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View Diary: O'Reilly can't spin THIS! (34 comments)

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  •  Again... (none)
    Again, I understand the attempted metaphor and relative comparison to so-called freedom fighters of other conflicts (i.e., the Mujahadeen of the 1980s, for example).  However, while intellectually I recognize what was attempted and the similar point that you're making; Mrs. Sheehan's statement must be placed in a political propaganda context.  Moreover, her statements -- all statements made by American political personalities -- are inevitably and ultimately consumed by an American audience, with our own American biases.

    Consequently, we -- the American audience -- will judge any statement based on our perception and, unfortunately, most consumers of news will not go through the linguistic parsing that you've gone through.  In stead, most will judge the statement as being easily construed as in support of the generally perceived enemy.

    This is not science... it's just public speaking 101: who is your audience?  Then construct a message accordingly.  Mrs. Sheehan should've have chosen her words more carefully, that's all.  But the truth of the matter is that all public personalities sometimes say things they later wish they could take back -- I think that this is one of those statements.

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    bedobe (at) gmail (.) com

    by bedobe on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 01:49:37 PM PST

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    •  I do disagree... (none)
      from a strategic standpoint. I think you need people like Cindy who represent the active left and who have semi-legitimacy due to her age and her son's service...

      They need to speak up and define the leftist position.

      That's how the country has gotten so far out of whack... the conservative whackos are actually voicing their opinions as to what they think is legitimate... and they make the corporate conservatives look "reasonable."

      Thus the new American middle-ground that doesn't represent the average American person gains legitimacy via the mainstream corporate media echo-chamber... and our country goes on servicing the corporate elite to the detriment of working Americans.

      We need our liberal activists (like Cindy) to again start voicing what the far left believes to be true...

      that the NeoCons started an illegal war to remove 1 of the countless bloody dictators they put in power in the 80's during their first stint in power... and that many (if not a majority) of the insurgents are just Iraqis who want the U.S. and U.S. contractors/corporations out of their country...

      just like American patriots did during the Revolutionary War with the British.

      Language is important... and I still don't think liberals understand how to play the Luntzian language game to define the middle-ground.

      I personally think your strategy of uniform "mediated language" amongst all segments of the Democratic community to be the wrong one.

      I think the far left needs to step forward and speak the truth... cause the country is so far out of whack that that's where it exists...

      and the only way to start pulling it back in the other direction is for our activists to throw their weight behind the ideas they believe in 100%... if only so that average Americans can feel comfortable inhabiting a zone just to the right of where the far left resides.

      My opinion anyway... and it's the fundamental argument I have with my Dad... who's got a poly-sci degree from Riker's Rochester U. dep't in the 60's.

      I think the conservatives/global corporate monopolies have changed things though since that whole school of thought first cemented the insight on how the U.S. political system always finds the central ground over the long-term... according to the mathematical formulas.

      I think monopolies and corporate power throw things out of whack... and liberals need to adapt... and I would suggest looking at how the conservatives have radicalized in order to shift the middle-ground...?

      cheers,

      lr.

      U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1999 it was 1:475.

      by Lode Runner on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 02:41:25 PM PST

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      •  I may get flamed for this (none)
        but I think Cindy Sheehan's message would resonate more if she didn't make herself so obviously "of the Left."

        I think the globetrotting and franchising herself out to every lefty group that wants a photo-op with her dilutes her very compelling message and mission ("Why did my son die for lies?"), and opens her up to the incredulity coming from the Right.

        I sometimes feel that she's taken on TOO MUCH of the burden of the anti-war movement.

        (OK, I'm putting my helmet on...)

        •  she may have bitten off (none)
          more than she can effectively chew...

          i think there's nothing wrong with admitting you have limitations.

          cindy getting too much media could hurt rather than help.

          we just need people monitoring the situation and offering her advice.

          a mother who lost her kid... if she feels maximum exposure is what she wants... it's hard to argue from an individualistic standpoint.

          she can do what she damn well pleases regarding this illegal war based on lies (common knowledge by now) of course with that kind of moral authority.

          but we do need smart rovian cookies on the left... thinking about how to "market" our far left side.

          U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1999 it was 1:475.

          by Lode Runner on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:09:39 PM PST

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      •  Please keep in mind... (none)
        Please keep in mind that we're not talking about Mrs Sheehan's right to speak out against the war.  By all means, she certainly has that right, simply based on the fact that she's a participating citizen in our democracy.  So, you have no argument from me there -- especially considering that that's not the issue that I was addressing.  Moreover, in strategic terms, I agree, the left needs to be aggressive about our opposition to issues that we disagree with, specially on matters of war and peace, and the disastrous job that Republicans have done.

        Just so that we are on the same page, above I've merely addressed what I consider to be a verbal gaffe; therefore, not a strategic error on Mrs. Sheehan's part, but merely a tactical verbal error.

        My sole point is that the effective communicator understands context and how to use language to affect and change opinion.  Based in the context of Mrs. Sheehan's remarks, given that she doesn't explain what she meant to say when she used the phrase "freedom fighters," I think that she did a rather poor job as an effective communicator.  Sure, we on the left, including her supporters (and I count myself as a supporter), understood what she meant and where she was going with that phrase; however, the general audience, will not be as forgiving nor will they be as patient when parsing her statements as you have.  Additionally, and it goes without saying, sometimes those gaffes are exploited by the opposition, as propaganda tools to reinforce their attack lines (i.e., Kerry's, I voted for it before I voted against it).

