Do you know the movie ‘Tail Wags the Dog’ with Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman? It’s about a media spin doctor (De Niro) who, days before an election, has to come up with a plan to distract the voting public from a presidential sex scandal. The plan he instigates is to hire a Hollywood film producer (Hoffman) to construct and then televise all over the world a fake war with Albania. This black comedy had me thinking for ever afterwards about the news we are fed and how that news can only ever come through someone else’s filters – and agenda. I was, therefore, engrossed with Tom’s excellent, excellent post (‘The Danger of Simple Ideas’) on complicated news themes being distorted and simplified by people “grabbing terrible events and bending it to their own agendas by making it about one simple thing.” Ed
There’s always more to things than meets the eye. But looking at the news, it seems people only want to hear one side of the story. Subtlety is out; simplicity is in.
Most recently, and most appallingly, we’ve seen the vultures swoop down on the Pulse shooting in Orlando to make some cheap political capital for their causes of choice.
For Islamophobes, the only thing that matters is the background of the shooter, not the identity of the people he killed. (The inconvenient truth of his US citizenship is downplayed.)
Gun advocates shed crocodile tears for the victims while pretending the easy availability of weapons had nothing to do with the tragedy.
Meanwhile, the media cater to all this by covering events in a resolutely unintersectional manner, determined to make every person one-dimensional, every event ‘about’ a single theme.
Basically, too many people are grabbing this terrible event and bending it to their own agendas by making it about one simple thing.
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