Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Blue and orange (a retro-post)

I THOUGHT JOYCE RILEY WAS perhaps exaggerating for effect when she started bringing up the blue-and-orange color schemes being featured on TV news networks. She claimed the networks are moving subtly to the UN colors, to subliminally condition the viewing public to accept the future one-world government under the UN. Perhaps, I thought, she's selectively noticing these colors.

So I turn on CNN today. There's Clinton -- the UN special envoy for tsunamis and whatnot -- being interviewed on set. Behind him is a backdrop of a blue map with a huge sky-blue UN logo (the globe wrapped in Roman laurels) behind his head. He's wearing a UN-blue tie.

Okay, I said. It's no surprise CNN loves the UN. This official endorsement of an organization which is still deeply mistrusted in some quarters reveals an institutionalized bias at CNN. But it's not exactly secret. And Clinton? He's showing team spirit. Not exactly a surprise.

But when the Clinton/UN segment is over and they move on to other news, I study the overall set and lighting design at CNN. Monitors in the background in the newsroom behind the anchor cast a blue glow. At least one, tucked in the bottom left corner of the screen behind the anchor's right shoulder, still displays a UN logo.

I flip to the "DaySide" show on Fox News to see graphics running against a background that's light blue, with other colors streaming through it. There's a report on the New York building collapse. New York firefighters are shown digging through the rubble -- wearing UN-blue helmets.

Back to CNN, which is running pictures of the toddler shot by the LAPD officer. The picture is superimposed over an animated light-blue-and-orange backdrop.

On MSNBC, the "MSNBC Live" news set is dominated by orange and blue: wood floors and furnishings are lit to appear orange, while TV monitors and backdrops are blue. Under the picture, titles appear in white against a light-and-dark-blue background. Under the titles, at the very bottom of the screen, is the news crawl -- in orange letters. The NBC peacock logo flashes by. In light blue.

Back to Fox. One side of the split-screen shows the anchor in the light-blue-backgrounded studio, superimposed over a moving background of light blue and orange-ish shapes (backgrounds on Fox News are always moving). The other side of the screen shows the talking head guest, in a light-blue turtleneck. The set decoration behind her consists of bookshelves and books which are colored, or lit to look, orange.

The commercial break brings an Acura commercial with a guy jogging in an orange shirt and navy-blue sweats. Oh no, please, not the commercials too. The Ditech commercial has a guy in an orange car against an orange-blue background, then a full-screen DITECH slide of various shades of blue. This is followed by a Comcast commerical where the main color is orange, then a Chicago Fire commercial featuring large swatches of light blue and orange, and then a commercial with an actor in a light blue shirt.

I'M STARTING TO CHECK the tint and color settings on my TV to see whether something's wrong. But both are perfectly normal -- the tint is set right between red and green.

Then back to "DaySide" on Fox. Now they're interviewing a Rhodes Scholar (ah, another UN connection), the author of an orangeish-covered book, in the studio, whose color and lighting scheme is dominated by blues and muted oranges.

I flip back to the blue-and-orange-heavy CNN set. Then they go to commercial again: a promo of the upcoming Pauly Shore comedy show. The dominant colors in the promo? Blue and orange.
Fox has the smarmy neocon David Brooks, defending Karl Rove and George W. from the "silly partisan fight" being whipped up by the "stupid" liberal media over a silly little issue like the exposure of a CIA covert operative. Behind Brooks is the shades-of-blue backdrop.

CNN Headline News runs its titles in bright orange, blue, and white, while its news set --including the anchorette -- are a mix of muted hues of the same colors.

Later, on CNN, Rove the Rodent himself is show strolling across the White House lawn with Bush. Rove is wearing a powder-blue shirt and a tie that, if it wasn't orange, sure looked that way on screen. On Fox, there's Scott McClellan in his powder-blue shirt and orange tie. Hm. Do these guys go shopping together? Do they maybe share the same stylist? Do they share a closet?

SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? The most benign explanations are that all these outfits hire the same set and lighting designers, or are all influenced by the same trends. Consultants probably tell them that viewers like sky blue, a familiar color which psychologists say is soothing. Orange, an earthier tone, adds warmth while also catching the eye. No doubt, this advertising psychology is part of the reason why the UN chose these colors in the first place -- rather than, say, socialist red, which would be more apropos.

The more sinister interpretation, which Riley suggests, would be a subliminal conditioning campaign going on to make us feel warm and fuzzy toward the United Nations. This would be consistent with the across-the-board propaganda drive to get us to give up more and more of our national sovereignty to international agencies. (Neocons and their mouthpieces at Fox may at times kick up a lot of dust about the UN, but they're all in support of other unaccountable global agencies such as the World Trade Organization, so they're not as anti-global government as they claim to be.)

One could imagine that this brainwashing campaign could be done in true covert-ops fashion -- without network producers or anchors even realizing what's going on -- through outside set and lighting design "consultants" who are actually fronting for an agenda other than merely making news sets look good.

Or it could be happening with the full knowledge of the network personnel. That's not as farfetched as it sounds: it's been well exposed that military psychological warfare officers have had a very close relationship with CNN.

So now I'm getting ready to publish this post. And you'll see it on this blog. And no doubt you'll notice Blogger's color scheme is also dominated by two colors ....

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