Historically of course, the name Joseph Goebbels will always be much bigger than Ignacio Bunye. For while the latter may be an adept practitioner, it was Goebbels who invented and perfected the technique of the Big Lie, This is where one must have the nerve to LIE BIG and STICK TO IT; to deliver colossal falsehoods without batting an eyelash. The best description in the context of Goebbels' job of propping up the dictatorship of Hitler, comes from a report of the US Office of Strategic Services on the psychological techniques of the Nazi leader:
"... never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.Now one would think that a big fat lie should be easy to spot and expose. But they are not. So I am not going to try and catalogue all the Big Lies that Bunye has told during Gloriagate. Instead I shall focus only on those Big, Fat Bunye Lies that are so well-crafted that they really confuse and divide people. They are well-thought out by professional liars, sophists and casuists of the Palace who can turn Jews (such as Journalists) into cash-guzzling zombies or terrorist coddlers--take your pick!
I shall concentrate on Big Fat Bunye Lies that have what Goebbels loved in his own lies--the force of credibility from sheer size or cleverness. I want for my readers a polemic that reveals something scientific or mathematical or psychological at the heart of a Big Fat Lie. Luckily all of Bunye's Big Fat Lies are also stored along with his Small Scrawny Lies here. where we shall have, eventually a museum to Bunye's Big Fat Lies available for History's vast audience.
Today I am going to dissect the following Big Fat Lie taken right from his website at the Palace:
President's comments on media: Honest, straightforward assessment Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said this morning that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s comments that today’s Philippine media were fixated on negative developments were "her honest and straightforward assessment" which also happens to be shared by 41 percent of Filipinos nationwide.This was a very interesting Big Fat Lie from Bunye because it is subtle and understanding HOW it is a big fat lie can be very instructive. So let us begin the dissection by examining the following specimen questions that anyone, like the Palace and its front organization, AMA, could commission a public opinion poll around, thru Social Weather Stations or Pusle Asia Surveys:
"When we talk of Metro Manila, an even bigger 47 percent think that the country’s media have become ‘purely negative’ and are no longer helping the country" as shown by a survey conducted by the Social Welfare Station (SWS) between Aug. 26 and Sept. 25 this year, he added.
Bunye was referring to the President’s speech during the 31st Top Level Management Conference of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) held Thursday at Camp John Hay, Baguio City.
In her keynote address, the President deplored the negativism of Philippine media, saying "we must admit that some segments of the media are pushing the negative angle of stories too far and too often" while glossing over positive developments, including the bullish stock market, the strong peso and the growing investor confidence in the country.
She expressed disappointment with the "press overly sensitive of its prerogatives when at the same time, many of our journalists arrogated the license to fire away at anybody without even circumstantial evidence."
Bunye pointed out that the President is after objectivity and fairness, not praise or plaudits, adding that to read "suppression of press freedom" into her statements is way off the mark.
"The President considers media as an important democratic institution. She acknowledges the role and power of the press which should entail a high degree of responsibility and self-control for the public good," Bunye said.
Forty-one percent of Filipinos believe the country’s media have become purely negative and are no longer helping the country, according to the SWS survey commissioned by the AMA Education System, a regular subscriber to SWS’ quarterly "Social Weather Survey."
Malacanang obtained a copy of the survey, which involved a statistically representative sample of 1,200 voting age-adults throughout the country.
On the SWS test statement: "Often, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are purely negative and are no longer helping the country," 41 percent agreed, while only 29 percent disagreed.
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY NEGATIVE and are no longer helping the country,"
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY BORING and are no longer helping the country."
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY IRRELEVANT and are no longer helping the country."
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY PROPAGANDA and are no longer helping the country."
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY VIOLENT and are no longer helping the country."
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY MISLEADING and are no longer helping the country."
Notice that although I have replaced the phrase PURELY NEGATIVE in all the questions, but I have left intact the phrase "and are no longer helping the country." Now, while Set "A" questions seem to be rhetorically well-posed, there is something "OFF" about the Set B questions isn't there. That is because the generally NEGATIVE traits in Set A in pure form CANNOT ipso factor be helping the country. Whereas, in Set B, how can news that is "purely TRUE" not be of help to the country?
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY INFORMATIVE and are no longer helping the country."
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY CORRECT and are no longer helping the country."
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY RELEVANT and are no longer helping the country."
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY TRUE and are no longer helping the country."
"OFTEN, news on television, on radio and in newspapers are PURELY POSITIVE and are no longer helping the country."
Joseph Goebbels would've been proud of Bunye for commissioning this question because it elicits precisely the response desired by the propagandministerium from within the very structure of the sentence itself.
But it is far more subtle than just that, because of the introductory word also in all the questions and the original: OFTEN.
Look again at Set A and Set B, but remove the phrase "and are no longer helping the country". You will realize that ALL the questions can now be reasonably asnwered in the affirmative, because we OFTEN do see news that is purely, negative or boring or irrelevant or propagandistic or violent or informative or correct or relevant or true and positive. That is because the Media reports on everything that has to do with people, and these adjectives are all applicable to that daily narration of our foibles and triumphs, and so naturally we would OFTEN encounter examples from all categories. Now put the phrase back in and you will see again that the questions seem wrong because naturally purely positive things will surely be helping the country, not the other way around.
Ah, and here the memes of Goebbels run strong at the Palace, because by putting in the phrase "and are no longer helping the country" the respondents are led by the ear to the desired result: any statistic close to 50% is good enough for the propagandaministerium to claim that a lot of the the people agree the news is purely negative and no longer helping the country.
Why IS the result so close to 50%? It is because of another word in the question: PURELY. The public knows there is nothing PURE about the Media, because it IS a free Press and exercise its democratic prerogatives proudly and in your face. But that was the genius of "OFTEN".
I shall christen this particular Big Fat Bunye Lie as "the Falsehood of the Loaded Survey Question."
Damn these guys are really good. Sig Heil!
TICKLERThere is so much more to analyze about Bunye's most recent Big Fat Lie. But I know commenters will bring this up, so I will pose a question as tickler:
Why is it that people say that a survey must be rigged and inaccurate when they disagree with the published statistical result of a public opinion survey, but uphold the scientific integrity of the pollsters when the headline displays the answer they might have given themselves?
My own answer is that citizens intuitively sense that public opinion pollsters are really more like newspapers than true meteorologists. SWS "reporters" don't do anything but ask questions from randomly selected samples, those questions being posed and paid for by "advertisers" whom they call "subscribers" or "commissioners" of the surveys; while the editors use mathematical statistics to crunch a one-liner out of the data. But I should like to hear other opinions.
Also, I have blogrolled Social Weather Stations in case you want to observe the politics of statistics in action.