Conservative titan Ted Cruz gave a rousing stump speech to a packed house at a campaign rally in Perry, Georgia yesterday. Students of classical oratory would have appreciated (in between the shouting, sign-waving, and standing ovations) the structure of the speech as further evidence (if any were needed) of Cruz’s erudition. Far from being the typical disjointed mishmash of platitudes and strung-together bumper sticker slogans, it was a sterling example of a formal address – a closing argument, if you will, for his candidacy: an introduction, three main points, each with supporting evidence, and a call to action.
During the call to action, Cruz exhorted the citizens in attendance to speak with their votes, to say to themselves: ‘This is my future, this is my kids, this is my grandkids, this is my country, damn it!” He challenged us: “Stand up and fight for it together!”
Because Tuesday is a big day here in the South, the national media was following candidates around Georgia yesterday. Sometime during the afternoon or evening, CNN posted a story on its website about Cruz’s Saturday activities. The headline read:
Ted Cruz: ‘This is my country, damn it’
Around midnight last night, a friend and fellow Cruz supporter used the CNN site’s sharing feature to post the story to her Facebook page, which is where I first saw it. The graphic and link which appeared on my friend’s Facebook post is the one on the left above. Notice the (not so) subtle propaganda? A reader scrolling through a Facebook news feed without clicking through to read the entire news article would immediately receive the intended message….a message which fits in so well with the mainstream media’s narrative: Cruz is a creepy, scary megalomaniac who thinks the country belongs to him.
When I saw the Facebook post this morning, I did click through to the article. And lo, the headline has been altered. It now reads:
Cruz implores voters to say, ‘This is my country, damn it’
which is, of course, accurate reporting. Whether somebody called CNN on it, or somebody more fair-minded at CNN noticed the headline and fixed it is really immaterial. It was inexcusable in the first place. And how many, many people saw that original headline last night and received a gut-level negative impression of the most consistent conservative in the race during this very important weekend before the SEC Primary?
“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” – George Orwell, 1984
Stay vigilant, patriots.