Misled by Conflation

Lugo’s first chapter, entitled “G.W. Bush Administration Narratives of Threat and Containment,” is  a reading I find particularly thought provoking as a result of the implications of the detailed analysis of Bush’s rhetorical strategies. Lugo specifically points to a quote by Michael Welch, who posits that “another round of social control was put into motion, aimed largely at so-called racial, ethnic, and religious ‘outsiders’” in the United States following the September 11 attacks. One of Bush’s most manipulative, albeit effective, rhetorical strategies consisted of bringing completely disparate issues under one overarching umbrella of perceived evil, an action that was intended to combat any dissidence during that time. Public opinion polls showed that this conflation of unrelated issues, such as tying in AIDS and homosexuality with the Iraq War and terrorism, actually worked in circumscribing logical thought processes. It was surprising for me to see just how malleable public opinion was when vision was blurred by a shroud of paranoia and uncertainty.

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