. . . Friday August 27, 2004

Insinuating a Media Tactic

The latest vocabulary and strategies that acompany Republican media appearances are distributed at fast and furious pace. Everyone gets the message and everyone gets on board. The latest angle worth looking at is the way Right Wingers handle those who interview them on television. It is critical to remember that those interviewers have had their reps softened up a bit from years of constant blasts from those talking and writing heads on the Right side of things.

I’ve described a few examples of the disciplined use of language here and here.

Here are a couple of other media tactics to look out for:

1. “Well, maybe if you’d just give me a chance to answer your question…”

This is becoming an old favorite. The person being interviewed, when presented with a question he or she can’t answer, simply complains that he or she is not being given a fair opportunity to answer the question by a mean, camouflaged Leftist operative posing as a journalist. The Swiftboaters have become incredibly adept at this.

“But did you ever actually see John Kerry while you were in Vietnam.”

“Well, if you’d just give me a chance to answer the question or express my point of view, maybe you’d understand where I’m coming from…”

“OK, but were you even in Vietnam?”

“I’m being steamrolled here. Give me a chance to answer.”

2. Attack the interviewer for asking questions.

This one is a little more advanced and is usually only employed by those with a lot of media experience and/or lawyers. Benjamin L. Ginsberg (who just resigned from the Bush campaign following the release of stories of his representation of the Swiftboat group) gave a clinic on this tactic during a recent interview on Nightline. Taking advantage of the fact that Ted was off duty, Ginsberg went on the attack. His complaint? Well, essentially he was upset that he was being interviewed. He asked whether DNC lawyers were being asked the same questions. Why was he being singled out? And over and over, he complained that he didn’t like the sound of what was being insinuated by the question. Clinton could’ve used a bit of this strategy. “Why are you focusing your question about the blowjob on me. Ask Gingrich about the dress.” At one point the interviewer (Chris Bury) had to explain to Ginsberg that he was being interviewed and singled out because he had resigned that very morning, had done a day-full of interviews and had agreed to come on Nightline. Needless to say, he didn’t like the insinuation of that either.

Concentration is important!