Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"Out of context" is the new "wide stance"

When you are busted for saying something horrible on right-wing radio there are multiple methods that are used to deal with any controversy. Here is a partial list. I have an example in mind for all of them. They range from:
  • sincere apologies

  • fake apologies

  • no apologies

  • non-apologies

  • aggressive non-apologies

  • attacks on your accusers

  • attacks on the people connect to your accusers

  • attacks on people NOT connected to your accusers

  • deny the words were ever said

  • retroactively remove the words

  • claim the words were only a metaphor

  • claim the words were a joke

  • claim the words were twisted

  • claim that the words weren't said recently so they don't count anymore

  • claim the people didn't hear the word(s) they thought they heard

  • Agree with the words and make more horrific remarks

  • Call everyone names

  • Cry that they are being picking on

  • Threaten anyone who reflects the words back to them with lawsuits

  • Have critics shut down using bogus legal maneuvers (Spocko waves hand)

  • Call people more names, associate the accuser(s) with followers of one of the worst mass murders of the 21st century

  • Claim you have "a wide stance when going to the bathroom." (oops, that's Larry Craig's)

  • Claim the words were "out of context"

My blog friends over at Online Blogintegrity did a whole detailed post on the "out of context" gambit. (warning, OBI contains dirty words, be sure to clutch your pearls before entering link to their new site)

The "out of context" gambit is an easy dodge to use because it takes the focus off what was said and moves the "debate" into something that they want to control. They will say "you have to listen to the entire four hours to get the context!" and in the meantime they can recontextualize their comments.

Now we could play this game too, "Hey you know that Dean Scream? EVERY TIME you use that audio clip I expect you to play the whole speech to give listeners the context. Also please play the audio clip from the ABC News' follow-up report, where we can hear he ambient audio from the event. Note that they admit Dean's mike feed was not what people heard, but the audio was exploited for political purposes."

This is all a part of the right-wing projection methods. They love to use quotes out of context, but when someone starts calling them on their words, they scream "OUT OF CONTEXT!" I just heard a DJ on the radio use a Dick Durbin quote out of context, he didn't bother to set up what is was about, when it was said or why it was said. This is a standard practice of right-wing talk radio.

So when you hear "out of context!" realize that they are probably working their way down the list above to attempt to avoid any consequences for their words.


Blogger ECOPHOTOS said...

I believe opprobrium for the ‘L’ word started when George #41 initiated the use of linguistic deception at the Republican National Convention in 1988 during his infamous “read my lips” speech. Sad to say, conservatives have been better then liberals at engaging in linguistic revisionism to alter reality or to disguise their true political ambitions.

For instance, “Compassionate conservative” has become political shorthand for “cutting the social safety net.” The slogan, “I am a uniter [sic] not a divider,” has meant, “divide and conquer using wedge politics.”

“Tax relief” has meant the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the corporate elite.

“Bankruptcy reform” protects the predatory lending practices of the banking sector.

And “tort reform” turned into a political payoff to the drug and insurance industries.

In the conservative lexicon, “Environmental Justice” does not mean clean air and water; it means the right of polluters to spread the impact of pollution across ethnic and racial lines.

Finally, “Judicial Activism” means the conservative agenda is not to “interpret” the Constitution but to change or ignore it.

It amazes me how the average voter still falls sucker to these kinds of political deceptions. How about offering a class in propaganda techniques before the next election?

Since the neo-cons outflanked us for years on the use of language, I am hoping we will have this opportunity to be better prepared and bite back.

About the problem of language, Wiki has a fairly good list of logical fallacies, always the building blocks of propaganda. However, no list would be complete without the so-called Freudian Defense Mechanisms. A modest contribution:

Denial - a failure to recognize an obvious consequence like a mismanaged war in Iraq, a incompetent secretary of defense, a corrupt attorney general, or a World Bank chairman with a conflict-of-interest problem;

Dissociation – a politician who campaigns on claims of “integrity in government” but violates laws, treaties, and the Constitution itself, while advancing oppressive and illegal policies in the name of “Freedom and Democracy;”

Projective Identification - attributing one’s own bad behavior to another, as in calling your opponent a “tax and spend liberal” while rewarding fat-cat cronies with no-bid contracts and racking up the largest budget deficit in history;

Splitting – an inability to see the world in subtle shades of grey but only in terms of “all black or all white,” as in “You are either with us or you are with the terrorists;”

Symbolization – invoking something positive to suppress something negative, i.e., defending a pre-emptive war with claims of “defending freedom and democracy” because all other arguments have proved false [like claims about WMDs that never existed and supposed meetings between Saddam and al-Qaeda that never happened];

Conversion – when a former “wet drunk” turns into a “dry drunk” but continues to engage in reckless behaviors without forethought as to consequences;

Outliar – This is not a pun about statistical aberrations, but a synonym for outright lying. One observed habit of a bogus POTUS is that he assuages the public with reassuring claims while masking more sinister motives. Example: “I am a uniter [sic], not a divider.” Result: the bogus POTUS positions himself to become the most divisive politician in history.

