Friday, August 15, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies and More Damn Lies

Cream does not always rise to the top. Sometimes it's scum. As in the case of a new book on the NY Times list of best selling "non-fiction." I fear this latest Obama smear may be a sour taste of what is sure to come as election day gets closer. I'm not worried about the Senator. I'm more concerned with the voting public who have not been famous for analytical depth and careful discernment.

Those with an appetite for such things can go to Media Matters for a point by point refutation of lies appearing now in print. I'm not using the word "lies" hyperbolically but in the simple sense of the word. Professionals who use words to pay the rent have subtle ways of spreading lies but when the fluff is blown away the content stands clear for anyone to see. The baseline content is not what the meaning of the word is is, but what an everyday reader or listener will conclude after reading or hearing the piece.

Yesterday I heard a local talk show host hammering away, point by point, spreading his take on global warming, public education, racism and the minimum wage. All these topics are grist for the talk show mill because of the many buzzwords and soundbites manufactured to propagate their themes.

The subject of global warming is especially entertaining. Al Gore is now Jimmy Carter's replacement as whipping boy for younger listeners of a certain political persuasion not old enough to remember President Carter except through the prism of twisted flashbacks so tired they are no longer fresh. Contemporary targets are much more fun than old-timers like Carter, Jane Fonda or Ted Kennedy.

The catch-phrase that makes it possible is to slip the words "man-made" into the discussion somewhere toward the start so that if anyone tries to argue that the phenomenon of global warming is real (heaven forbid) the host quickly redirects the discussion away from science back to politics where a more limited argument ensues, not about whether or not global warming is real but whether it is being caused by mankind. The operative word her is "caused." not contributed to or accelerated by but caused. By keeping the conversation focused on "man-made global warming" the talk show host can then skate along the edge of global warming's analogue to holocaust denial. From that lofty perch picking off scientists, politicians and anyone else who dares suggest we may need to be more careful about carbon footprints or any of the other issues that global warming nuts want to speak about is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Public education, derisively called "government education" is an old reliable subject for a slow news day. Taken to it's logical conclusion the suggestion that everyone should remove their children from public schools and have them either home-schooled or placed into private schools would result in Americans becoming the most ignorant population on the planet in one or two generations. Every other country in the world, even the poorest, places a premium on educating its children with the main limitation being resources. We all know that in many places that means the worst kind of indoctrination and manipulation, but that is not the point.. Or maybe it is. A main argument against public education is that "the government" is teaching our children to become lazy, non-competitive, unthinking leeches who swallow whole and learn to practice socialist ideas and never learn to think for themselves. Once the wheel gets to turning, it spins faster and faster and anyone who wants to offer the meek idea that It. Won't. Work. is deemed already too far gone to keep on the air.

That's why talk shows hosts have so much power. They literally have the power to turn off the switch if they sense tedium coming before the next advertising break. Unfortunately, tedium and dullness goes hand and hand with learning. Ask any accomplished student. Res ipsa loquitur.

I could go on like this for hours, but I've about played out my frustration for one morning. I forgot I was writing about a book, not talk-shows.
Oh, well. It just shows how crazy libruls can get when they get going. The two go hand in hand, you know. Not everyone in a talk show audience is illiterate. They too have to read and study.

Oh, yes, I remember now. I started thinking about talk shows by the source that aimed me at Media Matters and the Times, Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch Blog.

Perhaps Corsi’s most telling appearance, however, has been on The Political Cesspool, an overtly racist, anti-Semitic radio show hosted by self-avowed white nationalist James Edwards. Corsi was interviewed on the Cesspool on July 20 and is scheduled to appear again this Sunday, August 17, joining a recent guest roster that has included Christian Identity pastor Pete Peters, Holocaust denier Mark Weber and former Klan boss David Duke.

Talk show appearances is an important part of marketing books. It is books like the one at the start of this post that feed that need. One hand washes the other, they say.

I had hopes this piece of garbage would float on down the river, but Corsi's book is apparently becoming this election's version of the Swiftboat smearing of John Kerry.

There's no internal debate over whether or not to give something like Jerome Corsi's book oxygen - it's the media world we live in that he will appear all over cable news (not just the right-wing outlets) and in everyone's newspapers. The reason given by the media is always that "it's a best-seller," but that's a system the conservative movement has been gaming for years, and frequently after the boom cycle of early publicity to get their wingnuts onto the teevee the books get remaindered and available for purchase for a penny.

Too bad. My hopes for this year's political shift are starting to take a beating. I guess if people in Osetia want to hug on Russians and keep their Georgian neighbors (and legitimate representatives, incidentally) out of their business, it should come as no surprise that a large number of Americans still want to hug the crowd that brought us the last several years. After all it's still just a matter of opinion. Good people in my own peer group swallow whole the kind of swill that comes from smear sources. Or if they have any reservations they never reveal them to me. It's making me want to stay out of their company until after the election. Thank God for blogging. Without it I would feel very isolated in the place where I live.

FWIW here is a link to the Obama push back response, a 41-page pdf publication.

Unfit for Publication

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