John Stossel Gives Us a Glimpse of Narrative-Building

If you can make your way through the right-wing garbage in this clip of Stossel and O’Reilly talking about the Kor-ANN and other matters, you may also get a glimpse of how the right wing continues to built their incredible narrative.

John Stossel was tasked to do man-on-the street questions asking “Would you be OK if a Muslim were president?”.  At the end of the segment, after BO had got his story across the way he wanted to present it, Mr. Stossel let us behind the scenes in a way that completely pulled the rug from the entire segment.   Here is what  he said as the music had been qued to go to break…

Stossel:  (4min 25 sec into segment above) “I just wanted to add ….  I asked 25 people.  I thought most would have an objection [to a Muslim President] and your editor just split it 50/50.  But almost everyone said, ‘no, no problem’ without hesitation.”

O’Reilly:  “This is N.Y City. *slams pen into table* If you go down to Mobile, Alabama you’ll find a little bit of a different find.  Alright?”

Stossel:  “Probably”.

Awesome!  Do you get what just happened there and why it’s so important?  O’Reilly had a story to tell – he wanted to “analyze” this whole “Muslim controversy” as a “trumped up deal!” (emphasis Bill’s).  He sent out John to find out “what the folks think”.

Turns out the media’s reaction to Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson’s bigoted remarks wasn’t a “trumped up deal” at all – at least based on Stossel’s actual reporting.

But, since O’Reilly and his editor know that people in Mobile, AL feel as Carson do, they were obligated to skew the evidence.

In sum, it’s the story Bill, his editor and FOX want to tell that is more important that the news.

Liberals instinctively get that FOX is doing this.  It is the difference between news and politically-biased infotainment.

I can just hear conservatives and those that had really had it up to their necks with the political back-and-forth saying “yeah – but MSNBC does the same thing”.  The truth is they don’t – or if they do there is a misguided host or editor it isn’t the raison d’être of a real (or liberal) news organization.

If a liberal news organization got caught doing this  – it’s readers/listeners/viewers would demand accountability.

“Really?” you might ask.  Yup.

And yes, this is important to me right now as credibility is front and center locally thanks to our locals who might be kindly described as skeptics of big government and big unions.  What the left needs to get across is there is really a difference here.  Reality does have a liberal bias and there are important reasons why. There are also important reasons why we all (left, center and right) have an obligation to change our country’s and county’s  misleading conservative narratives.

Thanks to Media Matters for heads-up.

Charles Blow on Ben Carson’s soft bigotry

BTW: Ben Carson’s soft bigotry:

  “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”


12 thoughts on “John Stossel Gives Us a Glimpse of Narrative-Building

  1. Shake says:

    It’s bigoted to uphold your oath to our country now? Protecting the rights of the individual is bigoted? Honoring the constitution is bigoted?
    The only thing bigoted I read into it, is the parts he left out, what he didn’t say.
    Knowing that every elected official is elected to protect our constitutional republic, not change it or delete it, I feel he should have continued on and also included the GOP, the Dems, the Liberals, and every “party”. Especially the liberal party who has declared they are communists, which is foreign to our constitution. All opposing parties of the constitution should not be allowed to “party”. Even the founding fathers said this.

  2. hooktender says:

    I guess that you either don’t know or don’t care that O’Reilly and Stossel are commentators and not news people. In other words, they give opinions and not news.

    1. MOLA42 says:


      Who here said the the Fox Team were journalists?

      Fox is an organization that does it’s very tippy-top best to form a conservative narrative to influence the course of our nation. And Lord Blessem’, that’s their right to do.

      So yes, hooktender, Fox does give commentary and not news.

      The problem is Fox insists what they do is news. And the problem is further exacerbated by the fact that a large portion of our population believe what Fox does is news.

      If you want to make the same claim about MSNBC and liberalism, then be my guest. It won’t hurt MY feelings one bit.

    2. Thanks MOLA.

      Hooktender, here is my take – very similar to MOLA’s – which seem to be true more often than not – but not always.

      Fox “NEWS” does everything it can to sell itself as a news organization when it is actually more of the PR branch of the Republican Party (not even conservatives as Trump is finding out). You point this out with this “In other words, they give opinions and not news.”

      Yes, we know this, and for more please see this plan of Roger Ailes’ for GOP TV back in the Nixon Era…

      Now, the way they do this is by emphasizing their favored aspects of reality. Sometimes they have a valid point (from their point of view) and they are emphasizing aspects of reality that liberals discount for one reason or another. (African-American perpetrators of violent crime on other members of the African American community as one example that comes to mind.)

      This is different. This opinion show attempted to create news by doing an unscientific survey of people on NY streets. Even that survey was did not meet the story they wanted to tell so the editor cut, and cut and cut and cut and cut responses to open the segment with the frame that O’Reilly wanted. Stossel let us in on this little secret.

