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Guilty by Headline - Dilbert Blog

Guilty by Headline

I’ve noticed that whenever the media wants to demonize a public figure, they follow a specific pattern:

1.      Quote the public figure out of context to make him look more ridiculous than usual.

2.      When the public figure tries to put the quote back in context, the headlines the next day will say, “[Public Figure] Doubles Down”

3.      When the public figure tries to clarify a hasty remark, or one taken out of context, the headline is “[Public Figure] Backpedals on Earlier Remarks.”

Backpedaling and doubling down are words the media use to signal their opinion that the figure in question is an unscrupulous weasel. It also helps distract from the fact that the media often invents news by removing context. Doubling down sounds a lot better than the more accurate alternative: “Public Figure Correctly Points Out that We Manufactured News by Removing Context.”

If you Google “doubles down” “Romney” you will discover that Romney allegedly doubled down on…

1.      Criticism of embassy attacks
2.      The 47% controversy
3.      False Jeep claims
4.      Defunding National Public Radio
5.      Obama’s “Apology Tour”
6.      Vouchercare
7.      Russia as geopolitical adversary
8.      “extreme” immigration positions

Do a similar search for “doubles down” and “Obama” and you find that the President doubled down on…

1.      History
2.      Tax hikes
3.      About not apologizing
4.      On “oddly incoherent critique of Romney”
5.      Bain Capital attacks
6.      Romney’s op-ed about automaker support
7.      Biden’s claim that middle class ‘buried’
8.      Big government

Meanwhile, Romney “backpedalled” on…

1.      47% comment
2.      Deportations
3.      FEMA
4.      Abortion

And President Obama “backpedalled” on…

1.      Economy being fine
2.      “above my pay grade” comment
3.      Libya attacks
4.      Keystone pipeline
5.      Private sector remarks
6.      Sequestration
7.      Ahmadinijad “elected” remark
8.      Gay marriage

You will not be surprised to learn that liberal media sites more often accused Romney of back pedaling and doubling down while conservative media sites more often say the same about President Obama.

My advice is that whenever you see backpedalling or doubling down in an alleged news story, stop reading immediately. The writer and the editor for that piece are trying to manipulate you into a belief that would not necessarily be supported by the facts within their proper context.