Seamans: Nonspeak

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(HOST)  Commentator Bill Seamans says that trying to find the truth in politics – just seems to be getting harder,   

(SEAMANS)  Since President Obama’s budget speech earlier this month, the millions of words spoken and written by the punditry have made we the people the victims of a rhetoric of political stalemate that talks, talks, talks but does not tell us what we need to hear.  While we ask those we sent to Washington to explain their proposals for solving our problems – we are, instead, groping through what tv newsman Lawrence O’Donnell called "a fog of nonsense" – like Donald Trump’s "maybe" presidential Birther campaign.  And, while blinded by that fog, we are being told what we think by multiple agenda-driven polls.

We are advised to be patient with the status quo which is said to be Latin for "the mess we are in."  The late Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, who was famous for his way with words, once said that "political rhetoric is the art of persuading others of what you don’t believe yourself."   And today our Freshmen Congresspersons apparently have to learn how Washington has raised hyperbole to a high art form and that it takes years of practice to convincingly use credible words that say nothing – words like "we must level the playing field," and "we should reach a compromise," and of course, "bipartisan."

I’ve observed over my forty years in the journalism trenches that the noncommittal nature of political rhetoric possibly has created a new breed of pundit whom I call the non-analyst.  He or she digs up a supposedly nuanced message out of the politician’s pile of words then writes endless interpretive columns and appears on those Sunday tv talk shows, like "Meet the Press," as an expert interpreter of what the speaker really means.

But since many politicians, after so many years of practice, have become masters of the high art of communicating nothing, then it follows that what we get from the non-analyst’s expert reporting is, of course, nothing.  While asking our politicians to explain their proposals, we the people continue groping through that "fog of nonsense" in search of something called "the factual Truth" about which Thomas Sowell, the  political opinionator once said, "There are only two ways of telling the complete truth – anonymously and posthumously."

But I might suggest that there is yet a third way of obtaining the political truth, given the nature of politics and lobbyists – and that is to buy it – thereby changing the spelling of that iconic word, bipartisan – B-I-P-A-R-T-I-S-A-N  to B-U-Y-P-A-R-T-I-S-A-N.


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