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Thread: mutting / issue

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    #1

    mutting / issue

    Dear teachers,

    While reading the NYT’s article “Witnessing the War Dead, From Afar” I found a few ambiguous words.

    There’s a propaganda edge to waging every war, and a sad hallmark of the Bush administration’s approach has been to deny the nation the candid sight of flag-draped coffins of sacrificed soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A nation at war should confront the reality of war.

    The muting of bad war news, which started at the Pentagon, is now an issue as well at Arlington National Cemetery. A public affairs director at the cemetery was recently fired after complaining that rules were tightened to isolate the media 50 yards away — well beyond the point at which news organizations could hear, never mind photograph or videotape, burial ceremonies.

    Would you be kind enough explain to me the proper interpretations of the words in bold in the excerpt above?

    I know a meaning of the word “mutting” namely “removal of the capacity of an animal to make a loud call”. In the dog this is done by removal of a small part of each vocal cord but in the present case it is ineligible. I am sure there was used the figuratively meaning of “mute” = “stifle” = “conceal” = “hush up” = “suppress” respectively “mutting” = “with mutted strings”, “with a mute on”, “under o’s breath”.

    Would you tell me which of both meaning of the word “issue” is advisible to the present case?

    issue = a point or matter of discussion, debate, or dispute, as in: legal and moral issues.
    issue = something proceeding from a specified source, as in: suspicions that were the issue of a deranged mind.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards

    V.


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    #2

    Re: mutting / issue

    To mute the bad war news - to soften the bad war news.
    An issue - a problem, one could say.

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    #3

    Re: mutting / issue

    Hi IvanV,

    Thank you for your clear explanation.

    Regards

    V.

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    #4

    Re: mutting / issue

    My interpretation differ slightly from IvanV's.

    On my TV remote there is a mute button, and when I press it, the sound/audio turns off. I can't hear a thing.

    "The muting of bad war news" means putting a stop to; i.e., silencing, any news about the war that is negative, and doing that has now become an issue at Arlington National Cemetery [where the soldiers are buried] because the media now have to stand 50 yards away from burial site, which is well beyond the point at which the burial ceremonies can be heard, photographed or videotaped; i.e., reported to the public.

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    #5

    Re: mutting / issue

    Hi Soup,

    Thank you for your helpful participation in the present thread.

    I beg to differ to some extent from your categorical statement. In my humble opinion “mutting” dosen’t mean “putting a stop to”; i.e., silencing, any news about the war, but it means only “suppressing” them, “reporting under one’s breath” i.e. “in a muted voice or whisper”. Do you know the meaning of “muted”? I will help you: “muted” = “muffled” or “produced by or provided with a mute” or “being or made softer or less loud or clear “. Knowing the following synonyms of “mute” namely “dampen”, “deaden”, “lower”, “moderate”, ”muffle”, “soften”, “tone down” I am prone to think that my countryman IvanV hit the bull’s eye with his statement “To mute the bad war news - to soften the bad war news” which was my primary speculation.

    I would have you believe that I will be always open to advice as before.

    Regards

    V.

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    #6

    Re: mutting / issue

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    I beg to differ to some extent from your categorical statement. In my humble opinion “mutting” dosen’t mean “putting a stop to”; i.e., silencing, any news about the war, but it means only “suppressing” them, “reporting under one’s breath” i.e. “in a muted voice or whisper”.
    "Mute" can mean either of these -- completely silence something, or soften it. As Soup said the TV mute button does the first; but a musical mute for a brass instrument does the second.
    "The news is being muted" could mean either, and more context would be necessary to be certain of the reporter's intention.

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    #7

    Re: mutting / issue

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Hi Soup,
    I beg to differ to some extent ... .
    Vil, you are most welcome, and your friendly challenge is accepted.

    As it stands, there are two possible interpretations for muting in the context below: (1) Vil's & IvanV's= to soften, to tone down, and (2) Soup's = to suppress (See suppress - Definitions from Dictionary.com) definitions 2. & 4.).
    The muting of bad war news, which started at the Pentagon, is now an issue as well at Arlington National Cemetery. A public affairs director at the cemetery was recently fired after complaining that rules were tightened to isolate the media 50 yards away — well beyond the point at which news organizations could hear, never mind photograph or videotape, burial ceremonies.
    In my humble opinion, the writer uses the word muting to mean to suppress the flow of bad war news, as in "to do away with by or as by authority; abolish; stop (a practice, custom, etc.)", "to withhold from disclosure or publication (truth, evidence, a book, names, etc.).

    The reason I believe this is because of the theme running through the quoted passage: the writer is talking about the media; e.g., videotape, which is what we see on TV, and mute also happens to be the name of a button on a TV remote that when presssed turns off the audio; i.e., does not report what is being said/spoken by the people on the TV. No sound at all. Now, some TVs of old when muted didn't turn the audio off all the way, and you could hear faint whispers of what the people on the TV were saying; so, in that case soften or tone down would work;however, that was then, a long time ago, and this is now. The age of technology. TVs today mute the sound all the way off, and I believe that is what the writer is referring to when stating,
    ... isolate the media 50 yards away — well beyond the point at which news organizations could hear, never mind photograph or videotape, burial ceremonies.
    In other words, the media can't hear a thing, not even faint whispers, from 50 yards away. The government has mutted bad war news--has supressed the act of reporting any bad news about the war.

    That's my humble opinion. Over to you.

    ______________________
    Helpful Comment
    Vil, the way in which the following phrases and sentences are worded could be interpreted as 'fighting words' by some, ahem probably by most online posters. Be aware, be prepared.

    • ... your categorical statement.
    • Do you know the meaning of “muted”? I will help you:
    • I would have you believe ...
    Last edited by Soup; 20-Jul-2008 at 14:56.


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    #8

    Re: mutting / issue

    As I got myself to read trough the whole paragraph, I have to say I would agree with Soup's deduction.

    The muting of bad war news, which started at the Pentagon, is now an issue as well at Arlington National Cemetery. A public affairs director at the cemetery was recently fired after complaining that rules were tightened to isolate the media 50 yards away — well beyond the point at which news organizations could hear, never mind photograph or videotape, burial ceremonies.

    Although, my(say: our) primary though can still be the right one, as the continuance of the text may portray a (slight) crescendo in fierceness of those Dark Doings.
    Clumsy word selection, in my humble opinion.

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    #9

    Re: mutting / issue

    Quote Originally Posted by IvanV View Post
    As I got myself to read trough the whole paragraph, I have to say I would agree with Soup's deduction.
    And it was your post, IvanV, that led me to the theme in the writer's passage. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by IvanV
    Clumsy word selection, in my humble opinion.
    I thought it was kind of cool, though, the way the writer uses "mute"; i.e., the mute button on the TV, to express the suppression of media information.

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    #10

    Re: mutting / issue

    Hi Soup,

    Thank you again for your detailed and well-grounded explanation. I get you, you made your meaning clear. I’m with you. It’s high time to push my button “mute”.

    Thank you also for your further information as well as for your considerately mentioned "helpful comment".

    Regards

    V.

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