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Predictable response

Vice President Cheney’s hunting accident again highlighted a little-noticed feature of our journalistic landscape that elicits predictable reactions from people when subsequently surveyed. I am talking about the manufactured news now dominating media channels. How often did we just hear statements like, “There is a lot of concern developing over the political impact of Dick Cheney’s shooting incident,” “The White House is now playing defense on the Vice President shooting his friend over the weekend,” etc.

And when you pay attention, it turns out that all we had are reporters interviewing opinionated reporters, reporters doing the attacking, and talking heads seeking air time. Again, no crowds of real people spontaneously gathered at the ranch or in town squares across the country, no flurry of letters reached newspaper editors’ desks. In short, nothing happened until those stalwarts of the fourth estate played ring around the rosy with each other enough times until people finally began to notice the noise. The “news” became not the incident itself but the manufactured blather that followed it. A properly designed survey can now get any desired result from Cheney being a political liability to calls for a nationwide hunting ban. Was it ever thus?

George Rebane



Nevada City


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