Over at Atrios there’s a thread that raises a challenging question:

How can Democrats get across the idea that the mainstream media knew way ahead of time that there was going to be a war with Iraq, but they didn’t tell us they knew that, and now, when that information does come out, the media not only ignore the story, but they have the gall to defend themselves by saying, “Hey, that’s old news.”

I can think of real-world ways to get the idea across. That’s what this diary is for: to practice explaining stuff in ordinary language (remember how politicians used to be able to tell colorful stories?) that gets a point across.

For instance. . .

Let’s say that on cable tv news, a Democrat complains that the American media failed to pick up the story about the Downing Street Minutes.

The cable host protests, “Why should we?  That’s old news!”

Here’s one answer that anybody can understand. . .

“Yeah, that’s old news just like if I knew a year ahead of time that somebody was going to kill your dog.  But I didn’t warn you, because, hey, it was a sure thing, he was definitely going to kill your dog, so what was the point of telling you?

“So a year goes by and suddenly the guy starts raising a fuss, accusing you of having a vicious dog. I’m thinking, ‘here we go, now he’s going to kill the dog, just like I knew he would.’ Everybody in the neighborhood thinks this is a crises, that you’ve suddenly got a mad dog that’s going to break loose and eat the children. Now, privately, I know this fuss is just about giving the guy the excuse he needs to kill your dog, but I don’t say anything. I don’t tell anybody that he’s been planning this as far back as a year ago.

“And sure enough, he kills your dog.

“A couple of years later, you find out that he’d been planning to do it all along, and that he invented a crises, and that I knew all this and I didn’t tell you.

“You’re furious with me! You storm over to my house and you scream, ‘Why didn’t you tell me he was planning to kill my dog?’

“And I shrug and say, ‘Hey, that’s old news.'”


God knows, that’s no sound bite. But in the right circumstances, it might be a way to turn somebody’s thinking around. Probably because I write fiction, I think there’s nothing like the power of a story to get a point across. And, frequently, the best stories (I’m not saying that one is!)are simple ones that work well as analogies because they operate at basic emotional levels.

Want to play this game?

Everybody’s an editor, right? 🙂

Improve my story.  
Write one of your own that you could comfortably use with the neighbors. If there’s some other topic that drives you crazy because Dems don’t seem to be able to express it, write a story about it.

Maybe we’ll give Democrats some Mark Twainian ideas for how to talk to people in ways that make light bulbs go on over their heads.

p.s. I should confess I didn’t read the Atrios thread.  It had more than 400 comments. I skimmed it and didn’t see anything like this, so I stole the question and brought it over here.

0 0 votes
Article Rating