      So yes, O’Reilly is commentary, but the commentary is important to the conservative narrative and it would be really nice if this story had it’s roots in reality. Here is one clear example of how those opinions divorce themselves from reality. AND it also proves that this is done intentionally. AND it proves it is done to meet the perceived opinions of our country’s great opinion-havers of Mobile, Alabama.

  3. MOLA42 says:

    Ow… That was a painful experience. Bill O’Reilly always makes me feel funny in a bad sort of way.

    I’m not sure what Shake is on about. The issue has been “spun” beyond coherency but basically what Mr. Carson said was Muslims should not be allowed to hold the top office of leadership in this nation.

    Well, once we thought that way about Catholics but somehow JFK failed to destroy the nation as predicted. Now Catholics in government is no longer an issue worth talking about.

    Carson decided to exclude a minority of our population from the Process. Had a Republican Presidential Candidate said black people should not govern this nation, most persons (including Mr. Carson) would be quite justifiably upset.

    And thus my personal message to the world: We are not (or at least SHOULD NOT be) at war with Islam. We are fighting people who do not like us and express their dislike in very anti-social ways such as blowing up and beheading other people. The fact they they happen to follow a bizarre and in most Muslim folk’s view, heretic form of Islam is not the issue and must not be allowed to become the issue.

    Why? Because there is nothing, and I mean Nothing, nastier than a war of religion. ISIS is a perfect example of what I mean. They believe God (Allah if you will) approves of everything they do. So there is absolutely no limit as to what they can (and will) do.

    Now imagine how it would go if everybody involved (including the US) had the same mindset. It would make the Vietnam War look like a cakewalk in comparison. It would make the German Death Camps of World War II look like vacation resorts in comparison. The 30 Years War (Catholics vs. Protestants) killed over half of the German population.

    That’s what scares me about Fox. In the interviews they got at least one guy in New York believing we are at war with Islam. We are not, but we could be if we continued to get Fox-Stupid.

    If Fox succeeds in convincing America to wage a Holy War, then God have mercy on our souls… if by then God had any more patience left to spend mercy on us.

    Oh, by the way… A note to Bill O’Reilly: The Faith of Islam also follows the Ten Commandments. They consider themselves one of the Three Faiths (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) of the Book, i.e.: The Old Testament of the Bible.

    I apologize for the length of my little spiel.

  4. Deluth Lautrec says:

    Thank dog we have Nino Scalia on the SCOTUS who can delve into the,200 year + dead minds of our founding fathers and knows exactly what they really intended the binding constitutional laws, and amendments of our country to be regarding gay marriage. Fortunately, for Nino, there were no founding mothers or Ruth Bader Ginsburg would get a chance to give her own take on what they really intended. Where was I? Oh, yeah……

    Thomas Jefferson kept a copy of the Koran in his extensive library and he most likely read it as well, not just coffee table material, that. So, if old Tom had seen something about Islam that sent hairs up his back he sure didn’t include that fear in the 1st Amendment which, with the other 9, were largely his idea and contribution to our basic rights.

    1. MOLA42 says:

      The question of Sharia Law becoming the Law of the Land is as relevant as Catholic Canon Law becoming the Law of the Land.

      It’s a non-issue thrown up by persons like you who enjoy scaring people.

      Islam does not have the yes/no attitude toward dogma that Christianity has. Christianity has a mindset of “it is heresy or it is not heresy”. Toward that end the Church even forbade the distribution of Bibles in any language other than Latin to prevent what we have today… a lot of unschooled fundamentalists picking and choosing their own inspirations.

      Islam has a system of religious interpretation (the name of which escapes me right now) that basically grades commentary of the Koran from accepted to nearly unacceptable. For instance, the bit about 72 virgins waiting in heaven for the coming of each martyr is considered one of the least credible of the Koranic commentaries.

      But people still jump on that one as if all Muslims believe it to be Gospel Truth.

      I’m not a Koranic scholar so I can’t judge the “quotes” in your little Constitution vs. Sharia Law document. I suspect it is more than a little flawed.

      But even the Bible has it’s embarrassing dictates… such as the phrase in Leviticus (I think, it could be Exodus, I’m not a Biblical Scholar either)… “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”

      That one caused many a toasty granny marshmallow.

      The point being what matters is not so much what the holy books of a religion has to say for themselves, but how the practitioners of that religion choose to live their lives by them.

      Most Muslims are horrified by what is being done in the name of Allah by a (relatively) few blood thirsty fanatics. Just as the rest of us.

      As to Washington’s warnings about the two party system… that boat sailed long ago. Indeed, it had sailed during Washington’s lifetime. It is only another irrelevancy that you have chosen to quote for us.

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