Political linguistics, methinks, is an area we really to work on.

8:19 PM  
Blogger spocko said...

Wow. This is a great comment!
I really like the Freudian Defense Mechanisms.

11:28 PM  
Blogger ¡El Gato Negro! said...

Grreat post Spocko, and good comment, ecophotos.

Even though eet ees hard, I theenk the best way to fight thees kind of theeng ees to put the comment eento eets original context, and publicize eet that way.

Most of the time, the weengnuts look worse once joo see what the original context of the statement was.

Een related news, Mara Liasson informed me only yesterday that "Squishy moderate" ees the new "Filthy hippie".


(oh, also, that second OBI leenk, she ees no working)

1:39 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Nice list, now will there be a book too?

I thought this would be interesting for Spock'O.

Jack Kingston Wants To COMMEND Rush Limbaugh

"House Republicans are threatening to launch a discharge petition on legislation that would ensure the future prosperity of conservative radio talk-show hosts but is expected to face opposition from Democratic leaders. On Monday evening, Republicans filed a rule with the House Rules Committee laying the groundwork for a petition that would force action on protecting radio from government regulation later this fall."

5:57 PM  
Blogger Pavel Chekov said...

When right-wing radio hosts stop making excuses for their bad behavior, the terrorists win.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Eli said...

What about claiming that they're trying to silence you/take away your right to free speech?

I predicted Rush & his supporters would use that one, and they sure did.

7:46 PM  
Blogger ECOPHOTOS said...

Hi Rich,

What a coincidence that you would raise the name of Jack Kingston in this thread. Moments ago, I visited C&L and then proceeded straight to the website of Jack Kingston, leaving an angry comment. Link as follows:


I see that comment moderation has been enabled. In case my comment is rejected, here is the full text of what I left:

swampcracker Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. _October 3rd, 2007 at 9:45 pm

I am speaking on behalf of my daughter who is in Iraq right now (third time), who is a liberal Democrat, who opposes the war, yet does her job regardless of hardships and hazards, who has earned two bronze stars and seven distinguished service citations for her performance. "Phoney soldier," indeed!

Since 9/11, my daughter has missed every family milestone - every holiday, every birth, and every death. I call it "Family Interrupted." With each passing year, there is always the empty place at the family dinner table. I watch the evening news and note the losses of other families, hoping my daughter's name will never appear on a casualty list. "Phoney soldier," indeed!

I think you can well understand my rage over Limbaugh’s remark, but I do not understand your grandstanding and pandering over him. Frankly it offends me.

Neither you nor Limbaugh support the troops unless you supports ALL the troops, including Democrats and liberals and those holding an opinion different than yours. There are liberals and Democrats who also serve in the military, and suffer hardships, and bleed and die when their country calls. Limbaugh’s remarks are disrespectful and hypocritical.

Know this: If you continue this bombast in Congress, I will do everything in my power to have you tossed out of office and disgraced in public.

So it remains to be seen if Jack Kingston's minions decide to keep my comment or delete it.

8:06 PM  
Blogger bacci40 said...

couple more points spocko...

its also important to note that your critics are being funded by george soros and/or are really a front group for hillary clinton.

dont you find it amazing that a boast from hillary, which in part is patently false, is being used to prove she started media matters.

so al gore didnt create the internet, but hillary started every left wing watchdog blog on the internets.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Not just left wing blogs but the middle-of-the-road blogs like this one!

We shouldn't let the extreme right define themselves as the middle as they usually do. They are the ones who want to destroy America -- even as they bear false witness.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Sheldon said...

Another interesting thing about this "out of context" excuse is that they claim that this is what Media Matters does!

Please....., anybody can go to the Media Matter's web site to read the transcripts and hear the audio or video, and in quite a bit of context.

In fact, Media Matters seems to be pretty straight forward, fact based outfit. Which is fine, but they have very little analysis in my opinion. Which is why I prefer FAIR

And to call Media Matters "smear" web site is just silly.

Thanks for your blog, this is I think my third of fourth visit, and I am putting you on my A list.

9:35 AM  

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