Back in the dark ages of my youth, a college professor was lecturing on how to discern the difference between facts-based reporting and propaganda. On the surface, it doesn’t seem complicated. After all, facts are, well, facts, right?
That’s true- mostly. What’s difficult to discern is when the facts have been manipulated. How a fact is presented determines whether it’s straight-up reporting or propaganda.
The fact of the matter is that in today’s “woke” society facts - straight, unvarnished truths- can be hard to come by. Facts can comfort, anger or embarrass, so the “woke” parse their facts carefully.
There’s a point here, so bear with me.
Professor Kline chose to give us an example rather than rules. It is as demonstrative today as it was in 1972. There was a race staged between a Russian Zil and an American Chevrolet. The Chevy, to the surprise of no one (including the Zil engineers), easily won the race.
A small headline in the U-S papers reported “Chevy defeats Zil in Grudge Race”.
Russia’s Pravda reported the story -truthfully, but their headline put some spin on the story. It read: “Russians Finish Second in International Race, Americans Next To Last”.
Factually, both are correct. But one imparts spin on the story. That’s propaganda -and we see examples of propaganda disguised as straight-up reporting all day long anymore.
Yesterday, a “news release” came to us from a group called “ACCOUNTABLE.US” (Guess all capital letters makes it more legitimate), a “nonpartisan watchdog group that exposes corruption across all levels of government.” Two words in their own description made me nervous: “nonpartisan” and “watchdog”. Seeing those in close proximity, never fails to make me nervous.
ACCOUNTABLE was alerting me to the “fact” that in their close scrutiny of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s rulings they’d discovered that in eighty-six percent of the relevant cases, she “sided with police interests”.
The group’s release went on to tell me that the group had sent the Senate Judiciary Committee a letter “urging members to review the detailed analysis of Barrett’s record of consistently siding with law enforcement and corporations and against immigrants, workers and those alleging bias”.
A judge siding with the police in only eighty six percent of their cases causes me concern, but not for the same reason as ACCOUNTABLE.
Judge Barrett’s rulings, if symptomatic of anything, would indicate that in fourteen out of a hundred cases, law enforcement screwed something up. That concerns me greatly.
That wasn’t isn’t the point this “watchdog” was intending to make.
Their inference was that she was “too cozy” with “police interests.” That siding with the police was somehow “wrong.”
Shouldn’t a court find in the vast majority of cases that the police were correct in their actions? Wouldn’t inferring anything otherwise imply you’re saying there’s something wrong with judges finding police acted according to the law?
Here’s where I’m headed: when someone tells you they’re a “watchdog” you need to find out what they’re watching for, why they’re watching, and, importantly, for whom.
Moving on to “real” news- as you see in today’s Top Story, the Archery Trade Association has cancelled their 2021 Trade Show scheduled for January 7-9, 2021 in Indianapolis. Their cancellation has caused both consternation and relief across more than just the archery portion of the outdoor industry.
The consternation is from groups that haven’t made a go/no-go decision on their events.
For the record, I’m not referring to SHOT Show 2021. Having completed my pre-registration, I know they’re still full speed ahead.
But other events on the schedule while significant, are all significantly smaller than SHOT.
Despite the COVID-19 requirements, they might still be able to hold their events. But they’re still uncertain -and that’s the cause of the consternation.
The relief comes for manufacturers who have been struggling to work on parallel plans for 2021. Not knowing means creating two sets of plans: one for the “normal” marketing, the second to address what you do if there are no live events to announce your news.
With ATA now officially off the schedule, archery companies can concentrate their attention on how they get their message out to dealers and potential customers without the normal launch venue offered by the ATA.
We’re watching this developing situation closely and, as always, we’ll keep you posted. And if you’re one of those companies wondering how to get your message out, we’re working on ways to help with that, too.