Tallying Bill O’Reilly’s Name-Calling

From the Wall Street Journal Online:

Mike Conway set out to study the number of times Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly used name-calling and other propaganda techniques on his show. Mr. Conway released his report and then watched Mr. O’Reilly employ some of the same methods to ridicule the research — the TV host even counted how many times he called someone a name in his rebuttal. “It was a bit surreal,” Mr. Conway told me.

Mr. Conway, an assistant professor of journalism at Indiana University, and his colleagues recruited volunteers to watch hours of Mr. O’Reilly’s regular two-minute segment, “Talking Points Memo.” The volunteers saw 105 episodes, all of them aired in 2005. They tallied the use of seven rhetorical techniques identified as elements of propaganda by the now-defunct research group Institute for Propaganda Analysis. Mr. O’Reilly’s totals were then compared with those of the anticommunist and antisemitic 1930s radio broadcaster Father Charles Coughlin, as measured by IPA-funded researchers in a 1939 book.

In the resulting research, the most-stunning number was in the category where Mr. O’Reilly vastly exceeded Father Coughlin. According to Mr. Conway and his colleagues, Mr. O’Reilly called someone a name 2,209 times over 248.65 minutes, or 8.88 times per minute. “O’Reilly is a heavier and less-nuanced user of the propaganda devices than Coughlin,” the researchers stated in a press release.

The Telegraph’s Profile of Patricia Highsmith

The Telegraph has a profile on one of my favorite authors, Patricia Highsmith.

Patricia Highsmith’s superior crime fiction is informed by her interest in the unconscious and her mastery of suspense, argues Maria Alvarez

Patricia Highsmith’s mother tried to abort her by drinking turpentine. Later in life, she said to her daughter: “It’s funny you like the smell of turpentine, Pat.”

Casually brutal characters are always wreaking havoc in Highsmith’s fiction. In “The Terrapin”, one of the short stories in Eleven, re-issued this month by Bloomsbury as part of their Highsmith series, a mother triggers a young boy’s psychic disintegration at an inexorable pace. Like the 12-year-old Highsmith, the boy is fond of reading Karl Menninger’s psychoanalytical study The Human Mind.

Highsmith’s understanding of the unconscious and the irrational, coupled with her lucid prose and sophisticated mastery of suspense, are the reasons why many see her as having elevated crime fiction to an art form.

Not that her fiction is crime fiction as such. There’s no whodunnit element, nor even the whydunnit of so much psychological crime fiction.

Strangers on a Train is so much different than Hitchcock’s adaptation of it that it’s basically a different story. I’ve read most of her Ripley novels and the second one is surprisingly good.

“Web site” baffles Internet terrorism trial judge

From Yahoo! News:

LONDON (Reuters) – A judge admitted on Wednesday he was struggling to cope with basic terms like “Web site” in the trial of three men accused of inciting terrorism via the Internet.

Judge Peter Openshaw broke into the questioning of a witness about a Web forum used by alleged Islamist radicals.

“The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a Web site is,” he told a London court during the trial of three men charged under anti-terrorism laws.

Prosecutor Mark Ellison briefly set aside his questioning to explain the terms “Web site” and “forum”. An exchange followed in which the 59-year-old judge acknowledged: “I haven’t quite grasped the concepts.”