Margaret Thatcher, made a career on the tactics of vilification. Why listen to them, (anyone on the left) when you can deride them as winging lefties, was a favorite of hers. Various forms of jingoism and vilification is used across the whole spectrum of political debate and should be guarded against when attempting to understand whether the debate is meaningful, or not.
In politics; what People need to know is information that is useful to them; not castigations on peoples characters. So you could add to Chomskies statement -“Language is, after all, a tool for thought. If you debase the language, you debase the thought”. – If you debase the personality, you debase their ideas. Therefore you need to concentrate on what the person is actually saying and meaning; rather than, who is winning the personality destruction, match
Semantic blanks and meaningless babble. (Bush)
I first heard the expression semantic blanks; (empty-words) in a book by Stuart Chase called The Tyranny of Words. Chase used the expression to describe the babble that comes out of, particularly politicians mouths; as they explain their ideas, promises, and policies, (This is the stuff that gives people the impression that “politics” is boring) George Bush, is a classic example of a user of semantic blanks. A typical Bush speech will go on endlessly about flags; countries, passion, defense. Margaret Thatcher was also an expert; and Tony Blair, can’t do anything else. Endless words going around in circles, without actually saying or meaning, anything. The purpose of this meandering; is to avoid making statements the speaker or his party cannot live up to; or, may have to explain to the public at a later date; if their policies or ideas fail. (The invasion of Iraq is a case in point).
The reason for this again; is because most of what information is useful on the news; is only useful to government, business and perhaps, sports, concerns. Anything regarding ordinary peoples lives; is smothered in babble, tragedy, and useless statistics; that tells people, what they cannot get or achieve; rather than what they can. This is why, when listening, or watching; we need to read between the lines and try to ignore the emotional babble, or visual distraction.