Monday, April 29, 2013

just show them your badge

There's nothing wrong, superficially, with the NYT headline "With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan" outside the headline writer's warranted expectation that the reader's association of a band of professional killers with "us, therefore good" is enough to offset the conclusion any intelligent, unindoctrinated adult would come to, that the C.I.A. has been engaging in some serious criminal activity.

Interesting too is the use of the present tense. It is not the case that the C.I.A. was seeking influence via bribery but was caught and is now dealing with the sort of repercussions criminals have to deal with when they're caught. The C.I.A. "seeks" influence with bags of cash, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Maybe they don't want to, maybe it's a bit dirty, but in the end it's for the greater good, regardless of actual outcomes because their intentions are good because they're us and we're the good guys in this drama. It would be wrong to want bad things to happen to good guys.

So what I'm getting at, I guess, is that the term "C.I.A." itself is a propaganda term containing all the necessary information to determine whether the attempted crime in question, described in the headline with unusual accuracy, is something that good people support or oppose. Replace "C.I.A." with "Al-Qaeda affiliate" and note the dramatic change in meaning.    

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