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A very interesting article detailing the very meticulous nature of communication in modern politics. This is specifically about Bush and the precise language his speech writers use to evoke various emotions.
Substance matters less than appearance these days, which is why speech writers are so important. Vagueness and catch-phases are the new staple, which the Bush administation is especially good at. Their theory seems to be that if they give something a nice name for the catch-phrases and headlines, it will appear to be a good thing. My favourite is still Bush’s “Healthy Forest Initiative” which consisted of increased logging.
Another problem is that politicians have become television stars, which is especially evident since most (larger) political races are at least partially decided on charm and appearance. This has been a problem for a long time but is getting drastically worse as television becomes the center of the universe in “the west.” I don’t think this is necessarily the fault of the “political machine,” although they are not doing anything to stop it. As the general population becomes more disinterested in politics the real issues become less relevant and ones that are easy to grasp like charm and appearance are sought. This seems like a fairly natural side effect of television coupled with a lazy populace and yet another reason to dislike the “box”. Therefore, the blame for this lies entirely with us.
What will it take to fix this? Don’t let politicians appear on TV? That’ll never happen. We need to get off our butts and follow the real issues in politics