Saturday, April 28, 2012

Have Stick, Will Shout

This paragraph from CNN made me laugh out loud and is worth quoting in full:

Diskin's blunt commentary follows controversial remarks by Israel's top general, who said Iran is led by "very rational people" and doesn't appear poised to build a nuclear bomb that would threaten his nation.

We have left all rational discourse behind when calling people "very rational" is considered a controversial statement.  To be fair, the public dialogue concerning Iran/Israel is not really rational nor discourse.  It is more akin to "speak loudly and threaten with a big stick".

The above paragraph is a great example of how the media can quite effortlessly manipulate perception.  Taking the general's statement and putting it within the context of "controversial remarks" automatically makes the sterile, sexy.  The bland, bombastic.  Suddenly, we've got a story on our hands!  

I don't think that CNN or the author willingly intended to deceive.  In all likelihood, the author wished to inform the reader that the comments of Israel's top general caused an uproar in Israel.  One could call that uproar "controversial".  However, using that word without an explanation taints the content and allows a sense of disbelief or cynicism to creep throughout the paragraph.  One must read a controversial author's comments with a skeptical eye.

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