Ripples from the Random- What sort of story have we stumbled into?”

Frodo from Lord of the Rings was it? who asked :”I wonder what sort of a tale we have fallen into?”

Well, I ask that when I read the “Washington Post” every morning- in the old fashioned way, page by page, and not screen by screen.  Most times, it is a random sampling of the news of the world and each page reveals the variety of highs and lows, ins and outs of a world that is endlessly various.

But sometimes, page after page reveals a theme that makes you wonder- did the editors conspire to make this edition the Prologue to the Catastrophe, or are they even aware of the pattern the unsuspecting reader is discovering?

Let me show you what I read from Friday September 18th 2020. Let’s take a tour, shall we and see what are we stumbling into here. The headlines alone are enough.

Let’s start with Page ONE:

Trump Attacks Public Schools
Judge blocks USPS changes that could show ballots
Low-income students are in dropout crisis
As Barr assails DOJ some see warning to the right
Feds sought ‘heat ray” tool for DC rally, officer testifies

The words that jump out are ATTACKS, BLOCKS, CRISIS, ASSAILS, WARNING, HEAT RAY.  They are all violent terms or connected to violence. The only other headline on Page One was “Ex Aide on virus task force will back Biden” which is the only non-violent headline on Page One. Note that each headline can be sourced directly or indirectly to the President and the Administration. Someone is crowding up the headline news and that is his skill.

Could have been a co-incidence. Let’s explore the rest of the paper.

Page Two starts with “Partisan differences in Foreign Policy” and ends with Hyping cyberthreat hurts policymaking, ex-British official says. So that is two pages and two “Ex’s” grabbing the news. But the jump out words we add to the mix  of ATTACKS, BLOCKS, CRISIS, ASSAILS, WARNING, HEAT RAY. are DIFFERENCE and CYBERTHREAT.  Two pages in, are you feeling what I am starting to feel? Are we under attack? Are we falling apart?

Page three might give us some rest. “NYC students start school remotely,”  and the smaller digests, “man indicted in deaths,””Suspect in shooting to stay in jail,” “resident of senior living accused of shooting.”  This page is called Politics and the Nation.

The word summary is building- REMOTELY, DEATH, SHOOTINGS, SHOOTING that we can add to ATTACKS, BLOCKS, CRISIS, ASSAILS, WARNING, HEAT RAY, DIFFERENCE and CYBERTHREAT. And note, we are only at Page Three!

Page Four might be a respite, and it sort of is, in that we are less violent. “Trump Properties have charged US over 1.1 million” and “Trump campaign tries to allay concerns about trailing Biden in TV ads.” Seems like that must be the Trump page. But the two stories are Trumpian- one of President charging Tax payers to pay his business and the other competing with TV ads. The words we can add are CHARGED TRAILING.

Page Five is the finish of the Barr article as “Barr Attack Warning to the Right.” The assail has now become an ATTACK and WARNING TO THE RIGHT is kept.  So, lets list our word tally and notice the pattern emerging.

ATTACKS, BLOCKS, CRISIS, ASSAILS, WARNING, HEAT RAY. DIFFERENCE  CYBERTHREAT. REMOTELY, DEATH, SHOOTINGS, SHOOTING CHARGED TRAILING. ATTACK, WARNING TO THE RIGHT. Try this as an experiment- Say all these lead words out loud to someone and then ask them how they feel.

Page 6- We have a new Trump Story- This time its “Trump contradicts health advisers on Vaccine timetable” and below, we have the rest of the article on “Judge temporarily blocks USPS changes” We can harvest CONTRADICTS and BLOCKS.

Page 7 is finally some respite, an advertisement that states. “19 journalists have gone missing.” Hardly a respite. We needed an ad selling shoes, not an ad reminding us that gathering news is deadly. Even reading it is hazardous.

Page 8, we get the rest of the Pence Ex- Adviser voting for Biden. And below, another court strikes Green Party from Ballot. Harvest the words we have VOWS and STRIKES.

By Page 9, we get “Unfortified, a largely black Florida area is hit hard by Sally.” telling us about the destruction of the hurricane. Below, we have “FBI’s Wray says Russia aims to ‘denigrate Biden.” beside 3 Iranian men accused of hacking US Aerospace.”  Add a few more verbs-HIT HARD DENIGRATE HACKING.

Looking for more commentary like this that takes a narrative critical look at politics and the election? Here is the  StoryWise Manual for Presidential Elections. THE PRESIDENTIAL PLOT- get your copy here

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