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Where there’s smoke…

22-Jan-18 09:36 am EDT Leave a comment
D

enying you’re guilty of something can be difficult when the rumor mill / charge keeps happening, Scott Adams reminds us in his recent blog entry.  Indeed, proving a negative is impossible and leads to what scholars refer to as argumentum ad ignorantiam (argument from ignorance) wherein an argument is presumed true because it has not been proven false — a logical fallacy.  Yet we fall prey to this one pretty easily and Adams cites the case of Donald Trump attempting to deny ongoing allegations of collusion with Russia during the most recent American presidential election.  But is that what’s really going on here?

President-Trump-Official-Portrait-620x620

U.S. President
Donald J. Trump

Journalism is particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon because, out of a desire to “build the story” for readers, asking questions about something that didn’t demonstrably happen repeatedly actually contributes to it.  What we all want to know simply is this: is there testable evidence that Trump colluded with Russia?  Pure and simple.  But with an ongoing investigation — about which readers will want reminders of in their sub-24-hour news cycle — updates will inevitably be desired.  Also, it doesn’t hurt to repeat the question they’ll argue to see if anything inconsistent appears to quote, though over time and with many a practiced rehearsal this is less and less likely.

Instead of the constant clamour for updates, perhaps we’d all be better off letting the investigation conclude and fill our news cycle with whatever else is going on in the world; waiting patiently until the investigation comes back with a finding of no fault or charges.  It’s Donald Trump, for goodness sake — it’s not like he’s avoiding making statements that anyone with half a brain would find morally reprehensible from one week to the next.

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Ten Years After 9/11 Bush Says “Blank Stare” Meant to “Project Calm”

29-Jul-11 03:06 am EDT 5 comments
On September 11, 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush absorbs news of the attacks in New York for the first time.  Many have suggested he was overwhelmed into a state of indecision at the news and should have immediately excused himself from the childrens’ classroom to deal with the emerging crisis.
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s the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, former U.S. President, George W. Bush gives an interview to the National Geographic Channel wherein he maintains his apparent “blank stare” captured on video immediately after being told of the attack on the World Trade Center was actually a deliberate effort to “project calm” amid a developing crisis.  The report of the hour-long interview by Reuters also says Bush will outline his thoughts during those first few minutes following his being told the news, and also discusses his approach toward dealing with the aftermath of the attacks in a very candid way.

According to the report, Bush brought no notes to the interview and responded to questions without apparent preparation.

If true, this piece might actually be worth watching; since one of the main issues many have had with hearing Bush in these kinds of interviews is the very scripted way he has historically responded — ever wary of the political cost of saying the wrong thing.  (And in this, of course, Bush is far from alone.)  But with the length of time that’s now past, there could be a fresh perspective on his mindset and perhaps even an answer to the question about whether he was really “frozen with indecision” immediately after being told of the first attacks in New York.

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