Media literacy

Biden continues our lesson in media literacy


Four months after the start of this new administration, I am very impressed with what Joe Biden has not done as president. Namely, he didn’t bite the hook – over and over again. Donald Trump gave us a 5-year master class on how to manipulate the media. His cunning hands couldn’t hide his movements. Now Biden shows how not to be manipulated by the media.

For too long, serious Democrats couldn’t help but refute all the lies of the opposition. Every record must be set. In doing so, they invariably repeat untruths, giving it a wider audience and more credibility. Biden will not play the game.

The president’s chair of tyrants has changed. Lawmakers are no longer intimidated by voters who contact their offices. They trained their interns to handle such things. The pulpit of bullies has been replaced by the megaphone of the media. Everything the president says today will be on the news tonight.

Message discipline has never been more important and Biden gives us his own master class. He completely ignores the stupid stories that other people make up about him. Is he a partisan hack, a senile puppet, or the chief Hamburglar? The president has nothing to say about these elements. Next question?

He has watched President Obama struggle with the mess of births. The answers only amplified the questions. Any concerns raised within the White House have been legitimized in the minds of many. Obama learned this lesson too late.

A related lesson: Journalists don’t always look for the truth. In today’s hyper-competitive media landscape, they want to grab the headlines. The questions are not always fair. What is the correct answer to the question “Do you still beat your wife?” “

You cannot answer “Yes” or “No”. You have to rephrase the question to your advantage: “I beat my wife at chess, and she beats me at Scrabble and pretty much everything.” After 25 years of happy marriage, I have learned to lose gracefully, through all of this practice. Checkmate.

These strategy maneuvers are like a board game, but with hearts and minds at stake.

When reporters revealed that nearly all of candidate Trump’s endorsements came from websites designed to look like legitimate news sites, they called them “fake news.” Trump retaliated by applying the label of “fake news” to any negative media coverage. It worked because he had the White House media megaphone.

We are now talking about the “big lie” – the claim that widespread voter fraud tipped the 2020 election to Biden. Trump’s response? His non-Twitter tweet: “The fraudulent presidential election of 2020… will, from this day forward, be known as THE BIG LIE! “

See how it works? If Trump can confuse which “big lie” is which, he can prevent people from entertaining new thoughts. When people get confused, they tend to hold onto their previous preferences.

Biden can’t bring clarity to the intentional confusion, so he doesn’t try. He now has the megaphone and he only uses it to show his determination to improve the daily lives of Americans. He invites a judgment based on his performance, not on how he convincingly parries every accusation thrown in his path.

Don Kahle ([email protected]) writes a column every Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

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