Sunday, June 25, 2017

Megaphones Part 3: Future Guilt

     My last two pieces on this subject covered media bias, and the media’s promotion of anger from the Left as it suppresses anger from the Right. Today’s focus is an old favorite whose exploitation by the Left is well known: guilt. But not guilt over something you, or anyone, has already done: guilt over something that hasn’t yet occurred and might never occur.

     Just now, our ears are ringing over denunciations of the GOP Senatorial caucus’s proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the luminaries of the Left. Here are a few of the choicest ones:

On CNN, Montel Williams: GOP Plan Would Send 140 Million to ‘Death.’
“Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party.” (Tweet by Hillary Clinton, yesterday.)
“Republicans are trying to pass a bill that could kill up to 27,000 in 2026 so they can give tax cuts to the wealthy.” ( Deleted tweet by Bernie Sanders yesterday.)
“Let us be clear and this is not trying to be overly dramatic: Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law. (Not-deleted tweet by Bernie Sanders, yesterday.)

[Thanks and applause to Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.]

     Note that the AHCA has only been on the Senate’s table for a few days. That’s hardly time enough to digest all the legalese. It’s certainly not time enough to perform a sober analysis of its impacts. And of course, all those “deaths” the Left is predicting are notional: that is, they haven’t yet happened and may never happen.

     However, the predictions are more than mildly disturbing. No doubt many Americans are accordingly disturbed. Most people can’t retain clarity of mind when the subject is death. That’s why there are so many jokes about it. So the contemplation of mass death as the result of a legislative action is enough to make us want to close our mental eyes and wish it away.

     He who is personally invested in some political issue and has taken a stance festooned with predictions like the above is the target. The predictors, their backers, and their media assistants are doing their best to hobble his mind with future guilt, which can be just as difficult to abide as the sort for one’s regretted personal deeds.

     That calls to mind the Generic Future Guilt Headline, which is surely familiar to my Gentle Readers:

GENERIC DISASTER AHEAD:
Women, Minorities, and the Poor to Suffer Worst

     And of course we mustn’t neglect “backlash” prognostications:

ETHNIC COMMITS HORRIBLE CRIME:
Other Ethnics Fear Backlash

     A wag in the UK composed the “ultimate backlash headline:”

British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow’s Train Bombing

     (See also this Michael Walsh column.) That had me laughing so hard that perfectly good Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry shot out of my nose. Yet the import of it is anything but funny.

     The imputation of “backlash” – against persons innocent of the deed, of course – is supposed to derail your anger-propelled reaction to the atrocity itself by shifting your focus to a notional future filled with even more horrible horrors, committed by people like you.

     And whatever your reaction to such media manhandling, Gentle Reader, I assure you that it works surprisingly well.


     “Reportage” decorated with predictions of hypothetical disasters that haven’t occurred and might not occur is merely disguised opinion-editorial. It has no place in the news section of a newspaper or a news broadcast. Yet we get quite a lot of it, often delivered in the thundering tones of an old-time fire-and-brimstone preacher who seeks to save his congregants from eternity in Hell by inflicting a little Hell on them right then and there. It’s the worst sort of emotional manipulation. It’s ample justification for never again consulting that paper or broadcast.

     Yet we get it in quantities that compel me to infer that it works on some of us. Maybe the suppression of our ability to feel righteous anger is the prerequisite. Whatever the case, it’s still coming.

     Now and then there are exceptions to the rule. An architect who had foreseen an event like the al-Qaeda airline attacks on the World Trade Center, for example, could also have predicted that the discontinuation of the use of asbestos in the walls of Twin Towers guarantees a massive death toll from such an event. Whether anyone did make such a prediction, I don’t know – before it occurred, such an assault was next to unthinkable – but after the event, as little as we like I-told-you-sos, we would have been compelled to grant him much retrospective respect.

     However, the doom-shouting from our media is usually not of that sort.


     Several others in the DextroSphere have argued that the Main Stream Media ought to be regarded as propagandists for the enemies of the West. Their arguments have much point. Yet there was a time when it wasn’t so, and many here in America are old enough to remember it.

     In the first of these pieces, I submitted that the MSM “must be delegitimized and rendered impotent.” This series is my contribution to the effort. If any of my Gentle Readers can think of other distinct elements to the media’s campaign against freedom, capitalism, and the bourgeois values, please submit it in the comments, that I might contribute my thoughts as well. Thanks in advance.

1 comment:

  1. Quote:Yet we get quite a lot of it, often delivered in the thundering tones of an old-time fire-and-brimstone preacher who seeks to save his congregants from eternity in Hell by inflicting a little Hell on them right then and there. It’s the worst sort of emotional manipulation. It’s ample justification for never again consulting that paper or broadcast.

    You couldn't have been referring to the ponderous Algore, right? "An Inconvenient Truth" has not influenced Algore to stop using private jets and motorcades, so he has, IMO, subtly gotten hoisted on his own petard(whatever that means...)
    The man will not engage in any verbal combat or even discussion, and knows about science as much as I know about football bats.

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