Saturday, June 16, 2012

Musings on Media Messaging
The media is the message.
Marshall  McLuhan (1911-1980), title of first chapter
June 16, 2012 -   The media is the third rail of American politics. TV, newspapers, magazine, radio, the Internet and the social media will help decide who wins the Presidency, control of Congress, and future of health care.
The “mainstream” media -  NBC, ABC, CBS, New York Times,  Washington Post, NPR, and a host of progressive  bloggers – will make smarmy and snarky comments questioning the intellect, morality,  motivations, lack of compassion,  and  cut-throat capitalistic tactics  of  right wing extremists and “wing nuts. “
 The righteous right will question the common sense,  lack of fealty to the constitution,  fiscal competence,  and backbone  of the loony left.  Leading this school of thought will be talk-show radio hosts,    Fox News contributors,  and conservative think tank writers.   
Conservatives  will assert “Capitalism works,” while socialism, as practiced  here and in Europe, imposes crushing, unpayable  debts on societies.  The right  will insist economic growth depends  about free enterprise and  individual freedom,  not top-down restraints and ever tightr government controls.
The PAC (Political Action Committee) crossfire will intensify.   The left will deplore PACs but will use them to "counteract” unprecedented amounts of cash by those “rich” capitalist s who want to see Obama go down.   On both sides, you will witness  widespread use of focus groups, varying interpretations of the same polls, and questionable flips, flops, and spins.
Speaking of spins, Democrats will  sneakily deploy tactics to distract attention from the failures of Obamacare and the economy.   Republicans will respond by focusing relentlessly on these perceived failures of policy and their poisoned contributions to the recession.  Both may miss the big picture., that the American public wants contructive solutions, not partisan talk about who is to blame.
As Mathew Arnold (1822-1888), the English poet, put it,
Hither and thither spins
The windborne,mirroring soul;
A thousand glimpses wins,
And never see the whole.
The Supreme Court will likely reject Obamacare. The  media will comment  endlessly on what the Obamacare downfall portends.  The left will argue it means we have given up the national souls to political hacks on the Supreme Court.  The right will say it's about time we hewed to the wishes of the Founding Fathers and cut the government down to size.
Each side will have its own spin, and some of it will be ingenious and disengeneous.  The left  may say, for example  that a Supreme Court rejection of Obamacare on June 25 is a good thing – a blessing in disguise.   
Why?  Because American business, which complains Obamacare kills jobs, will be forced to get off its  $3 trillion cash  duff and start hiring. Conservatives have often said  Obamacare has spooked American business by raising the cost of providing care at a cost of $1.76 trillion over the next ten years and the cost of covering employees by 20% to 40%. 
Enough already, progressives can now retort.  Now business, absent that lame excuse thta Obamacare kills job creation, , will have to start hiring. A hiring boom will ensue.   A revitalization of  hiring and an upturn of the economy will come  just in time to save Obama in the November elections

This scenario  reminds me of something Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr,  the famed jurist had to say,
I dare say that I have worked off my fundamental formula on you that the chief aim of man is to frame general propositions and that no general proposition is worth a damn.
Charles Krauthammer, MD. of Fox News and the Washington Post ,  says the “silly season” of spins and counter spins  is  upon us.   And as Harvey Robinson (1863-1936), an American historian,   remarked in The Human Comedy, “ Political campaigns distract attention from  the real issues  involved, and they paralyze what slight powers of cerebration man can normally muster.”
Tweet:  Media messaging in a political  campaign is  a messy propositon , as both sides spin messages  to outwit, embarrass, and trump the other.

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