Pattern of repeated statements

I’m often not a hater when it comes to how people articulate their words to others. After all, I’m not perfect in my execution of the English language so how can I judge others on their execution? There is one exception though, and this exception is an observation I’ve made over my current lifetime. Not necessarily poor english or grammar, rather in what people say when they don’t know what they’re talking about. It was a communication skill I picked up in one of multiple classes I had been sent to early on in my career for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time which was often taken out of context. The skill was simply listening to what the other person was saying, analyzing and processing, then determining that a few or several phrases were repeated. Here’s an example of something I just read yesterday in my lunchtime. I’ve removed names to keep it anonymous, but I think you can figure out who actually said this. Felt if fitting based on what tomorrow is.

There were people who were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.

Here is an overview:

  • 4 times, people cheering in New Jersey
  • 2 times, arab population(s)
  • 4 times, World Trade Center, building, or buildings
  • 2 times, Not politically correct
  • 2 times, well covered in the media

There are only 8 sentences in that one paragraph that had only 5 items repeated over and over again. Each time slightly different, but this is the point I’m trying to make. This was clearly not the truth as the points being made were over emphasized to prove a point, almost like they were trying to convince themselves it was truth instead of answering a question. The interviewer called them out as well for saying that these reports weren’t true in the United States, rather they were true in some isolated pockets in the Middle East that were known to sympathize with terrorist organizations.

A repeating idea or phase in a conversation is often done for two reasons. The first reason, which is legitimate, is emphasizing an idea or concept that is known to be difficult to understand. A good way to describe this is a math teacher explaining the concept of area to a group of students that are new to Geometry. Or a science teacher trying to explain the Theory of Relativity. The second reason repeating ideas or phrases are used, which indicates a lack of knowledge or fallacy, is covering up for the fact that the person has a lack of knowledge or is making up false statements about something. As you can see, hopefully clearly from my example, this was a false statement of events for shock factor. I say shock factor as these statements were made in 2015, not in 2001. If these were stated in 2001 or closer to the tragedy, they would have been dismissed as rhetoric or anger driven statements.

Trying really hard to not judge someone who clearly is making false statements is difficult to near impossible. The problem I’m having is that the entire political system is full of people who continually repeat the same statements over and over again. There are even YouTube videos that consist of several minutes of them saying the same statement over a span of several years. The hairstyles and outfits may change, but the basic statement remains the same. Am I the only one that has seen this pattern?

One thought on “Pattern of repeated statements

  1. You are not. I’ve interpreted it the same way you have, when I haven’t been virtually certain that it’s intentional repetition so that listeners hear it enough that they remember it … not as something that was merely repeated a lot, but as fact.

    I just paid for a few actual-news subscriptions this morning. Now that I see how much former news organizations (e.g., NYT, WaPo) repeat thusly instead of report, it’s important to me to support–with even a few dollars–organizations that provide news that’s more news, less propaganda.

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