The Political Narrative

January 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm 3 comments


Regarding the recent shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, one cannot help but note a particular pattern in the reporting:

It is all about politics. Now was this person who shot 12 people (killing six including a 9 year old girl) motivated by political ideology? Well nobody knows, he hasn’t said anything to police about why he did what he did, but it does make it such a more exciting story if we connect it with politics doesn’t it?

Regardless of whether we find out at some point what his views are, I think this is a great demonstration of the importance of speculation and narrative in news media. The evidence is inconsequential compared to the narrative. The facts occupy 10-20% of the time and the rest is left to ‘experts’ discussing their implications.

To be completely honest the blog-o-sphere (or whatever buzz term we’re using to describe it now) isn’t that much better. It mostly mirrors the views presented by media outlets (unsurprisingly) and offers up the kind of loose correlation-based evidence, which people would expect from conspiracy theories, regarding the reasons behind this shooting.

I actually bothered to to listen to Rush Limbaugh to find out what his reaction would be. At first it seemed he was giving a level headed response as to why it’s unfair to attribute political motivations to this attack without evidence and to use it as an association attack against the Tea Party. Of course he then went into his own, “The Left are the REAL source of political hate!” rant. This equal (and equally stupid) response is being championed by the right. I mean they play the victim when the left isn’t wrongly attacking them, so I guess it’s to be expected that they’d go the extra credibility-destroying mile when their victimization might actually be legitimate. You can find their “counter argument” here:

Increasingly I am convinced that following the news is not only unnecessary, but actually detrimental in that it distorts people’s views of reality much more than informs them. If you really want to see what motivated this killer, then I suggest checking out his YouTube account, but all it says to me is, “I’m crazy.”


Entry filed under: Evil.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. TomH  |  January 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    I really couldn’t care less about the AZ shooting. All the news on Fox and the rest of the media is so irrelevant to real issues.

    • 2. andrewclunn  |  January 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Yeah. I like to keep myself abreast of views I disagree with, but even the mainstream media for opinions I’m against are lacking in quality. If I could recommend you some things I suggest:



      i don’t always agree with what’s said by these programs, but they at least always current and really give facts (well there’s the occasional fluff piece, but being online, you can easily skip those/)

      Also, I know you and I don’t agree on religion, but if there’s an atheist who I think will appeal to your sensibilities it’s Pat Condell.

  • 3. math games  |  January 30, 2011 at 2:20 am



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