Google Blogoscoped

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Googling Politics

Google Blogoscoped may not be a political blog, but this one is: since July 17, 2003, Democratic senator from Florida and Presidential candidate, Bob Graham, blogs.

He’s pointing us to Renana Brooks, who writes:

“President Bush (...) uses dependency-creating language. He employs language of contempt and intimidation to shame others into submission and desperate admiration.”
– Renana Brooks, A Nation of Victims, June 12, 2003

It was some months ago when I googled Bush. I queried speeches of Bush stored on, those containing certain keyword combinations. (Like, terrorism coupled with fear. Or being brave, and having reason to fear.) I then highlighted those words in the text.
It’s interesting how the combination of a search engine, the US-President’s speeches being online, and your browser being able to find words in a text make it easy to grasp the grander linguist scheme and structure of what he is saying — or rather, what kind of feeling he’s trying to convey.

Here’s Bush in two different “anti-terror” speeches:

“Our enemies believed America was weak and materialistic, that we would splinter in fear and selfishness. They were as wrong as they are evil.”
Bush, January 2002

We do not fear ...

“Our discoveries in Afghanistan confirmed our worst fears”
Bush, January 2002

... but we have every reason to.

“With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends”
Bush, October 2002

We should not fear ...

“I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.”
Bush, October 2002

... but we do ...

“After all that has just passed (...) it is natural to wonder if America’s future is one of fear.”
Bush, October 2002

... and rightly so.

A nice trick as old as politics: someone says he wants to fight fear; then he’s provoking it; then he offers to bring comfort again (if you stand behind him as unquestionable father-figure).

This is not a political blog — whatever side of the political spectrum you’d put yourself in, you can do this as well for other Presidents, Prime Ministers, Candidates, Chancellors, and political players in general. As long as they put their words online, Google not only helps to reveal truth, but lies as well.


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