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June 07, 2012

AP: June A Cruel Month For Democrats -- And It Might Just Get Worse

I'm glad AP noted this. One of the few non-rah-rah-rah articles we've seen from the groupie media.

An article that actually might help Democrats, rather than killing them with Mad Love.

It recounts the bad jobs figures, Walker's triumph in Wisconsin (but it doesn't call it that-- which I'm about to talk about), and the perils (for the Democrats) of an anticipated Supreme Court repeal of ObamaCare.

So, what's wrong with this article?

Look at the headline.

Who's the hero?

There were two ways to write this headline.

June a Cruel Month for Democrats -- And It Could Get Worse

That's one way. That's the way they chose. In fact, that's almost always the way they choose.

The other way is this:

Republicans Optimistic After Recent Victories and Bad News for Democrats

Who's the hero in that headline? With whom does that headline suggest you ought to identify with?

This is perspective bias. I have written about this once before -- a good article, now that I go back and read it.

I think it's worth reading again. This is a kind of bias which, as I said before, I'm not sure how much to make of it, because the actual effect of it might be so subtle as to not be worth discussing.

On the other hand, the effect could be profound. The novelistic technique of perspective -- which character you're "with," which character whose eyes you see the world through, which character you're invited to be concerned about -- is one of the most powerful techniques in all of fiction. (Arguably, it's the most powerful technique -- I can't, off the top of my head, think of one that has more of an impact on how the reader consumes a narrative. But maybe I'm missing one.)

Ever see the underrated 80s caper movie Shock to the System with Michael Caine? It was about Michael Caine murdering a series of people. Innocent people, basically. Just inconvenient to him. A wife he didn't care for, a young buck who got a promotion he wanted.

So he murdered them.

And you rooted for him the entire time. You were actually rooting for Michael Caine to outwit the detective, and not for the detective (ably played by the great Will Patton) to catch the cold-blooded murderer.

Why? Perspective. The movie forced you to view the world through Michael Caine's perspective. You saw his wife, Swoozie Kurtz, and were "with" him as the thought went through his head, "If she were dead, I could date my cute assistant Elizabeth McGovern."

He even murders a sad-sack friend to pin the crimes on!

But by the simple trick of perspective, viewers of this film wind up cheering when the cold-blooded wife-killer (and serial killer) gets away with it all and gets the girl in the end.

At any rate, be on the lookout for this -- and see if you don't agree that the Democrats are always the Active-Voice Heroes in almost every news story, and Republicans the Object Case opponents or objects in every single one.

"The Other."

The ones who don't count.

The ones who exist merely to give the Heroes a dramatic arc.

The villains.

Why is every news story written from a Democratic perspective?

No, no, I know the reason for it, of course. Because the media are Democrats. The stories are from a Democratic perspective, the perspective of the reporter, who is a Democrat and liberal (93% of the time, and when he's not, his editor and headline writer are).

But they're supposed to be unbiased.

And if they're unbiased, shouldn't about half of all stories be written from the Republican perspective? Where we're the Active-Voice Heroes, and the Democrats are the objects and our opponents?

Read it all, and tell me I'm crazy.

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:47 PM

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