Thursday, April 29, 2010

Epistemic Closure Epidemic? There is Hope

Tom Maguire:
A typical lefty could listen to NPR on the drive to work, pick up the NY Times/LA Times/Washington Post, watch CNN, read Newsweek/TIME, and feel very well informed. Although Ezra might not agree, some of us think such a person is actually well cocooned. To be fair, they often get some "Now they tell us" coverage eventually, as on health care, when the time for cheerleading has passed.

To pick an illustrative but otherwise unimportant example seemingly at random - a regular reader Times reader / NPR listener would have no way of knowing that Obama and his team lied throughout the campaign about his relationship with Bill Ayers, and are almost surely still lying. (David Remnick of the New Yorker preferred the word "disingenuous" in his recent book on Obama.)

Now, if a cocooned lib does not know that Obama has been lying they are more likely to fall in line with the notion that Sarah Palin is a right wing nutjob for even mentioning Ayers.

Obviously, that is not as important as a rational national debate on global warming. That said, I meet many well-informed libs, and few of them take the position that they understand that Obama is lying about Ayers but don't care. The most common response is that Sarah Palin is not fit to be President, which is a bit of a non sequitur, one might think. Bush lied about his military service is another typical but not entirely topical response.

Well. As a broader theme, the notion that Obama is lying about his biography while our watchdog press looks the other way troubles me; I think most libs are not even aware that it is happening.

Video star Andrew Klavan explains NYT's modus operandi.

Janine Turner is making a forthright effort to be an engaged citizen. Her website: Constituting America, and video podcasts as she studies through the Constitution.

Over to You, Bill Clinton, Frank Rich, Joe Klein et al.
[by Mark Steyn]

Actually, there is a lot of incendiary hate out there.... The voiceover is by U.S. citizen (and spiritual mentor, most recently, to Major Hasan) Ayman al-Awlaki. He is explaining the rationale for killing identified individuals, including the creators of South Park.

Mr. al-Awlaki says things like, "Harming Allah and his messenger is a reason to encourage Muslims to kill whoever does that."

Maybe he'd get a worse press if he were to stop pussyfooting around and explicitly incite violence by saying something openly hateful like "I'm becoming very concerned about federal spending."

Politico: Pres. Obama is forgoing issue argument in favor of excoriating individual opponents

Mitch McConnell is in bed with Wall Street “movers and shakers” — and is fronting “cynical and deceptive” arguments on their behalf.

John Boehner is a health care Chicken Little to be mocked for predicting Armageddon if the Democrats’ reform bill passed.

Sarah Palin can be ignored on arms control because she’s “not exactly an expert on nuclear issues.”

And Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are just a “troublesome” twosome spreading “vitriol.”

Democratic oppo research? Comments from Daily Kos?

No, this is your president speaking.

Once chastised for not being tough enough, President Barack Obama has lately been getting personal with his political adversaries — singling them out for scorn in speeches, interviews, asides and even in his weekly radio address.

Rather than just going after big groups of bad guys — insurance companies, lobbyists, the media — Obama has adopted a strategy that gives a face to the enemy.

By setting himself up against specific opponents, he provides a point of contrast that’s useful in invigorating a base hungry for bare knuckles and bravado — and forces those in the middle to choose between him and his villain du jour.
“The presidency is the highest office of the land, and when he differs, he should differ on policy [and] on principle,” said Ari Fleischer, who was the White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. “He’s entitled to fight and defend himself, but not in ad hominem personal style. It’s unseemly for a president to do that.”

Republicans also depict Obama’s approach as a sign of weakness born of a loss of traction on the issues.

“Name-calling isn’t typically done from a position of strength,” McConnell spokesman Josh Holmes said.

In future, issues will be explained more clearly. The internet is enabling Repubs to get their message out more effectively; is enabling Repubs to fight the public relations and marketing fights on more even ground. When Repubs could only get their message out via ABC,NBC,CBS,CNN,NYT,WaPo, certain Repub messages were minimized by these media outlets. The internet makes the playing field more level.

Beyond allowing Repubs to better get their message out, the internet allows journalists and commenters from the right to more widely disseminate their understanding of issues; to more widely disseminate information which CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN/NYT/WaPo either would ignore, or would bury deep in a story on page 15A.


It's a new day. As marketing and public relations strategies are more able to be exposed and destroyed by the other side, the importance of marketing and public relations strategies will diminish. What will gain more and more prominence and importance? Win the argument! On the merits! It's a new day, with even better days ahead.

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