 has been that Bush has repeated the same themes, and framed those themes the same whenever discussing the War on Terror,” said Kuypers, who specializes in political communication and rhetoric. “Immediately following 9/11, the mainstream news media (represented by CBS, ABC, NBC, USA Today, New York Times, and Washington Post) did echo Bush, but within eight weeks it began to intentionally ignore certain information the president was sharing, and instead reframed the president's themes or intentionally introduced new material to shift the focus.”

This goes beyond reporting alternate points of view. “In short,” Kupyers explained, “if someone were relying only on the mainstream media for information, they would have no idea what the president actually said. It was as if the press were reporting on a different speech.”


There are plenty of occasions when people I know have disputed points that the President made often and early about both the War on Terror and its subdivision into the War on Iraq - for example about the length of the war, etc.

My understanding of why liberals so often get these points wrong, is because they can't stand listening to the President. Therefore, they didn't listen to the speeches or read them. And instead relied on the media to interpret them for them. So that they only know the points that the media wanted them to understand, and not what the President originally said.

In fact, Kuypers calls the mainstream news media an “anti-democratic institution” in the conclusion.
Of course. The modern media is a very elitist institution that values its power above all things.

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