Monday, March 31, 2008

Dan Quayle

In a recent deep-dive 3 part analysis of Obama's speech titled "A More Perfect Union", I rememberd Dan Quayle's 1992 speech on Family Values (dubbed his "Murphy Brown" speech by the press).

Specifically, I remember the need to go back to the source. Whenever you hear a politician on TV or radio or whenever you hear someone else's views on what he/she said, you need to go back to the source to see what they really said. It's not that I mistrust the media. Personally, I think they do their job well most of the time. Their job is to summarize whatever is being said and present it to you. They do a lot of investigation (see the news about Hillary Clinton being under sniper attack) and present the facts.

Occasionally, they invent facts (exploding cars at NBC) or create facts (getting into the story), but most often they report. The problem is that they cater to the majority of Americans who want pre-digested news. Out of necessity, they leave out a lot of details. And there is lots of room for opinion to drift into their articles or newscasts.

Only if we go to the source can we be certain to get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If we want to read/listen/view summaries, that's fine, but get the whole truth.

When Dan Quayle gave his speech in 1992, newspapers took about two weeks to publish the entire speech. During the first part of those two weeks, politicians made all kinds of negative comments about Quayle's speech. However, as they got more details, they changed their tune. By the time the full speech was published, most politicians FROM BOTH PARTIES agreed with the Vice President. What a change!

Today, most speeches are posted on the internet. We have the ability to read everything a candidate says and not settle for sound bites. In 1992, I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper asking them to print full articles. Newspapers did this during the American revolution and we have many of those early speeches. Same goes for formation of the constitution (read the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers sometime).

I encourage you to find the source of the speeches politicians make. When you read a bloggist's views on a speech, make sure they have read the entire speech and have them cite the reference (keep me honest too). In the near future, I plan a deep-dive on John McCain's foreign policy speech. Hopefully, you can make it through.

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