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"Nobody Heard What You Said" a piece from 2004 about journalism today, starting with Reagan...

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jillan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:08 PM
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"Nobody Heard What You Said" a piece from 2004 about journalism today, starting with Reagan...
I just stumbled across this, and thought it was worth posting.
It's all about the politics of perception, as proven by Leslie Stahl as she covered Reagan.

http://archive.pressthink.org/2004/06/09/reagan_words_p...


JUNE 9, 2004
"Nobody heard what you said." Lesley Stahl's Fable About Reagan and the Press.
They don't care what we say, only what shows on television. Just as Reagan doesn't care if what he says is true. Lost in the visuals, seduced by an actor, the American people don't care about the "tough" reporting we've done. Such was the sense of bafflement in the Washington press corps-- then. But some of the ideas that produced it are still floating around today.

In 1984, Stahl had produced an extended report for CBS trying to document the contradictions between what Reagan said and what he did. It showed him speaking at the Special Olympics and at a nursing home, and reported that Reagan had cut funding to children with disabilities and opposed funding for public health. Ill let Somerby tell the rest:

Dick Darman clued in Lesley Stahlits all about the pictures. During the 1984 presidential campaign, Stahl aired a lengthy report on the CBS Evening News; it was broadly critical of President Reagan. In her recent book, Reporting Live, Stahl described her thoughts as the piece went to air:
STAHL (page 210): I knew the piece would have an impact, if only because it was so long: five minutes and 40 seconds, practically a documentary in Evening News terms. I worried that my sources at the White House would be angry enough to freeze me out.

But that isnt what happened, she says. When the piece aired, Darman called from the White House. Way to go, kiddo, he said to Stahl. What a great piece. We loved it. Stahl replied, Didnt you hear what I said ? Darmans answer has been frequently quoted:

STAHL: Nobody heard what you said.

Did I hear him right? Come again?

You guys in Televisionland havent figured it out, have you? When the pictures are powerful and emotional, they override if not completely drown out the sound. I mean it, Lesley. Nobody heard you.

Stahls critical report about President Reagan had been accompanied by generally upbeat visuals. According to Darmans theory, the pictures registered more with viewers than anything Stahl had said....

.....They dont care what we say, only what is shown on television. Just as Reagan doesnt care if what he says is true, as long as it makes a great story. And by extension the American people dont care about the tough, factual reporting weve done on Reagan (five minutes and 40 seconds, practically a documentary!) because they are lost in the visuals, seduced by a simpler story line than the press could offer by recounting the facts.




That's today's media in a nutshell, isn't it? Americans are seduced by a President landing on an aircraft carrier wearing fatigues and standing infront of a banner that reads Mission Accomplished. They are seduced by pictures and simple words even when the cold hard truth is staring them right in the face. It's not just Republicans that have mastered this... I could, but won't, bring up some of our greatest seductions as well.

Nobody heard what you said. The sad truth of American journalism.
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jillan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 11:18 PM
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1. Lol - nobody heard what I said. Hope some people read it.
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 12:04 AM
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2. Wow -- very important and helpful.
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 12:07 AM
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3. Wow. Very important and helpful.
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