Playing the victim as effective power play strategy

Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 05:31 pm
Cynical reporters and their soft spot.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009, at 5:18 PM ET

Richard Heene Reporters fancy themselves wicked cynics who automatically assume the worst of people until proved otherwise. But there's a soft spot in the medulla oblongata of even the most hard-boiled reporter where if you tickle it just so, he'll fall into a trance and become your spaniel.

Just construct a convincing lie about being a victim and feed it to him. Then wait for the sympathetic coverage to roll off the presses.

Claiming victimhood doesn't work every time. But if owning the first 20 yards of the 100-yard news dash is what's important to you, posing as a victim will usually do the trick, as Richard "Balloon Dad" Heene learned this week.


Are we getting any closer to depowering this power move? I'd like to think so, but it appears maybe not. Perhaps not until the majority of people learn to think for themselves again will we get a handle on this scourge.
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Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 09:46 pm
He says as he heads down to cash his dole check.
Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 11:02 pm
I am pretty sure that Slate is a paying gig, so you are going to have to work a little harder to dismiss the central argument that america loves victims, and those who play one on TV.
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