9 June, 2010 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media
The most potent propaganda relies on language loaded with hidden implications. In a recent speech, journalist Robert Fisk noted:
“When we westerners find that our enemies – al-Qaeda, for example, or the Taliban – have set off more bombs and staged more attacks than usual, we call it a spike in violence. Ah yes, a spike!
“A spike in violence, ladies and gentlemen is a word first used, according to my files, by a brigadier general in the Baghdad Green Zone in 2004. Yet now we use that phrase, we extemporise on it, we relay it on the air as our phrase.”
It seems reasonable to assert that violence has spiked in, say, Afghanistan because violence +has+ increased. But having accepted this reasonable, open implication, we will likely also accept the hidden prediction – that the rise in violence will be followed by a rapid decline. This is important because if we believed the violence might be long-lasting, perhaps worsening, then we might become concerned, outraged – we might even feel prompted to take action. A spike suggests that, by the time we get round to doing something, the problem may already have gone away.