Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Theoretical Tuesday: Framing!

When it comes to standing up for Our Troops, nobody'd better get in front of Fox! Here's a tale* from Monday's front page:

No one knows first hand the horrors of war more than World War II hero Irwin Stovroff. That's why when Stovroff — who was held for one year in a Nazi POW camp before being freed by allied forces — learned that the U.S. government didn't supply service dogs for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the 85 year old decorated hero from Boca Raton, Fla. made it his mission to overhaul the policy.

Looks like we could have some momentum building; here's a story from last Monday's front:

In his first piece of legislation as Minnesota's junior senator, Al Franken is looking to expand the number of service dogs available to wounded veterans.

Naturally, the frontpage links (they're all you know about the story until you click through) will help frame the issue for readers -- cue them in on what sort of story it is, who's on the side of the troops, that kind of thing. Right?

Uh, yeah. Saw that one coming, did you?

Leaving aside the question of whether "dogs" is a good shortcut for the gerund phrase "getting dogs for people,"** or whether "first priority" is the same thing at all as "first proposed piece of legislation," a service dog isn't exactly what you'd call a prototype dog. If you say "there's a bird on the picnic table," you probably mean a robin or a sparrow. If there's a penguin on the picnic table, you say "there's a penguin on the picnic table." Using an outlier as an exemplar of the category is so fundamentally misleading that you could hardly do it accidentally.

Dear friends at Fox, mind if we paraphrase a great American farewell speech? How about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit being pond scum?

* Unedited here, and pretty clearly unedited there as well.
** Is "Santa likes candy" the same sentence as "Santa likes giving candy to kids"?

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Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Fox News: the gift that keeps on giving...

2:40 AM, July 29, 2009  
Anonymous raYb said...

Now now. We all know that great quit speech wasn't so much about making stuff up as it was about reporting stuff the quitter didn't like. You have to treat pit bulls nicely or they take their toys and quit.

8:23 AM, July 29, 2009  

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