When only the soundbite matters, will America know what it actually stands for? The media so easily creates a soundbite from a sliver of truth and then spins a narrative it wants to promote, while the listeners choose which narrative best fits their biases. In this episode, Bill Stierle and Tom discuss how Ted Cruz misrepresented the American Rescue Plan, making an outrageous claim that millions of illegal immigrants will receive stimulus checks, which is largely untrue. You can easily observe how the media on both sides takes their desired soundbite and handles it from a position of outrage rather than from a position of observation and disseminating important, factual information to the public. Listen and become aware of the lying schemes that plague the American media today.
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When Only the Soundbite Matters Regardless of the Truth
Bill, sometimes I feel like a déjà vu, where we’ve talked about a principle in the past and it bears repeating when something happens usually in our political world, in our government, or our society. This is the principle of the facts don’t matter that’s all about the soundbite.
This so unsettling the way truth is handled. Truth is handled more from a place of exposure than it is from a place of information dissemination. If I’m trying to get the facts out about something or if I’m trying to get the impression about something, it’s better to put out the impression and let facts and truth sit on the rubble pile behind it because I’m just interested in the impression. How many times am I going to get exposure? That’s good marketing and good branding, and I’m going to do exposure, and I want my product, my service, or my identity to be promoted in such a way that I’m going to focus on and be able to handle this messaging forward so that I am going to look like something I want to look like. Whether it’s a politician, a product, or a service, it’s the same function. I am going to be seen.
If I were to start a rumor notice, I started that thing that Hasbro purposely did the Mr. Potato Head thing to bring the issue of Mr. Potato Head back to the front of the media. The whole thing was a publicity stunt of which I do not know if is true or not. If I was to make up this imprint, somebody was to pick it up, and read this blog and go like, “That Bill Stierle knows something about that and that makes a lot of sense.” As soon as the sentence, it makes a lot of sense. Its truth starts to gain strength that it was a publicity stunt and they sold X number of Mr. Potato Heads and Mrs. Potato Heads. You know you need both the Mr. Potato and the Mrs. Potato Head, so they can play with each other and you could take their ears, nose, head, and you can interchange them on the build your potato head any way you want to build it. I have not looked at the sales of Mr. Potato Head but I’m feeling a great deal of confidence that they sold a few more of them before the messaging came out and said, “It was just going to be Potato Head.”
Not Mr. and Mrs. because we need to be gender politically correct these days.
They could have just put all the parts inside one box instead of making a separate Mr. Potato Head with its packaging and a separate Mrs. Potato Head with its packaging. I could put everything in there, both the Mrs. part and the Mr. part and you can design the potato head any way you want. The companies might even be thinking it’s a cost-cutting thing because you call it a potato head and you put the different parts in and then the person could make it either a Mr. Potato or a Mrs. Potato Head. It doesn’t have to have separate packaging. All of a sudden, I went into a financial decision. I don’t have to make the printing material. I can put it all in one box and call called it the Potato Head.
The interesting thing, Bill, is you talk about propagating a certain truth or a message that is not based in truth. It’s getting further away from truth on the truth scale. We saw a big example of this with the American Rescue Plan, which is the big COVID relief bill, where Ted Cruz gets up on the Senate floor and makes an outrageous claim. Outrageous to some maybe, not so outrageous to others.Be considerate and respectful of others. Click To Tweet
It had a sliver of truth and not this much but he made it into a mountain the way he described it.
He said that if you vote for this plan and millions is the word he used. Millions of illegal immigrants are going to get stimulus checks and that was something that he knew would make his base upset.
Do you know how much exposure and how much money that 1.5, 2, or 3-minute statement? I don’t know how long he talked. How long in that statement as a media bite on Fox News and right-wing media will go? They’ll run it as a loop. Who is getting presidential exposure now?
Ted Cruz’s and the value of it has to be much more than the exposure of a commercial during the Super Bowl because it’s getting played everywhere.
