Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Propaganda Works

Santi di Tito: Niccolò Machiavelli

A recently leaked FOX news memo from 2009 shows explicit instructions being given for reporters to refer to the "government option" instead of the "public option".  Apparently this directive was informed by Republican pollster Frank Luntz who had found that people found the term "government" less favorable than "public".

Just goes to show how powerful propaganda is. The right has been relentless in their campaign to make government into a dirty word. If they were honest, they would say "certain types of government". But then they're starting to sound like Democrats - you know, acknowledging nuance, putting things in context, speaking clearly and without misleading and dishonest overgeneralizations.

But hey - it works. Maybe if we start talking about government libraries, government parks, government education, and government-works projects we'll really save the Galts some cash.

At the risk of going full-bore partisan here, let me just ask why the right seems so much more comfortable with dishonesty. As exhibit A let me just introduce basically every AM radio personality. "Lying" might sound too offensive, so how about a continuous stream of half-truths and mischaracterizations. And then there's the anger and hatred. It's been a while since I've stomached a listen, but I remember a lot of schoolyard name-calling, yelling, and endless ad-hominem attacks on "liberals": retarded, mentally ill, out to destroy America, etc.

I mean, when I meet people like that in real life, I get really creeped out. The general word for them is "A-hole" or "bully". So why are they so integral to conservatism's trajectory in the past few decades? We've got a few random people on the left who are comparable, but they're hard to find. NPR would be a much more accurate picture of what is driving left-wing debate. Although even there, the idea that NPR "drives" politics in the same way as a Glenn Beck or Limbaugh is kind of ridiculous.

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