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Kathleen Hall Jamieson

  • Presidents today spend more time speaking than they do reading or thinking.

    • Kathleen Hall Jamieson,
    • on Bill Moyers, "Television in Politics" ()
  • ... in politics as in life, what is known is not necessarily what is believed, what is shown is not necessarily what is seen, and what is said is not necessarily what is heard.

  • The assumption that seeing is believing makes us susceptible to visual deception.

  • Increasingly, campaigns have become narcotics that blur our awareness of problems long enough to elect the lawmakers who must deal with them.

  • Television has accustomed us to brief, intimate, telegraphic, visual, narrative messages. Candidates are learning to act, speak, and think in television's terms. In the process they are transforming speeches, debates, and their appearances in news into ads.

  • Network news accustoms audiences to assertion not argument. Over time, it reinforces the notion that politics is about visceral identification and apposition, not complex problems and their solutions. ... sound bites aren't very helpful. They can tell a voter what a candidate believes, but not why. And many issues are too complex to be freeze dried into a slogan and a smile. ... What's lost in a world in which everything's an ad? Perhaps the country that created the assembly line has simply found a more efficient way to do politics.

  • Stories told around the water-cooler as well as statistics confirm that a man's competence is more likely to be presupposed, a woman's questioned.

  • Women are penalized both for deviating from the masculine norm and for appearing to be masculine. When women try to establish their competence, they are scrutinized for evidence that they lack masculine (instrumental) characteristics as well as for signs that they no longer possess female (expressive) ones. They are taken to fail, in other words, both as a male and as a female.

  • ... women are quoted as sources and appear on interview shows much less frequently than men. ... But the by-product of such anonymity may be immortality, for women are also less likely to find themselves written up on the obituary page.

  • Sisterhood is a powerful metaphor; it ought not become a synonym for groupthink.

  • Other problems confront women in power. One is fine but two's a crowd seems to be an unspoken rule when the one wears a skirt. And those in authority have found ways to reward women for excluding others of their kind.

  • 'Spin' is a polite word for deception. Spinners mislead by means that range from subtle omissions to outright lies. Spin paints a false picture of reality by bending facts, mischaracterizing the words of others, ignoring or denying crucial evidence, or just 'spinning a yarn' — by making things up.

    • Kathleen Hall Jamieson,
    • in Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation ()
  • Fear has been a staple of advertisers and politicians for so long that you'd think we would have become better at detecting their use of it. But fear and insecurity can still cloud our judgment. To put the lesson in a nutshell, 'If it's scary, be wary.'

    • Kathleen Hall Jamieson,
    • in Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation ()

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, U.S. educator, communications & public policy & political writer