Both sides, the left-wing media, pick it up instead of handling it the way they need to handle it. They handle it from a position of outrage instead of staring it down from a position of observation. If you stare it down from a position of observation, I’d wish media people would start doing this, but they stink on it. All they’ve got to do is proportionalize it and it cuts out the energy of it. It’s like the cleaning material that is in this spray bottle is only vinegar and water. That’s all it is. “You mean it’s not fancy-schmancy, blue, green, red, yellow stuff that smells good?” “Yes, it says vinegar-water.” Talk about it from the observation place. Don’t talk about it from how outrageous that they claimed it would clean the surface when all it was, was vinegar in the water and the answer’s, “It was vinegar and water,” instead of take it straight and play it to the level of which the truth of it.
You got to give Ted Cruz credit because he buried in the headlines his whole Cancun fiasco. That’s the truth in the rebel behind him that you were mentioning. Now his entire constituency in Texas who’s very upset about illegal immigration and people draining our government coffers of our tax dollars. They’re very much don’t want to give handouts, and he gave them something to latch onto, even though there was only a very partial truth in it, what he said was very largely untrue. They will never ever hear that. Any kind of explanation of the facts to them, they’ll be like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher that they won’t hear it.
I’m going to shed a little light on the truth here for our readers. For the sake of truth, since this show is called Purchasing Truth. The American Rescue Plan does not give stimulus checks to illegal immigrants across the board. What it does is if you have a Social Security number, legitimately, you have a visa, you are allowed to be in the United States and allowed to work, and you paid taxes from that work. Those are some of the bars you have to meet and the hurdles you have to have climbed, which means if you haven’t filed 2020 taxes yet, that a lot of people have not, you have to have filed 2019 taxes.
You have to have worked back in 2019, have lived through this whole pandemic, and still be here because if you don’t have a 2020 tax return filed, they looked at your 2019 tax return. Anybody who’s such a recent immigrant that hasn’t filed 2020 taxes yet and didn’t have 2019 taxes, you’re getting nothing. You have to have been here for quite some time, lived in America, have been contributing to society, working and paying taxes in order to receive this. It is possible what the sliver of truth in what Ted Cruz is saying is that if you had a visa in 2019, you were supposed to have left the country by now because your visa is for a period of time or it has to be renewed.
If you overstayed your visa and illegally overstayed your visa, and then we’re still in that category that you paid 2019 taxes, you had a job, you did work, whatever, that you might get a stimulus check. That is the sliver of truth that you might. They said there are potentially about 500,000 people that may fall in that category but it’s not millions and millions of illegal immigrants are going to get stimulus checks. I don’t personally have a problem with somebody who’s been in this country living through COVID-19 that worked in 2019, paid taxes, and getting a stimulus check. I don’t necessarily think that’s a problem. I think they probably are some of the people in this country that need the most help.
They’re stuck here. There can’t go back to their country. There are all these obstacles, let alone not having the money to get there, but it’s also they’re in here and they’re not going anywhere because they’re meeting the need for safety and protection for those around you and they’re considerate. That is the positive story that I am spinning into this message and the idea of the, “If I want to reinforce the message of immigrant bad, I want to spin the other story.” All you got to do is pick what station do we want to watch create outrage on this, and whatever side you want to watch.
The outrage is going to be a need of mine hasn’t been met fairness, which is the need, or identity or equality, or equanimity is not met because they don’t belong here is the belief. Instead of going like they applied, they came here, they’re working, they pay taxes, in and what we’re doing is caring for people that are inside this country. Just do that part of it, let the truth run from that position, and know that it’s not going to be perfect. One of the problems with our media and one of the problems with the internet being is all you got to do is get this thing out there and there’s exposure and the soundbite wins.Hold on to integrity and sensitivity. Click To Tweet
There are two soundbites that got propagated. One is Ted Cruz staining the belief, or maybe he didn’t even believe it, making the statement that if this Democrat bill is passed, millions of immigrants are going to get stimulus checks, and that’s the soundbite that gets propagated on right-wing media. He wants to propagate to shore up support for his re-election candidacy or whatever he wants to do next. You have the soundbite of Dick Durbin of Illinois. The second-ranking Democrat in the Senate came up right after Ted Cruz saying that, “Ted Cruz knows that’s a complete lie, and using the liar, liar, pants on fire defense.” Unfortunately, not very powerful, but left-wing media or other media plays Dick Durbin pointing out, calling kicked Ted Cruz on that lie. The right-wing media isn’t going to play that soundbite and people aren’t ever going to hear it. Here’s how one issue, one amendment Ted Cruz was proposing to the American Rescue Plan is what this was. That amendment got voted down, gets absolutely polar opposite media play depending on the audience that it’s being played to.
