(part of) You Are Here: Explorations in Search of Current Reality

My Blogs Why write 4 different blogs? Good question, but it seemed to make sense at the time. Most energy is going into The Real Truth Project

The Eisenhower Socialist ; The Real Truth Project ; What Was the Cold War? ; The Ontological Comedian

See also Tales of the Early Republic, a resource for trying to make some sense of early nineteenth century America.

(Just to clarify things a little, Eisenhower wasn't really a socialist though he could easily get labeled one today, as could Abraham Lincoln or most every other Republic president until recently. And I'm not really a socialist either.)


Friday, July 23, 2010

Some thoughts on JournOlist and the teapot calling the kettle racist (and any other term of abuse that comes to mind)

Some thoughts I posted on http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein, but I think they got pretty much buried in the avalanche of abuse. Quite a few ideas I've expressed before, but I can't hold a candle to some people when it comes to being repititious.

The best argument for a closed list is what an open list discussion looks like **THIS**.
"Racist, Racist, I dare you to call me a racist you racist".
Maybe the right has closed lists. Maybe they need them less because they can outshout anybody, and never tire of saying the same things over and over again. I'm sure some groups of operatives do because they *truly* don't want people to know what they're saying. Now they're going to dare you to open your full archives, to provide 100 times as much fodder to be SHERRODed (I don't think it will catch on, but the right can talk about "Borking").

I'll wager that right wing journalists don't need anything like Journolist -- even the conspiratorial Journolist of their wild imaginations because they (right wing journalists) are an integral part of the whole right wing movement, with its conferences and other venues in which tactics for pushing this agenda or smearing this or that person are discussed openly.

I think there is a huge unexamined side of the right wing noise machine is ripe for journalistic investigation: the emails that try to look like they are from a friend of a friend.

A year ago I started getting emails my parents' friends had forwarded to them. There would be lists showing who had previously forwarded the item to the friend, and so on, but it was never clear who put it together.

My parents have always been pretty mainstream Republicans. My Mom still has some admiration for FDR and Truman, and feels Nixon got what he deserved, and they are far from ready for the revisionism that says we were "stabbed in the back" by liberals over Vietnam. She has just gotten through reading 3 Cups of Tea and loved it.
They live in a wealthy retirement community with mostly college educated people (ages generally 60-80 and up) who've run small to middle sized businesses and the like.

And they and their friends were getting, and believing in the emails with the links to YouTube videos proving Obama deliberately failed to salute the flag when generals and cabinet members around him were saluting. My mother is distressed and saying "What can you say to defend a man like that?" Actually they were saluting the president while "Hail to the Chief" was played. The email was called "The Crotch Salute" because of the awkward position of Obama's hands. Googling "crotch salute" I get 11,400 hits so it has gotten around and precious few of the hits have anyone debunking it.
They get "parables" in which Obama is portrayed as a smooth Marxist/Mafia thug. And other parables with simplistic economic implications.
They contain bits like "what if I were to tell you that Obama wants to dismantle conservative talk radio through the imposition of a new "Fairness Doctrine. that he wants to curtail the First Amendment rights of those who may disagree with his policies via internet blogs..."

Would you say, "C'mon, that will never happen in America ." (this one is a sort of 12 part call-and response thing).

They received a tirade against Obama by Gene Iacocca which was really a 3 year old anti-Bush screed with selective omissions and just one addition.

Some of them have gotten clever enough to say "Approved by Snopes" when in fact Snopes called them a fraud.

They take an essay from a right wing crazy site and call it an "article" (they never distinguish between "article" and op-ed) from the prestigious WSJ.

It seems the right wing propaganda apparat has 3 parts: (1) The Emails where everything EVERYTHING I've seen has been full of blatant lies. (2) wild bloggers who deal in stuff that has a shred of something to back it up (they can't help it if some pure and simple lies get into their comments section (http://eisenhowersocialist.blogspot.com/2010/05/climate-change-and-energy-policy.html)
(3) Finally the stars, who avoid sue-able libel, and deal in interpretations rooted in millions of under the radar words that THEY don't have to risk saying.

Assuming I'm right about the right wing emails, etc., how can the lies and their sources be exposed?

I think first of all, people are vastly underestimating the impact. I'd propose ongoing polling. Watch them as they emerge and circulate. http://myrightwingdad.blogspot.com/ can help with that, and just poll 1000 (maybe less would do) people soon after something emerges to ask whether they believe whatever is being stated. No need, I think, to say anything about where they would have gotten the idea.

Another course of action without the big cost of polling is, don't let Rush and Glenn off the hook. Call and ask "What do you think of Obama's refusal to salute the flag". (http://therealtruthproject.blogspot.com/2010/07/get-email-with-extreme-anti-obama.html) I believe their hope, and certainly what serves them best, is for these things to remain invisible to all but their partisans, and certainly not make publicity for them to get publically debunked.

If 10% of people are believing a ludicrous lie that is important news. If one can find out where the lies are coming from (there is too much similarity in style for me to believe they come from random "concerned citizens"), that is even more important news.

As for the "anything goes" blogs, I think they need to be taken seriously too. Here, unlike with the right wing emails, there is nothing secret to unmask. One way to take them seriously is to try to determine the size of their readership - some of them no doubt advertize their 'hit rates'. Also, the idea of polling applies equally well to them. And likewise putting more visible right wing (which I say because "Radical Conservative" is an oxymoron) commentators on the spot.

For an example of Rush&co studiously ignoring the "Final nail in the coffin of the global warming hoax", see http://eisenhowersocialist.blogspot.com/2010/05/climate-change-and-energy-policy.html

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