Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Guess That Political Party Game – Daily Mail Edition

The ever-popular Guess That Political Party Game is back, where contestants try to name the political party of a disgraced, embarrassed, or convicted politician when his or her political party is not named in a media headline or article.  So far, everyone guessing "Democrat" has been right 99.9999% of the time!

Below is a screen shot of a part of the Daily Mail's web home page right now, where three stories about politicians are juxtaposed.  First, a "Republican congressman" is caught in a minor kerfuffle about excessive spending to decorate his office.  A problem, yes, but a minor one, and what about all the money the Clintons have spent decorating?  Not a word.  Then there's a story about "GOP" politicians "rushing to condemn."  All that intemperate rushing to judgment hotheadedness.  In both headlines, the political party is the first thing mentioned.

But then comes the really big story about the man who just resigned as the governor of Oregon after being caught up in a corruption scandal with an FBI criminal investigation heating up.  Looks like he's destroying evidence!  He's "disgraced."  Now here's something meaty!  But hmmmm, of just what political party is he a member?   No mention in the large headline, or in the caption to the photo.  One clicks through to the article.  No mention in the five point summary of the report.  One reads through the article, down past all the photos and ads.  Finally, there at the very end the "disgraced" ex-governor's political party is mentioned at last – though in an oblique way at that. 

OK now – Guess That Political Party!

It's obvious the lie that's going on here.  The Daily Mail knows that by placing the big story of the corrupt unnamed Democrat just below two negative headlines about named Republicans, it creates the impression for inattentive readers that the third story is about a Republican as well.  The Daily Mail also knows that few people will click through to start reading the article, and that even fewer will read all the way to the end where the corrupt politician's political party is finally mentioned.  By mentioning the Democrat party only at the very end, the Daily Mail can try to deflect accusations of political bias by stating that it did indeed mention the Democrat party of the politician, but by placing the mention at the very end it ensures few readers of the original headline will ever know the truth.

R Balsamo

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