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Saturday, September 12, 2020
No Agenda-The Saturday Memo
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Smokin' up California
What is a "Whipsaw?"
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Yesterdays view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from the East Bay. You can barely make out the 6 PM sun as a small orange dot over the Golden Gate bridge. It's there. This is mostly smoke causing the visibility problem. The foreground shows the Eastshore freeway.
Zoom in on the sun and you get this.
In this newsletter I wanted to take some time out to begin to define some of the more complex concepts we use to deconstruct news stories and news presentations, especially from the mainstream media. This is necessary because these sources are not providing news at all but promoting agendas, usually left leaning. They have become outlets for subtle but powerful propaganda. The reasons for this are varied and stem from of the institutions of higher education.
Thus a new project to define the various systems and terms is being started with the classic “whipsaw,” a technique used widely by the news networks (and others) to trick listeners into believing misleading reporting. The definition follows.
This is a trick employed mostly by network TV news. It’s usually used to promote a false narrative or an agenda that doesn’t match the actual facts. It typically begins with an assertion such as the President said there will be no more troops deployed. The assertion is then followed by a clip of the President saying something about something. The viewer is led to believe by the news reporter that the President is going to confirm the “no more troops will be deployed.” But instead the President talks about something else and never actually confirms the assertion with his own words and may never had said such a thing in the first place. Since the viewer is “set-up” to hear the confirmation, the viewer believes they actually heard the confirmation when they did not. They were whipsawed.
This can be considered a form of neural-linguistic programming and it is very dishonest journalism.
This phenomenon is demonstratable but unless you listen more than once it is very difficult to catch. You’ll very seldom notice this if you are passively listening to the news. The network news, NPR and PBS do it constantly.
Here are exact transcripts from two examples.
Example One from Weijia Jiang of CBS in late August of 2020 doing a wrap on Trump’s Convention speech.
Weijia Jiang: “Mr. Trump condemned looters and rioters and said only he can ensure law and order.”
Cut to Donald Trump: “My administration will always stand with the men and women of law enforcement.”
Classic whipsaw. Jiang is a multiple offender as are many of the reporters at CBS. Here she cuts to a clip that doesn’t mention looters and rioters which is nowhere as egregious as her using the word “said” in reference to a non-existent comment. He never “said” that only HE can ensure law and order. This was a lie derived from biased extrapolation. This quote does not exist in the speech. She tips off her bias at the top with the rude use of Mister Trump rather than President Trump. This is common with “he’s not my President” activists and has no place on objective network news.
Example Two. A second different kind of example comes again from CBS, this time from Nancy Cordes. This was from 2017 when Jeff Flake announced the end of his short Senate career. This got the attention of the entire mainstream media although Flake only managed one-term. He was an anti-Trump Republican and that gets the attention of the networks. And as a bonus you got this whipsaw from Cordes.
Nancy Cordes: “But the Senate Chaplin Barry Black hailed Flake’s courage and asked for some divine intervention.”
Cut to Barry Black: “Lord, provide us with more patriots who will stand for right, regardless of the consequences.”
Cordes is a master of subtle whipsaws that manipulate the listener with some strong word power. Here she leads up to the Barry Black somewhat simple and common prayer with some drama. Cordes claims that he is hailing Flake’s courage and asking for cosmic intervention. There is no cry for intervention in this prayer. It is a Christian plea for more good men and women. And these good patriots are not necessarily even equated with Jeff Flake. It was a whipsaw.
CBS is not the only offender as mentioned above, but they are the best to study since they do it so often with good examples on most newscasts. -- jcd
This cartoon, done in 2009, indicated a problem long before Trump came along. Research can easily find find many examples going back decades.
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Expect Award-winning shots this year
Look for a lot of great dramatic fire photograaphy.