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Friday, July 22

Here we go again.

The sentence below appeared in the op-ed section of today's Daily Iowan:
"Are Iowa's Caucuses Worth Being First"?
"Above all, the Iowa caucuses put the candidates in the spotlight. It's a test. It might not be what the campaigns want, because extended media attention often leads to gaffes or loud, obnoxious shrieks (i.e., Howard Dean)."

So says Mark Simons, UI student.

Here is how I replied to the Daily Iowan:
"But of course, serious students of politics, journalism, and economics will realize that in the case cited, the media caused the "loud, obnoxious shriek" by manipulating the audio (from Truthout):
"Last year, a young cable news producer attended one of our twice-yearly Ethics Institutes at Washington and Lee University, in which students and journalists gather to discuss newsroom wrongdoing. He brought two clips.
"The first was the familiar pool footage of Dean in Iowa. The candidate filled the screen, no supporters were visible. Crowd noise was silenced by the microphone he held, which deadened ambient sounds. You saw only him and heard only his inexplicable screaming.
"The second clip was the same speech taped by a supporter on the floor of the hall. The difference was stunning. The place was packed. The noise was deafening. Dean was on the podium, but you couldn't hear him. The roar from his supporters was drowning him out.
"Dean was no longer scary, unhinged, volcanic, over the top. He was like the coach of a would-be championship NCAA football team at a pre-game rally, trying to be heard over a gym full of determined, wildly enthusiastic fans. I saw energy, not lunacy.
"The difference was context. As psychiatrist R.D. Laing once wrote: We see a woman on her knees, eyes closed, muttering to someone who isn't there. Of course, she's praying. But if we deny her that context, we naturally conclude she's insane.
"The Dean Scream footage that was repeatedly aired rests on a similar falsehood. It takes a man who in context was acting reasonably, and by stripping away that context transforms him into a lunatic.
"But that clip was aired an estimated 700 times on various cable and broadcast channels in the week after the Iowa caucus. The people who showed that clip are far more technically sophisticated than I and had to understand how tight visual framing and noise-suppression hardware can distort reality." (emph. PoLT)

"Dean scream" "media manipulation" yields 245 "hits" in Google Search. But this sounds like a conspiracy, doesn't it? Perish the thought! By the way, I would have phoned this message into the Daily Iowan's offices but I feared some of you wouldn't be able to hear me unless I was shrieking".

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