July 28, 2007

Bill O'Reilly: Propaganda Pimp

There's a great story at News Corpse about Faux News blowhard Bill O'Reilly: a recent Indiana University study has looked at the way O'Reilly uses his TV program for spreading propaganda. No doubt the master would be shedding tears of joy to see how well his pupil is doing.

Researchers at Indiana University have just published the results of a study that provides academic validation that O'Reilly is a textbook propagandist. Amongst the key findings is that:

"...the Fox News personality consistently paints certain people and groups as villains and others as victims to present the world, as he sees it, through political rhetoric."

The study itemized seven propaganda devices as defined by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis:

  • Name calling - giving something a bad label to make the audience reject it without examining the evidence.
  • Glittering generalities - the opposite of name calling.
  • Card stacking - the selective use of facts and half-truths.
  • Bandwagon - appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd.
  • Plain folks - an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are “of the people.”
  • Transfer - carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept.
  • Testimonials - involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.

    O’Reilly was found to have employed six of the seven nearly 13 times each minute. This is an important statistic because it is not merely the use of these devices that define their effect. It is the repetition and the absence of any substantive debate that produces the desired manipulation of free thought. This is why O'Reilly repeatedly interrupts and cuts off his guests - to keep them from diluting the rhetorical Kool-Aid. And contrary to his assertions that he doesn't "do personal attacks," IU has documented the reality that any cognitively functional bipedal hominoid has already figured out - O'Reilly is a bullying buffoon:

    "O’Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night." [See the Stalking Points Memos]

    Of course, O'Reilly didn't invent these tactics. They have been used before by governments, churches and corporations. The notorious American racist/anti-semite/nazi sympathizer, Father Charles Coughlin, served a bit of each of those masters. But O'Reilly has an unprecedented platform from which to spew his bile. And he is not merely a pundit expressing his opinions. He routinely calls on his disciples to act on his directives, whether they be boycotts, petitions, marches, or political activism and voting.
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