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March 28, 2011

Media Continues Determined Embargo on Death Threats in Wisconsin

Vicious. If exposing and denouncing alleged "uncivil remarks" by Tea Partiers is intended to foster safety by establishing political violence as wholly impermissible, then what is the intent of the exact opposite tactic?

It seems to me that if exposing and denouncing violence-tinged remarks is intended to forestall the possibility of political violence, then whitewashing and excusing actual death threats is intended to increase the possibility of political violence. So long as the right people are targeted.

The media is of course a nonresponsive institution; they are fond of saying "X Corporation declined comment on our allegations," and let the reader draw from that silence the intended conclusion Therefore they confess them by silence, and yet the media itself will not respond to detailed questions on its systematic and deliberate left-wing propaganda.

There is no way to compel them to answer questions. However, there is a way to spur them to do so, and it frustrates me that it's not done.

Every week, when McConnell or Boehner or whoever is being interviewed on a Sunday talk show, they should have a plan in agreement to ask their questioners about any unaddressed bias in reporting, preferably something entirely off-topic (so there can be no charge made that they are attemtping to dodge the question on whatever they're being asked about).

I know what the answer will be, because it's the answer the media always gives-- "We covered that fairly and spent resources on that" and et cetera. It's a lie. They haven't. When Boehner goes on to ask George Stephanopolous why ABCNews hasn't covered the death threats in Wisconsin, he should come armed with detailed numbers of how many minutes of reportage were spent on blaming the Tea Party and Republicans for Gabbie Giffords versus how many were spent on death threats in Wisconsin. And, like a reporter, Boehner should then force Stephanopolous to commit to a yes or no answer -- is he disputing these figures or not?

He must be made to commit to an answer. That's what reporters do -- they will badger you into taking some position, one way or another, so that you can be proven wrong or dishonest. Allowing someone to vaguely say "I don't know" or whatever is letting them escape unharmed.

And every major Republican should do this on every show. And yes, it should be coordinated. There is no need to actually derail the whole program; ten minutes should do it. But there is a need to not merely make a statement, but to ask whatever media jagoff they're talking to if they accept or dispute the figures regarding proportionality of coverage. If they dispute them, challenge them to rebut them the next week -- and insist on coming back to do so. (And if they won't let you -- then your next Republican on will take up the argument where it left off.)

Force them to accept these figures as accurate and then, at some point, force them to offer an explanation as to why they believe this is proper.

This has to be both confrontational and personal, personal, in the sense that Stephanopolous must not be allowed to hide behind the entire ABCNews organization and say "Well I don't know what a big organization is doing."

Of course he does, and in any event, Stephanopolous is a high profile spokesman of that organization, and apologist for it; the media does not let corporate PR shill off the hook for tough questions just because the shill doesn't represent everyone in the corporation.

There is no way to force the media to sit down and answer questions about its reportage. But when you have them on camera, you can make them squirm.

And ultimately it's about questions -- and getting answers that can later be hanged around their neck.

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posted by Ace at 07:07 PM

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