Saturday, January 19, 2008

Link TV: There You Go Again: Orwell Comes to America - Deceiving Images

Last evening, while awaiting the arrival of my partner for dinner, I had the great fortune to have tuned into a panel discussion on Link TV, one of my favorite media outlets. From their mission statement, you learn that:
Link TV broadcasts programs that engage, educate and activate viewers to become involved in the world. These programs provide a unique perspective on international news, current events, and diverse cultures, presenting issues not often covered in the U.S. media. We connect American viewers with people at the heart of breaking events, organizations in the forefront of social change and the cultures of an increasingly global community.

Last night's panel discussion, There You Go Again: Orwell Comes to America - Deceiving Images was held in the New York Public Library and covered the topics of psycholinguistics and manipulation as tools of the political process in the United States.

This panel, "Deceiving Images: The Science of Manipulation" features three experts in the field of communication - George Lakoff, Frank Luntz and Drew Westen - who are joined by moderator Nicholas Lemann, and asks whether the age of propaganda is over or if politicians and pundits are just refining the techniques of manipulation. These panelists from both the left and right reveal their secrets about how politicians manipulate the public.

Please take the time to watch this fascinating discussion that shows why the Democratic Party has lost the agenda war to the Republicans for the past 30 years and see how our minds are manipulated by the careful crafting of political discourse by those seeking our votes.

Have you ever wondered how the word "liberal" has become so reviled? If you have had the good fortune to have lived in North Carolina, you would know that Jesse Helms, our former Senator, was one of the pioneers of associating the word "liberal" with other terms that bring a negative impression along for the ride. You will see how the Republican Party has used the technique to link the "war on terror" to Iraq so expertly that the American public is muddled about the links between terrorism and our invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein. You can also see a very powerful rebuttal to the phrase "Support Our Troops". This mantra was pinpointed as a particularly egregious example of deceitful manipulation by the Bush Administration to maintain support for the occupation of Iraq by making those who oppose the war appear to oppose our troops. Have you ever thought about the powerful subliminal messages included in words like "homeland security" and "evil-doers"? It is time to move into the realm of meta-language and to examine how words cause emotional responses in the electorate that would make any potential voting machine tampering seem totally benign.

The video is long, but engaging, particularly if you are a student of language, psychotherapy or the art of persuasion/manipulation. The Democratic Party would do well to take this video into the training rooms for all of its candidates. By grasping the language used by the Republicans, the Democratic Party can reconnect to its base and perhaps accomplish something to put this country back on track.



Blogger Shane said...

I really agree with you about the power of words and how they can be turned and used against us. It's the way gay rights groups use quotes for the term "ex-gay" - which to me is correct - but then they use quotes for "gay marriage" or "gay" to try and act as though it doesn't exist or isn't valid.

1/25/2008 06:58:00 PM  

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