The challenge that we have, it is a marketing, branding, and messaging challenge of, “How can I snip this up into small little pieces to create the story/conflict that I want to promote?” This must’ve been like one of the early episodes that we were doing, there was a time when the tennis player John McEnroe was at Wimbledon and was talking about, he was having trouble with the surface because it was wet, and they cut it in such a way that it sounded like that he hated playing in Wimbledon. He literally stared it down and says, “Let’s not do that. Don’t do that. In other words, I’ll get angry about the things I would get angry about and cover those, but don’t cut something together and cast me in that way. I didn’t say any of the things that you said, and you just took three sound bites and snipped them together and made it a thing. It wasn’t a thing, but you didn’t take the whole thing.”
It’s very interesting, Bill. Only the soundbite matters are very true. The truth doesn’t matter because largely either side of this debate over Ted Cruz, the people that Ted Cruz aligns with their belief bias are not going to even look for the truth. They’re going to hear Ted Cruz that aligns with their beliefs. “That makes sense to me, those liberals are trying to give money away to everybody,” and then people that are more on the other side of the political spectrum are going to hear Dick Durbin, what he said, see what Ted Cruz said, get angry about it, and be like, “That’s like Ted Cruz to lie and try to get media attention.” A lot of them probably think he’s trying to repair his position after his Cancun fiasco like I mentioned and the truth is lost in both of those messages.
If I’m a fan of Ted Cruz, I’m going to tell the story, he’s fighting for me against immigrants. If I’m not a fan, I’m going to say how cold and callous he can be for leaving us people to freeze in Texas instead of doing something about it, taking some way to help a certain group of people in his state. Instead of taking his family to Cancun. If I’m on his side, I would then rationalize it. I would then say, “If I was him, I would take my family to Cancun because who cares about those other immigrants and if they freeze in their bed? I don’t care because that’s what I voted for, and Ted Cruz is a person that doesn’t care about freezing poor immigrants.” It’s a tragic way to reinforce a bias, to reinforce a narrative, and these messages of disconnect the soundbite that gets it to go viral. Somebody could go through this and pick the very definitive sentences that I’ve said, weave them together, and make me into a right-wing or a left-wing pundit based on how they would like to cut or edit my voice and get this to go together. Of course, they’re not going to use that last narrative that I did. They’re just going to pick the sentences from earlier and they say, “Here’s a small sentence he said, and then he said this sentence here.” That’s who Bill Stierle is.
It’s easy to do in this age of modern technology to cut soundbites and edit them together. Anybody with a laptop can do it. I’m remembering back, and this is going to date me a little bit, but do you remember the trial of Claus von Bülow in Rhode Island in the early ‘80s? He was accused of murdering his wife in Newport, California. They made a whole movie about it starring Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close called Reversal of Fortune. Anyway, Alan Dershowitz, the famous attorney and professor from Harvard defended Claus von Bülow and won. There was a scene in that movie, if you watch or it happened in the news in New England at that time that somebody had secretly recorded Alan Dershowitz saying certain things in private.
They cut together and splice together the audiotape the hard way before we had computers and digital stuff to make it sound like Alan Dershowitz was manufacturing evidence in that case with taking things out of context. This thing has been done throughout history, but I’m sure it was even done before there was recorded media quoting people out of context in a newspaper. To make it appear in some way. Bill, there’s another thing that’s been going on in our culture that is similar in that how somebody can hijack truth to serve their own agenda. It’s what’s happened with the Dr. Seuss Organization and the books. Are you familiar with that one?
That’s a good one.
You mentioned Mr. Potato Head, which is another one that’s happened in our popular culture but the Dr. Seuss thing, a lot of people out there and different organizations are trying to say, “The liberals are trying to censor Dr. Seuss.” They’ve taken that news about from the Dr. Seuss Organization, which is an organization that has the right to publish and republish all of his books, and they’re trying to promote the best of Dr. Seuss. That organization on their own, decided, “There are these six books Dr. Seuss wrote and published. They’re not his most popular books and in the context of the times they were written, they were acceptable, but in 2020, we’re feeling that they are not the best message. They’re not presenting Dr. Seuss in the best light. We’re no longer going to publish those books.”