        Finally, I have not argued for "uniform mediated language," rather, all I would suggest is that an effective communicator understand their audience and that they communicate as clearly.  I don't think that Mrs. Sheehan did that job well in this one instance.  And, again, keep in mind that am only referring to this one remark and not about whether she has a right to protest the war -- I support her right and believe that she, we, need to be aggressive about representing our point of view... we just gotta be effective about it, and unintentional verbal gaffes sometimes undercut our effectiveness.  

        Read Vox Mia
        bedobe (at) gmail (.) com

        by bedobe on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 03:45:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes... i agree... (none)
          we should always attempt to use the right language... smart language... even when stating a far left opionion.

          cindy could have done a better job of explaining what i think she meant... and to many the ideas might seem somewhat logical.

          strong leftist message... clear, concise, meaningful rhetoric...

          deansian straightforwardness...

          i think that's the formula.

          U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1999 it was 1:475.

          by Lode Runner on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:05:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly... (none)
            Over at MyDD.com I wrote:


            Forget all this cutesy talk about re-branding and coming up with a slogan with catchy alliteration.  To define the Republican party for what they are all one has to do is have the BALLS to go out there and do that, that is: Talk of Republicans for what they are and as they are -- then repeat what you said, defend your statement and do it all over again.  Of course, it helps if one has supporters and party members with a spine to back one up, and then magnify the message; and, pretty soon, that meme gets out there in the mouths of pundits and the public.

            Here's Howard Dean on Republicans:

            "You can't trust them with your money," Dean said. "You can't trust them to tell the truth. You can't trust them to manage the war. You can't trust them if you have a natural disaster. Now tell me why people are going to vote for Republicans?" (link)

            That same MSNBC article gets to the heart of the issue facing the Democratic party, that is: there simply aren't that many prominent Democrats willing to be aggressive against Republicans and, too, equally willing to hand them an anvil as the corrupt Republican party drowns.  Here's the heart of the issue for Democrats:

            Whether Democratic candidates will embrace Dean's proposal for a single national strategy isn't clear yet. And Republicans will try to use Dean's tendency to put his foot in his mouth as a reason for voters to shy away. (Emphasis added.)

            In the above quote we see the media's narrative on Dean at work, "Dean's tendency to put his foot in his mouth as a reason for voters to shy away."  This narrative could be changed by prominent Democrats coming out and repeating Dean's attacks, er, truth about Republicans, when he makes them.  However, the ever timorous, finger-in-the-wind Democratic party insiders and establishment bitches only vacillate and try to distance themselves from anything smacking of truth, aggressiveness and common sense regarding Republicans.  

            You want to accurately brand Republicans, or, re-brand, as it were?  It's simple, all it takes is for a spokesperson to voice the message and repeat it, and to do it all over again, till it catches on.  I'm with Dean when it comes to Republicans:

            "You can't trust them with your money," Dean said. "You can't trust them to tell the truth. You can't trust them to manage the war. You can't trust them if you have a natural disaster. Now tell me why people are going to vote for Republicans?"

            Ultimately, is the pundit class that needs to be targeted... that's the real audience... because they repeat the messages that come into our homes and our heads.  But to reach them, as pundits often like to remind their critics from the left, there need to be prominent Democratic representatives providing the pundits with a narrative... a story for them to parrot.  


            Read Vox Mia
            bedobe (at) gmail (.) com

            by bedobe on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:14:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There you have it... (none)
              and I think Dean is a real triumph in that area.

              The msm can demean him all they want, but anyone who ever sees Dean speak... they get it.

              They know he's just REAL.

              He talks plain. He tells it like it is. Dean is actually an incredible communicator.

              Anyone that knows him on the issues... coming from Vermont, there are instances where he's far too conservative for my tastes.

              The only area in which Dean is a die-hard liberal progressive really is on corporate influence/power... and maybe ecological issues?

              And neither should be a liberal issue. Average conservative Americans... if they were smart... should be just as concerned why they're getting ripped off by the super-rich... and how it just doesn't work as an economic system... all this Reaganomics. Average conservative Americans should be concerned with why their kids are being born with autism due to pollution.

              So... anyhow. Glad that we ended up at Dean.

              Because personally I've never understood anyone who argues against Dean being a mouthpiece for our party...

              other than msm spin, I've only witnessed him dramatically winning people over. But I guess you can't factor out corporate spin... it's part of the equation.

              But yeah... if corporate America wants to target Dean and sabotage his chances to lead... fine.

              We just need about 5 more Dems with his manner to step forward... and do the work Dean isn't being permitted to do to fix this country.

              I think Feingold may be one of those relatively moderate guys who's just... REAL. And therefore seems progressive. There's a good reason for that of course. Being REAL in America in 2006=being a Progressive. Anything else is just self-deception or outright nihilism. Feingold, like Dean seems to be a Democrat who does what he thinks is right... and shows everyone why... the Patriot Act for example... and just comes across pretty straightforward and sensible.

              Like a lighthouse in a fog of NeoCon insanity... :)

              U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1999 it was 1:475.

              by Lode Runner on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:34:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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