May 2, 2007

O'Reilly exposed

People that know me, know that I despise O'Reilly. Not lightly, but with all my heart. The main reason is because while everyone is entitled to its opinion on things and to preach whatever they want, there is a difference between cheap propaganda and journalism.

If O'Reilly had positioned himself as an Imus or a Howard Stern I would still don't like him, but at least there would not be the pretension of real journalism or fairness. What really gets to me is that while he is doing cheap propaganda, he wants to make it look like journalism and analysis. What is not.

I like intelligent discussions. But I hate propaganda, because propaganda works on the premises that you the one receiving the message, you are an idiot. Propaganda uses basic feelings like love or fear to get your thoughts killed by more primal instincts. Propaganda uses name calling and bully, bold slogans, to simplify and make complex things look simpler.

As Einstein said one "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." And the reason behind this is that if you make something 'simpler', it is not anymore that thing that you were trying to explain but something else.

So, among millions of other things, what makes me hate O'Reilly is not his 'opinions' but that he present those to millions of people and he presents them as if they were 'analysis' and depth thinking. Is not. Is a bunch of slogans well articulated.

I know it works. Propaganda was Hitler's first ally with the German masses. Propaganda works good with masses, with people that do not want to think by themselves. But when intelligent people falls for it, and can't see the difference between propaganda and journalism or analysis, that is a problem.

This is a study from the University of Indiana, that analyzes O'Reilly's program not from a political point of view but from a communications' point of view. It analyzes the techniques used, ergo not the opinions delivered but how they are delivered. Basically it exposes his cheap tricks.

Sadly, this is the kind of things that the 'masses' would not read. They want quick slogans and simpler explanations and 27 pages is probably too much to read. But those that have no problems with reading will find this a very interesting paper no matter how they like O'Reilly or not.


Unknown said...

Ok. The battle is on! I love O'Reilly!!!

#1 You didn't back up your assertions with even one example. I am willing to bet that you have never even watched the show the whole way through. So say what you will and express your opinions, but use fact to back it up. That is the whole point of O'Reilly's show, and he does it successfully. Where are you getting your information about him--the grapevine, other third party O'Reilly haters? Or have you actually watched the show, not just things taken out of context on (the very funny) John Stewart show?

#2 Journalists can certainly take the road of analysis, especially when they state it up front, like O'Reilly does. What is important is backing up the statements with facts, which he also does. In addition to that, he has guests that are on both sides of the arguments. He usually invites the direct people that have created the news story in the first place. And he questions them in a tough way, both sides. He's not a puppet for either side of an argument, but of course in an analysis program, there are opinions.

I don't always agree with O'Reilly, and he doesn't always agree with either side of the argument that he presents and the guests that are on there to defend them. You are to make up your own mind about the story. Of course O'Reilly makes sure you know his opinion, but you are not bullied into changing your mind if you lay out your own opinion and back it up with facts.

People don't watch his show b/c of the "shock" factor like they do Imus or Howard Stern. And if you ever heard the viewer mail at the end of the show, you'd know that.

I'm sure we can go on forever and never agree, so I'll end my comments here.



San said...

You assume wrong. I do not see his show ANYMORE but I used to, and the whole thing. The reason I was watching it is because I believe that you should know your friends but you should know your enemies better, so I watched it at least once a week for almost a year.

But the reason I decided to stop watching it, is because I don't want to give him not even 0.0000001 more of rating (and of course for my health too).

About #2 that is my point exactly. Before defending him -asking for an example, read the paper. Is full of examples.

And after reading the paper, you may still like him or his opinions, but if anything you may understand better what infuriates me so much about his show. Not JUST his opinions, but the techniques he used to fool people into believe that those opinions are backed with facts.

Just read the paper and then whenever you want the battle continues!

Loooove you too! San :)

Anonymous said...

oh, please how can you argue with insanity? Who is O'Reilley again?
He actually has something to say that's worth pondering?

And to expand on Sandra's comments: I don't think that he should actually be blamed for anything. He is a reflection of the media. If
not O'reilly, then someone else would be there instead. I mean they did
find this Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace, Sean Hannity, the list is
practically endless.
While I do agree that it is more difficult to fight the whole system, it really should be pointed out that those people are just "doing their jobs." Remember the German soldiers excuse? I was just following orders. Doing the job has the same result: it somehow frees everyone
form one of the most profound functions characteristic of the humans:


Unknown said...

Liberal Sandra (ooops, that a double name calling according to that study).

I'll admit I still haven't read the study in it's entirety, but the fact that they are including benign terms such as liberal and conservative among others in their "analysis" on name-calling propaganda is grossly dishonest. Makes me distrust the rest of their "facts".


Distrustful Rob (I hate when I call myself names!)

San said...

That is one of the beauties of their work. They explain how words that are not ´name calling´per se can become ´name calling´ because of how they are mixed with other words or what their context is. If you have said my anti-american liberal friend, liberal mixed with anti-american not only is name calling but is giving the wrong idea that they go together.

And believe me, the main reason I love this study is because it may help everyone to be a bit more distrustful. I am one by nature and I don´t believe even the things I want to believe.

But if you read this carefully, as it just exposes techniques, you will be able to see these techniques when used by anyone, right, left or freethinkers (that let´s get this straight, is NOT the same as left).

So finish your reading, try to avoid thinking on O´Reilly´s terms (meaning simplifying everything to the point of victims, villains or virtous) and go until the end.

Hopefully you will still be distrustful of this study but a bit more distrustful generally, and maybe you will still like o´reilly because you like his opinions and you agree with him but you will be a bit more distrustful of the ¨facts¨ he presents.

There is nothing wrong to say I like red because is the color of blood and I like bloody things. Is different to say we should all agree that the perfect colour is red, because it represents blood, therefore passion and it represents a sunset, therefore energy....