One of the reasons discourse has been caustic, misinformed, and dangerous is because of the practice by many in the main stream media of false equivalencies.
The NRA released an ad in which they target the President by insinuating the President protects his kids with armed security while he does not want the same for the average American kid. Mayor Bloomberg’s Demand a Plan initiative released a video in which children appear. The 30-second ad splices together photos of many adorable children, with a child’s voiceover that says, “the NRA once supported background checks.” Then: a shot of NRA CEO and executive vice president Wayne Lapierre speaking with Congress in 1999 explicitly stating that the NRA supports background checks; a position the NRA no longer support (hypocrisy?). “America can do this for us,” says a child’s voice, with more pictures of kids playing in the background. “Please.” This is a very effective message that the NRA showing the disingenuousness of the NRA.
Today on supposedly liberal MSNBC, Thomas Roberts and the mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed had the following interchange.
MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts:
As the policy debate continues, there’s been a lot of debate about the use of children. This ad features children’s voices yet the NRA was blasted for releasing an ad that mentioned President Obama’s daughters. How do you justify the use of children’s voices in this ad to score a political point?
Score a political point? Is the massacre of the children from Sandy Hook Elementary school something that should be discussed in terms of a political point? Why would Thomas give credibility to any negative discussion involving using children in an ad begging for action to protect them.
The mayor was ready.
Mayor Kasim Reed
Well Tom I think that is absolute false equivalency. Bringing the president’s children who are well known and who have to be protected is fundamentally different than using the voice of a child to echo a horrible tragedy that occurred in Newtown where 20 children were lost. No one was cited as part of this ad. The only thing that occurred is that a child’s voice was used to narrate testimony that is completely opposite of the current position of the other side. So to say that the ad that ran during the Super Bowl is comparable to the ad that used the president’s children I just think is a case, massive case of false equivalency. They’re not the same and we should not be prohibited from using the voice of children when at the end of the day they were the victims who were shot repeatedly, multiple times by that monster at Sandy Hook.
If the spokespeople of good, the spokespeople for policies that support real middle class values would all be as concise as Mayor Reed was in his response to the false equivalency game played by most in the mainstream media, Americans would be much more educated on the realities of today’s politics. The massacre at Sandy Hook was horrendous. However it is a massacre that occurs daily with guns. One must not allow false equivalencies, bait and switches, and other techniques to remove focus from the real discussion, from the real societal problems.
It is imperative that going forward, those with the correct message hit back and do not allow the mainstream media that usually carry the torch for the Plutocracy at worst, or at best is so lazy that they allow the perpetrators of bad deeds to add false equivalencies into the discourse to succeed. When Wayne Lapierre gave his initial rebuttal to the massacre in Connecticut, the points he pushed were intended to seed the discourse with false equivalencies. He has been partially successful but many are starting to call it out appropriately.