The Subtleties of Biased Emphasis – UPDATE

Just ran out for a Chai Tea Latte (and to get away from the noise of the non-stop leaf-blowers, around here) and heard this on the radio:

“Mitt Romney is in New York (blah blah) to attend three fund-raisers where he’ll get to meet some supporters (blah blah) paying $2,500 a plate (blah blah) and others on Park Avenue.”

On paper, it looks like the most innocent news report ever generated, doesn’t it?

Over the airways
, with the newsreader’s emphasis, what came through was

“Mitt Romney is in New York (blah blah) to attend three fund-raisers! Where he’ll get to meet some supporters (blah blah) paying $2,500 a plate! (Blah blah) and others on Park Avenue!

Message: Moneygrubbing! The One Percenters! The Evil Rich on Park Avenue!

Somehow this same news station manages not to overemphasize or breath exclamation points when the President comes into town to do a number of fundraisers costing thousands of dollars a plate, in ritzy neighborhoods. When he hit town (was it last week?) on just such a mission, the same channel, and perhaps same reader, simply noted, “The President is in town for some fundraising, so expect major traffic delays and consider using mass transit.”

As innocuous as it oughta be.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Ann Althouse notes the WaPo’s Robin Givhan doing that thing she does when she doesn’t like a politician: goes after his wife.

The cat claws are out for Callista, whose own hyper-manicured claws “are folded neatly over her lap, a posture she frequently assumes.” She “assumes her signature rigid stance.” If she’s in any position, it is — in Daily Beast talk — a position she assumes. Because she’s just that kind of person, now, isn’t she? So entitled.

“From her perfectly coiffed bob to her bespoke power suits, Callista Gingrich possesses a style that evokes a woman who wants to mirror her husband’s wealth and power — and lacks any singularity.” She assumes her rigid position — her stance — next to the man, mirroring him, wearing a version of his suit, lacking any personality of her own. Lacking any “singularity.” Are you kidding? She’s the most distinctive-looking person on the political scene! The bright colors, the sharp edges, the signature hair.

Difficult to excerpt her so do read the whole thing.

I think when it comes to first ladies and fashion, people should be able to put their politics aside. I mean, I’ve been accused of being an unhinged and crazy partisan, but I have managed to remain level-headed and balanced when it comes to Michelle Obama’s clothes, heaping on the praise when it’s warranted, and trying to be constructive in criticism when she misses the mark. It’s not easy dressing for public consumption, and I think going after politician’s wives (or, as Ms. Givhan has done, a justice’s kids) betrays a meanness of spirit and an adolescent’s heart — a partisanship that really is unhinged.

UPDATED:
Bookworm notes the latest “fun” Obama fundraising game.
And James Taranto, linking to Bookie, notes:

Sure enough, BarackObama.com has a special Web form for donors who wish to have “fun at the expense of a Republican.” Let’s say you’re a Republican and your 20-something daughter is an Obamabot. (Have you had a DNA test?) She makes a $10 donation to the president’s campaign, which sends her an email tweaking you–and your name and email address are now on a list of dissenters against the most powerful man in the world.

Probably this is just what the campaign presents it to be–a juvenile prank that is harmless beyond the nuisance of receiving campaign spam. Then again, remember AttackWatch.com? The Obama campaign has a history of clumsy appeals with vaguely totalitarian overtones.

Yup. Subtleties.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • fiestamom

    I was at the hair salon today and they had CNN on. Wolf Blitzer’s show. The “reporter” had a fact check portion and lo and behold, Mitt Romney has received more money from Goldman Sachs than Barack Obama. And Mitt Romney has received more Wall Street money from Barack Obama. I just cain’t recall that they did that same story in 08. Or has CNN ever mentioned the fact that Barack Obama has received so much Goldman Sachs money? And I don’t even like Romney!

    Thank you for the reminder about Robin Givhan’s horrible treatment of Justice Robert’s pre-K kids. That was just awful.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    In communication, there are often two biases. That of the communicator, as you note. There is also the bias of the listener. Very often if a person expects bad news from an outlet, it is not that hard to find it.

    Personally, I find limiting my exposure to radio and tv news does wonders for my digestion and peace of mind. It also doesn’t hurt my ability to be aware of important events, and I even manage to manage the lens through which corporations present the content of the news.

  • cathyf

    The spamming stunt is highly illegal. The fines are tens of thousands of dollars per email, and it takes a computer very little time to rack up a fine larger than all of the money in the world.

    (I have a coworker who periodically reminds management that whatever their latest scheme is really dumb.)

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    I heard that on the radio myself. And what gets me is that Obama had the same fund raising the other week, and they hardly mentioned it. Such a double standard.

  • http://www.sthubertsrosary.com shana

    See, now I usually don’t get all wound up over things that smell faintly of ‘conspiracy’. I figure we have a lot of laws in place to keep the majority of us safe from whatever bizarre schemes knock around a fat head politician’s head, so to speak.

    But couple this bit: “which sends her an email tweaking you–and your name and email address are now on a list of dissenters against the most powerful man in the world.” with the news that the House and Senate have just forked over the authority for the President to indefinitely hold Americans as military prisoners without being charged, without representation, and without their rights of due process, with only the President’s word that they are ‘terrorists’ (very vaguely defined so as to mean whatever the POTUS wants it to mean in a way worthy of a twisted Jeff Foxworthy -You have more than 7 days food stored up? You just might be a terrorist.)

    I’m not feeling so good about the direction this is all going.


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