Keyword: Mighty Wurlitzer

Conservatarians and their Beloved Anecdotes Email Print

There have been several excellent takedowns of the odious David Horowitz recently, one by our own Bill Hare, and a series by the relentless Aaron Barlow, one of Horowitz's most trenchant critics.  In one of his more extended critiques this past week, Barlow shows how Horowitz's pretense toward intellectual thoroughness through his use of prosopography (the collective study of a group of people to identify common trends and traits), is a sham, for the very simple reason that he has pre-selected those professors he deems to be most "unhinged."

There is a spot-on reply by commenter pico to this particular entry, one that highlights something that is at the very heart of conservatarian propaganda:

On a broader note, what Horowitz is doing is not surprising: this method of argumentation is the Right's most common and most pernicious: argument by anecdotal evidence.  Think about it:

  • A school in some podunk community changes the lyrics to "Silent Night" = War on Christmas.

  • A minority is offended by some term his/her boss uses = Political Correctness run amok.

  • A comment left on Michelle Malkin's weblog = the Left is unhinged.

  • A teacher asks for a moment of silence instead of outright calling it prayer = War on Religion in the classroom.

This is Bill O'Reilly's favorite technique, incidentally.  No background, no research, no context - just stories about 'crazy' people that are used to formulate his personal war on culture.

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Media Parrots Email Print

We have all seen countless examples of the relentless GOP talking points making their way into the news media.  And yet each time we who follow politics closely are confronted with another instance of this phenomenon, it never ceases to be noteworthy.

Take, for example, this Reuters article on several towns in Vermont that have passed resolutions calling for Bush's impeachment.  Although any coverage of impeachment efforts is, in a sense, good publicity, the reporter makes every effort to make clear, just as Hannity or O'Reilly would, that these are fringe lunatics.  These "sleepy" Vermont communities, it notes, are gaining a "renegade" image.

Read a bit further, and the Republican talking point leaps off the page at you.  "OUTSIDE POLITICAL MAINSTREAM" reads the section heading midway down the page.  And then, just to make this a bit more clear, the reporter writes, "The idea of impeaching Bush resides firmly outside the political mainstream."  (No, they haven't pasted in a GOP Press Release, though you could be forgiven for thinking so.)  It goes on to say that given that Democrats have been loathe to approach Feingold's censure reolution (for all of TWO DAYS), and that therefore these nutcases (okay, unlike a Hannity that word is implied rather than stated here) are, yes, Outside the Political Mainstream.  They use, of course, exactly zero polls to back this up, but it's oh so Truthy just the same.  Firmly! Outside! Political Mainstream!

Brought to you by the So-Called Liberal Media.

-- Stu

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Staying on Message Email Print

One of the great frustrations of those of us who inhabit the Reality-Based Community over the past five to ten years is just how much better the Right and its powerful media allies are at sticking to a script than our guys seem to be.  They pick a point, blast fax it out to all outlets, and hammer it home again and again.  However off base or factually incorrect, it becomes part of the common consciousness; it acquries, as Stephen Colbert has noted, a certain "truthiness" (or becomes "factesque") which is more powerful than truth.  Thus the Mighty Wurlitzer at work.

So it has been extremely encouraging to this observer how well the Democrats seem to be doing in sticking with the "Culture of Corruption" theme in this election year.   (John Kerry's remarks on This Week are the latest example.)  The Democratic Party even has an entire (well-designed) page on their website about it.   Unlike most of the GOP's truthy lies, it is based on fundamental truths, and if repeated enough, it might be that rarest of beasts, both true and truthy.

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Treason Talk Email Print

Sometimes it is hard to imagine the political discourse degenerating any further in this country, but the Republican party and its allies are impressively capable of taking it ever further down the toilet.  The release of the Bin-Laden tape has, as Tom Ball just noted, sent them into cascading orgasmic spirals of delight.

The only way to respond to this kind of horrific rhetoric seems to be in kind, and no one has mastered this more than Hunter.  To excerpt just one piece of his as always brilliant writing:

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