Friday, April 04, 2008

The Conservative Corporate Media and Framing the Debate

I have to give the Cons credit where it is due, they mastered the art of Framing the Debate years ago and the corporate media has been using it unseen in plain sight for decades. In his book, "Don't Think Of An Elephant", Dr. George Lakoff explains that framing the debate is the most important political trick that the Democrats and Progressives need to become familiar with if they want to compete with the Cons. In his book, Dr. Lakoff uses the example of the Frame of the "Tax Burden" and how that simple phrase immediately puts taxes in the position of being something unwanted that needs to be reduced and how that has effected public perception of the debate over time.

Lets look at another more recent example in today's news:

Economy Sheds 80,000 jobs in March

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The employers cut payrolls for a third month in a row in March, slashing 80,000 jobs for the biggest monthly job decline in five years as the economy headed into a downturn, government data on Friday showed.

The Labor Department revised the first two months of the year's job losses to a total of 152,000 from a previous estimate of 85,000. The March unemployment rate jumped to 5.1 percent from 4.8 percent, the highest since a matching rate in September 2005.

The March job report was more bleak than expected. Economists polled ahead of the report forecast a decline of 60,000 in non-farm payrolls and a rise in the unemployment rate to 5 percent.

During the first quarter of this year job losses averaged 77,000 a month, compared to average monthly gains of 76,000 in the last half of 2007, according to Keith Hall, Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner.

Job losses were widespread during the month, with the biggest losses in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

(Reporting by Joanne Morrison; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

Now... My dog "sheds" her extra fur.
I may "shed" my coat if I get hot.
We all try to "shed" some extra pounds.

This headline makes it sound like the economy was just getting rid of some extra jobs it didn't need or want anymore.

The thing is, more people read just the headline than will ever read the entire article, so everybody in the newspaper business understands the importance of the headlines and how they can be used to frame things, even if it is contrary to the content of the actual articles.

I found that part at the end particularly interesting because I am curious to know who is responsible for that headline, the reporter or the "editor".

A quick google of "Joanne Morrison" found another example of her writing, this time without the "editing".

U.S. recession could be worse than recent downturns

Nope, I don't think she was the one who came up with that deceptive headline.

Then I did a quick search on "Neil Stempleman" which revealed these examples of his work:

Financial system may need public funds-IMF's Lipsky

Bernanke repeats economy in difficult period

Personal income rises, inflation moderates

This one was particularly funny since the first paragraph reads as follows:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. personal income rose more than expected in February as the economy teetered on the brink of a recession, while both personal spending and a key price measure increased only slightly, a government report showed on Friday.

Obviously there is someone at Reuters who believes that they need to "moderate" the headlines they put on their newswire, thus the conspicuous "editing" in so many of their articles by people like Mr. Stempleman.

Apparently the people at Reuters don't think we, the American people, can handle the unvarnished truth and they think they need to sugar-coat everything to the point of twisting its meaning in the headline.

Of course this beggars the question, Who owns Reuters?

Well, it turns out they just recently got bought by the Thompson Corporation, a Multinational Conglomerate who makes about $3 Billion worth of profit in the Financial sector each year.

Isn't Media Consolidation wonderful?


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