I have tried my best to ignore the Iowa caucuses, but the news about them has been hard to avoid. Last night on CNN some talking heads were opining about the results from Iowa. One of the heads, David Gurgen, made a comment along the lines that Hillary needed to change her message to appeal to the voter's hearts rather than being so analytical. In other words, use an emotional based appeal like the successful candidates, Obama and Huckabee. Just for the record, I'm not a Hillary fan. However, Gurgen's comment, and I've heard similar comments about Hillary's approach from other MSM commentators on outlets like NPR, goes to heart of the problem with the MSM. As John Hockenberry points out in this MIT Technology Review article
, the MSM goes for the "emotional center" of the story. Why do we get so many stories about lost white girls (white woman of the month), drunk celebs, and holiday exercise tips? As Hockenberry points out, MSM news reassures the audience by telling it what it already knows rather than challenging it to learn. The "emotional center" also make it easy to manipulate the audience. By appealing to emotions rather than thinking, the audience can be convinced of that Iraq has WMDs and is a threat to them, they need to give up their rights to be protected from terrorists, etc. It also makes the news a fitting tool for the political establishment to manipulate the public. The current administration's manipulation of the public by fear would be impossible without the cooperation of the MSM and its appeal to the "emotional center".