This governing body has the rights. The copyright rights to publish Dr. Seuss’s books has said, “We’re not going to publish those books anymore.” That news got lost in the media soundbites of trying to turn it into a cancel culture thing, which it’s not, and trying to turn it into censorship, which is not other than its self-censorship. You own the copyright to a book. You can choose to publish it, or you can choose not to publish it. Dr. Seuss Organization was not saying, “We need to pull these books from every library and we need to burn them.”
They’re saying, “We’re not going to publish them anymore because they’re not the best messaging now.” When you look at some of these books and what they are, one of them depicts Dr. Seuss’ character with decidedly Asian features in their faces and things. It’s been equated with the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Did you ever watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bill? Where Mickey Rooney played an Asian person, a Chinese person. At the times when that movie was done, that was acceptable.
In our culture nowadays, that would be very offensive if somebody did that and you didn’t have an actual Chinese person playing a Chinese character in the movie. There are things that were done back then that were acceptable and all the Dr. Seuss Organization is saying is, “We’re not going to publish these books anymore because they had their time and their time is done,” and that’s it. This whole news has been hijacked in so many ways to try to fit certain organization’s agenda that’s similar to this only the soundbite matters because they’re getting their soundbite out of it. “Cancel culture censorship.”Talk about matters from the place of observation. Click To Tweet
It’s about an organization holding to integrity and sensitivity in a culture that is evolving to being more forward in their thinking about being considerate and mutually respectful. It’s not like we’re going to get to where mutual respect between races and to city. We’re not going to get there like we’re going to switch off and do that. It’s going to be a process that we need to face in a brand new way, the process of deciding on, “What do we want to stand for as human beings? What do we want to stand for as Americans?
Are you going to stand for somebody taking a sliver of truth and making a mountain out of it and then allow that person to gather votes because of it or gather exposure? Are you going to not cover it and go like it wasn’t worth covering because we see what he’s doing?” I would prefer Dick Durbin to say somewhere in their respect. We are going to respect this body, and what you did is crossed the line on respect because you took a small sliver of truth and made it large just to get a sound bite. If that was the media thing that went out, it’s hard to ignore it. It’s like, “This is what you did, we saw you do it, and we know the good reason why you did it.”
Can you imagine if Dick Durbin had done that but also went one step further and as you said, Bill, “You took a small sliver of truth and turned it into a big lie, just how you went down to Mexico for one night to bring your girls down there was turned into the real reason you went to?” Maybe he could have said it better than I did but imagine if Dick Durbin had done that and equated it and not let that news soundbite that Ted Cruz is trying to put out, bury, and put his trip down to Cancun in the rearview mirror instead eliminated it and showed, “You have a pattern of doing this, taking a partial truth and trying to make it be something it’s not.”
Pointing out that there’s a strategy in this and there is the strategy of getting the need for respect, recognition and acknowledgment met through marginal truth has been a strategy all the way back to McCarthyism and the war on drugs is there in that same thing. The war on drugs is, “How can I arrest certain groups of people?” What are those groups of people do? Let’s make marijuana illegal, then we could throw all the war pressers and the hippies in there, plants some drugs on them, and throw them in jail.
A person of color, plants have drugs on them, put them in other things, because we supposedly have the moral high ground but you’re targeting, using whatever the instrument is, and you’re covering what the truth is. You want to combat dissension from your advocacy or the thing that you would like which is leadership, power, money, or whatever that thing is. All of a sudden, it becomes justifiable. We have a mental health problem in the United States and it has to do with using a substance to cover trauma. Do you think people are going to cover that one? No, they’re not going to cover that one. It’s too hard to cover. You have to think and do things. It’s valuable stuff and this is not going to be the end of this story, Tom, as we move forward here. Only the soundbite that matters because this is the way truth gets purchases, whatever soundbite go viral and move ahead.
This continues to happen and will continue to happen over and over.
More to come on that. In further episodes, we’ll take a look at how can you measure more directly towards this strategy so that it doesn’t take hold as toxic as it’s currently taking hold. That would be an important thing to stare that down.
You have the soundbite to eliminate the real truth further. Is that what you’re suggesting?
I like that, Bill.
More to come, Tom. Thanks.
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