Doublespeak In the Post-Fact Society

One of our fair readers posted an interesting comment on the McCain campaign and Republicans in general with the following observations:

  • They invent death from the sky and call it a Patriot Missile.
  • They rape the environment and call it the “Healthy Forests Initiative”
  • They spy on Americans and call it the “Patriot Act.”
  • Now they put up Bush in bra and call it “change!”

This got me to thinking that Republicans are just better at Doublespeak (coined by Orwell, defined by Wikipedia as “language constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning often resulting in a communication bypass”).  But, maybe the American electorate aren’t looking for “actual meaning” – rather close approximations of truth and reality.

Farhad Manjoo writes in his book “True Enough”:

Facts are a stock of faltering value.  The phenomenon that scholars call “media fragmentation” – the disintegration of the mass media  into the many niches of the Web, cable news, and talk radio – lets us consume news that we like and avoid news that we don’t, leading people to receive reality in a way the conforms  to the long-held beliefs…it’s clear that the McCain camp is benefiting from some of these forces.  [also, see Swift Boat Veterans for Truth]

The question is whether or not Obama should sink to this level and if he can do so effectively.  So far, it appears that scrutiny and fact checking on Palin’s background is only making her stronger (and keeping her and the McCain campaign on the front pages – where is Biden?) by calling attention to the “larger truths” that she’s new, she’s popular in Alaska, and she’s an insurgent. 

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1 Response to “Doublespeak In the Post-Fact Society”


  1. 1 Matt H. September 22, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    If it is not double speak… just bend the facts to fit your story… check out his episode from the daily show on Sarah Palin And Republican Hypocrisy. Enjoy!


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