There was an article in the National Review that caught my eye today. It was about how the media covered the different riots this summer and how they treated capitol rioters in January.
We hold concepts in our brain through language. When we think of the word elephant we don’t picture in our minds a dog or a cat. We envision a big grey animal with a trunk and four legs among other things. This is simply the nature of how we retain knowledge. Once firmly planted in our brains it takes some effort to correct erroneous concepts that are attached to words. So it’s no surprise that the media would refer to the same act with two different different words, uprising and insurrection. Both words connotate the same exact action. The only difference is the intent and who holds the blame.
Insurrectionists are people who try to subvert a legal process for their own personal agenda. Someone participating in an uprising typically has a more positive connotation. They are fighting against something corrupt. That being said, the action is the same.
This is exactly the way that perceptions are created. The words we use are very important in creating the cognitive concepts in our minds. Semantic meanings have consequences. The media knows this and oftentimes go to great lengths to change the perception. The media has a lot of power to change our perception of reality. They have done this on a number of occasions.
No one at this point can say that the media is not bias. They are. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR all have their bias. The bias is not the problem. The lack of admission about the bias is the problem. Every single news organization tries to play itself off as balanced. They are not. They are turning into propagandists. Each has an agenda. This is why people like Don Lemon, Rachael Maddow, Chris Cuomo, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Laura Ingraham are so popular. People want an opinion, not the news. Our standard for journalism has changed. We no longer want the truth. We want validation of the truth and that is what opinion host allow us to do.
These opinion “journalists” use language to change the concepts in our mind. They frame the debate in their own terms according to their bias.
One perfect example of this is a recent interview that Rand Paul had with George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos kept trying to frame the debate in his terms of “lying.” Rand Paul pushed back on this and tried to point out that there was another side to the debate but Stephanopoulos would not relent. He kept up the language to push his narrative. See the exchange below.
Why did Stephanopoulos not engage in the claims of unconstitutionality brought up by Paul? He simply appealed to authority and doubled down on the lie claim. The reason why is that he was intentionally trying to push the narrative of Republicans lying.
People need to understand the power of words to change concepts and our perceptions of reality. Words are powerful. Don’t be fooled.