When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Words are a poor substitute for understanding, as the above cynical statement about words relates.
In politics, words lie louder than actions, which is why you cannot get the average politician to shut up. Many are the means for misusing morphemes. Some are as delicate as dew drops while others are as subtle as a Russian invasion. Fine words butter no parsnips but they do propagandize and polarize people heading to polls.
Just ask the American Association for Justice, who was originally called the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. “Justice” sounds nice. “Trial lawyers” sounds evil. Hard to con people into supporting your particular form of theft when they picture a congregation of demons with JDs.
In American guilt politics, race was once a powerful prevaricator. Even innocent youngsters who never oppressed a single person were made to feel guilt for the sins of ancestors, even ones they didn’t have. I knew an elderly German couple whose parents arrived in America after the civil war. Their genetic Lutheran guilt complex made them feel personally responsible for slavery. Fortunately their children didn’t inherit that defect.
Between the era of Dixiecrats and today, race has been used to motivate masses. Some healers like Doctor King negated race while troglodytes like George Wallace did the opposite. With such contrasts, race soon became a weapon and one could not hold an intelligent discussion about politics without anti-intellectuals proclaiming a racial motivation behind every policy choice. Both pro- and anti-abortionist have assailed the other viewpoint as racist, which shows how desperate each side is to win this umbilical cord tug-o-war.
Recently Obama’s reelection team (a.k.a. the media) have asserted that Mitt Romney is recruiting racists by opposing Obama changes to welfare rules. The central policy issue (remember those things, policy issues) is that Obama engineered waivers that allow selected states to rescind work requirements for welfare recipients. That the states slated for waivers include many swing states is conveniently buried by most reporters (a.k.a. subsidized Obama campaign workers).
One media outlet, citing “many” unnamed analysts, concludes that by complaining of Obama’s unilateral executive policy change, Romney was sending racist ‘dog-whistles’ to white voters. Aside from any actual evidence of racial motivations, such as mentioning race, this alleged analysis is ironically racist itself. It insinuates that whites are auto reflexively racists who respond to absent subliminal concepts in policy statements.
Reporters have complicated paranoia complexes.
What makes the cited article an amusing propaganda piece is the intersection of subtlety and perception. People who dislike Romney (which includes a fair number of Republicans) are alert to negative news. In the absence of such, the media invents items that create perception without fact. The headline asserted that Romney was busy denying he is a racist, which presupposes he has actually been accused of such. By assuming the alleged journalist is reporting on established facts – as if a legitimate allegation had been launched at Romney – undecided or weakly supporting voters may be swayed to view Romney with ill will. In our harried lives, where scanning headlines substitutes for reading the news, a headline like “Mitt Romney’s Campaign Denies Racial Tone to Welfare Ad” set in motion negative sentiments.
Which explains why the media is held in low regard.
Our new interconnected species is increasing immune to media manipulation and even the race baiting tactics of politicos and their print prostitutes. Citizens’ media now controls the national conversation. Jousting jaded journos may seed conversations, but people synthesize the subterfuges and come to cleaner conclusions. Waves of media induced temporary confusion have helped whelp a new breed of politicians who are more plain spoken than your average trucker. Take the likes of Chris Christie and Allen West. Either man has honesty disorders that cause them to bluntly state their positions and beliefs, which confound the media who fail to pervert the communications.
The media has cried wolf once too often, and the non-racists (which now is just about everybody) are not running to the alarm.
Guy Smith is author of “Shooting The Bull”, a field guide to propaganda techniques