Thursday, May 03, 2007

O'Rielly "less nuanced" than Father Charles Couglin

No Bill O'Rielly
Bill O'Rielly makes me snicker uncontrollably whenever he says he's "fair and balanced" or refers to his show as "The No-Spin Zone." Fact is, he's a hack and a mouthpiece, anyone who'd ever seen him on the trash-tv show, "Hard Copy" knows that his journalistic standards are short of that tolerated by the "National Enquirer."

But it's nice to have real data to expose the lazy, lying slug for what he is, using actual data based on his actual content.

When the data show you to be "less nuanced" than Father Charles Coughlin, you are not "fair and balanced," you are in fact fairly unbalanced. Perhaps even in a clinical sense!

Content analysis of O'Reilly's rhetoric finds spin to be a 'factor': "Using analysis techniques first developed in the 1930s by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Conway, Grabe and Grieves found that O'Reilly employed six of the seven propaganda devices nearly 13 times each minute in his editorials. His editorials also are presented on his Web site and in his newspaper columns.

The seven propaganda devices include:

  • 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; and
  • Testimonials -- involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.

The same techniques were used during the late 1930s to study another prominent voice in a war-era, Father Charles Coughlin. His sermons evolved into a darker message of anti-Semitism and fascism, and he became a defender of Hitler and Mussolini. In this study, O'Reilly is a heavier and less-nuanced user of the propaganda devices than Coughlin."

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