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posted: 4/5/2012 5:00 AM

Is this evidence of political agenda?

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  • This Joe Walsh picture appeared on the front page Feb. 17 and attracted angry comments from som readers that it was deliberately chosen to make him look bad.

      This Joe Walsh picture appeared on the front page Feb. 17 and attracted angry comments from som readers that it was deliberately chosen to make him look bad.

  • This Joe Walsh picture appeared on the front page March 25 and attracted angry comments from som readers that it was deliberately chosen to make him look bad.

      This Joe Walsh picture appeared on the front page March 25 and attracted angry comments from som readers that it was deliberately chosen to make him look bad.

 
 

Yes, I know you see two pictures of U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh with this page, but this is not a column about him. The photos are attached to illustrate another issue.

After each of those pictures ran on the front page of the Daily Herald to accompany stories in which the 8th District Republican figured prominently, I received angry phone calls from readers with this general theme (emphasis theirs): "The Daily Herald has proved its liberal stripes again. Why can't you EVER publish a decent picture of Joe Walsh. Every time you run his picture, he's looking angry or making a face. Every time you run a picture of his opponents, they're smiling and sweet."

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Now, I ask you: Are the attached photographs, each of which ran with similar pictures of Walsh's political opponents right down to the hand gestures, insulting? Are they different from the kind of expression or presentation you would see on the faces of other politicians in the paper? But as I said, our use of Joe Walsh's picture is not the issue I want to address. What I really want to focus on is the way that people, of all political or social viewpoints actually, superimpose their own prejudices on what they see and read in the paper.

In this case, the subject is Joe Walsh and the -- dear Lord, one tires of hearing this exhausted cliché -- liberal media. A certain segment of the population, encouraged by a top all-news cable television outlet, have fallen prey to that well-known propaganda strategy that if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. So, an endless line of broadcast bloviators has found a willing audience for the gross misrepresentation that "the mainstream media" -- hence, the Daily Herald and, apparently, all media except them -- is employing a subtle form of mind control to advance an overtly liberal agenda. (I think so that France can take us over, but I'm not entirely clear on the supposed objective.)

Interestingly, I spoke with some of the individuals who complained about the Joe Walsh pictures, and I asked them if they really believed those images showed the 8th District Republican congressman in a bad light or even in a worse light than the accompanying similar pictures of his opponents. In all cases, the complainers responded without a moment's hesitation. Of course, the images were intended to make Walsh look bad. Of course, I was lying when I stressed that our editors had striven specifically to find similar pictures of all candidates. Sigh.

I recall these conversations here, because I just can't let the propagandists win. I want to be open to legitimate criticism and respond without being defensive, but our letters columns are peppered every day with outrageous -- and unchallenged -- assertions about our motives. You hear and see the claims broadcast constantly, in email spam or spewed like mushroom spores across the vast and windy plains of the Internet. At some point, we have to show some contrary evidence, if only to keep the accusations in the realm of debatable theory instead of universally accepted truth.

So, look at the evidence attached. View the pictures and read the pages of the Daily Herald critically. Then, let's talk about who's pushing what agenda.

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