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Outragists Attack Trump and Win

    You’ve probably seen Donald Trump’s recent quote about Mexican immigration. He said, “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people." 

    People with good reading comprehension can see that he put no percentages on how many Mexican immigrants are criminals and how many are “good people.” He notes it is a mix, with the clear implication that the ratio of bad people is unacceptably high.

    What does the data say? Beats me.

    But if, for example, 20% of Mexican immigrants are bringing crime to the United States, is that enough to be worried about? I’m guessing 20% of Americans in our lower income groups are involved with drugs and other forms of crime, so that sounds like a reasonable range to guess for Mexicans coming to this country illegally. Is 20% too much? How about 10%? It seems subjective to me. But it isn’t an absurd issue to worry about.

    Now check out this typical headline from Business Insider that cleverly converts Trumps quote into “NBC fires Donald Trump after he calls Mexicans rapists and drug runners.”

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    Writers don’t usually pick their own headlines, so don’t blame the writer in this case. Just note that Trump’s comment about some Mexican immigrants being criminals has been morphed by outragists into “Trump says Mexicans are rapists and drug runners.” That implies all Mexicans, even the ones that stay home, are up to no good. Very different from what Trump actually said.

    I’m not a Trump supporter. I’m just anti-outragism.

    In the run-up to the presidential election, the media is spring-loaded for candidate “gaffes” that they can take out of context to manufacture news. I’ll point them out as we go.

    Update: Same writer, new article. Note the use of the “douche bag” photo that often accompanies stories like this one. The photo director should get a writing credit for this one. It changes the story.

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    Scott

    In Top Tech Blog, machines help you grow better skin, your clothes will be your new computer, and look out for holograms you can touch. (That last part seemed inevitable. Scientists are lonely.)

    The five-star reviews keep rolling in for this book.

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Outragists are the New Awful

    Over on Twitter (@ScottAdamsSays) I coined the word outragism and defined it as the act of generating public outrage by quoting famous people out of context.

    Creating the word is only the first part of my strategy.

    My plan is to arm victims of false accusations with a word that has equal weight to the accusation. For example, if you are falsely accused of being a Nazi sympathizer because you watch the History Channel, the accuser is using full verbal firepower and all you have is a weak denial about your interest in history. It isn’t a fair fight.

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    I coined the word outragism so victims of it will have a powerful word of self-defense. But defining the word isn’t enough. I also have to add a few levels of stink to it so no one wants it hung around their neck.

    The word outragism and its cousin outragist are designed to sound bad right out of the gate. If you add ism or ist to any word it makes every man, woman, and beast in the general vicinity look like a potential asshole. Even pianist sounds vaguely dickish. So outragist has that going for it.

    I will now use a mental trick to apply a second coating of awfulness to the new word. All I need to do is type a true statement that has the word outragist in it along with some already-terrible words. I could say, for example, that I am aware of no outragists that have yet confessed to being pedophiles. Or I could say that I can’t rule out the possibility that outragists love Obamacare, ISIS, and high taxes all at the same time.

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    That should do it. We’re locked and loaded now. Next time you see an an act of outragism, start labeling. 

    How often does outragism happen? Checking the headlines today… okay…found one. Here’s a story about a rich guy who pledged to give away 80% of his wealth. He is concerned about job loss and he is spending lots of time and money hosting a conference to discuss ways to improve the economic situation for people who are not him. 

    Is that how the story got spun? Nope. The outragists waded in, modified the context by reengineering the order in which the information is presented, and turned a wealthy philanthropist into a rich asshole who is boarding his private jet while complaining that poor people buy too many things. I didn’t have to be in the room during the interview to know he didn’t say anything like that. The alleged quote is ridiculous-sounding, and the billionaire says it was a misquote. But the damage is done. The outragists won this round.

    Scott Adams

    Personal Twitter: @scottadamssays​

    Dilbert Twitter: @Dilbert_Daily