Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ramblings on propaganda and persuasion

Though I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, it's very difficult to believe that these misinterpretations of events were not deliberate. I'd really rather think of this authors as being uninformed rather than openly devious. This showed up on, of all places:

Response to Bush' latest speech at the naval academy

Here we go:

Bush continued with his Tal Afar fairy tale by saying:

    Iraqi forces not only cleared the city, they held it.

But if you're measuring "progress," you have to keep in mind that just around the time Bush gave his speech, insurgents were blasting the hell out of Ramadi, directly attacking U.S. bases and government offices in that city just west of Baghdad with mortars, rockets, and riflemen.

This comes just 15 days ahead of the next scheduled election in Iraq. But the smoke in Ramadi didn't get into Bush's eyes.

One confirmed mortar round does not justify a 'blasting the hell out of' tagline. Just the whole tactic of using temporal proximity of events is bunk in itself. It's just a cheap ploy that wont float in even the most slightly critical perspective.

This does represent a larger problem. Many people are no longer attempting to persuade their opponents. Reading the rhetoric of the Daily Kos or Little Green Footballs, you find direct appeals to outrage and other emotions targetting the existing core audience of each site. Do either one of them appeal to the middle, or attempt to lure over their opponents through education? Not hardly. It's just flame after flame after flame.

The only legitimate tool of persuasion is education. To educate someone, you must put their interests first and relate the material to them, not yourself. You must also be disciplined in teaching without being condescending, resorting to rhetoric, or resorting to generalizations.

It guess part of the problem involving the two aforementioned sites is that their continued relevance and incomes are dependent upon the furthering of friction between the two sides.


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