American Elephants


Are You Fed Up? Or Do You Really Want More Information? by The Elephant's Child

Are you completely fed up with the immigrant detention story? Or do you want more clarity? I’m fed up, but keep trying to be sure I understand and can think and write competently about the whole thing.

Daniel Boorstin ( the former Librarian of Congress) wrote a now classic among his many books called The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, 1961. Steven Hayward called it to mind yesterday. I cannot find my copy, but it’s buried in one of my bookcases. Here’s Hayward:

“Boorstin defines a “pseudo-event” as not merely a fact or real event that happened, but a fact or event that is made into “news” of a certain kind by a deliberate and artificial process. You might think of Boorstin’s analysis as no more than the Deep Theory of Public Relations (or as the first analysis of what we today like to call “fake news”), and many of the examples in the book come from the corporate world. Here is some of his description of the dynamics of a “pseudo-event”—see how many aspects of this you can make out in the present controversy:”

1.  It is not spontaneous, but comes about because someone has planned, planted, or incited it. Typically it is not a train wreck or an earthquake, but an interview. [More on this point in a moment—SH.]

2. It is planted primarily (not always exclusively) for the immediate purpose of being reported or reproduced. Therefore, its occurrence is arranged for the convenience of the reporting or reproducing media. Its success is measured by how widely it is reported. . .

3. Its relation to the underlying reality of the situation is ambiguous. Its interest arises largely from the very ambiguity. . .  Without some of this ambiguity a pseudo-event cannot be very interesting.

Steven Hayward accompanied his article with the shocking photo of an armed federal agent pointing his gun at Elian Gonzalez. That was the Clinton administration.

• Here’s a dandy list of photographs of Obama’s Illegal Immigrant Detention Facilities that the media won’t show you. It’s pretty shocking too.

• From David Harsanyi at The Federalist: “Democrats Have Zero Tolerance For Illegal Immigration Solutions.”

• From American Greatness: “Delusion About Detentions: On Family Separation at the Border.”

• From Quillette: “Zero Tolerance at the Mexican Border.”   Which includes a  graph to show just how many people are locked up in the United States.

• From Daniel Greenfield: “Illegal Aliens Fatally Separate American Parents and Children.”   It’s not just Kate Steinle by a long shot. Way too many children have been ripped from their families by illegal aliens.


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