According to Vanity Fair, Charles Johnson has found a new way to… complicate… the blogosphere:
Aside from taking issue with the conduct of many online pundits, Johnson is far more alarmed by the failures of the orthodox news media to provide reasonable and accurate analysis to the citizenry at large. I am, too, having recently had occasion to go through a decade of published output from widely-respected and widely-read Pulitzer-winning columnists who turn out to have been wrong about an incredibly significant portion of what they’ve asserted over the years, yet who have almost no chance of losing their undeserved positions of influence… This damaging nonsense in which our allegedly serious news outlets are collectively engaged will continue until such time as it proves to be embarrassing for those in charge of such things. As such, Johnson and I have decided to channel our concern and general crankiness over this issue into a productive response.
Later this year, we’ll be launching a two-pronged campaign by which we hope to increase both the reach and efficiency of the blogosphere, as well as to bring pressure to bear on the media at large. Much of this effort will involve a loose network of bloggers that we’re now in the process of recruiting in order that we might all coordinate on exposing the failures of certain news outlets, for instance. This campaign is being planned in large part around software that’s currently in development by open-source advocate and information technology specialist Andrew Stein and which we believe will assist bloggers in making better use of their medium’s existing advantages; this system will provide for a measurable advance in the manner by which bloggers may distribute, obtain, evaluate, and build upon segments of information. Between the software in question and that skill set unique to those bloggers who have successfully adapted to the information age, we expect that we’ll have some success to the extent that we receive the assistance of others who are similarly concerned about the manner in which Americans are informed about crucial issues.
As Johnson recently reminded me, he once attempted a similar improvement on the blogosphere in 2004 by co-founding the conservative blog compendium Pajamas Media. He later repudiated it as “just another right-wing parrot organization” and sold off his share in 2007. I suggested to him that, in contrast to that particular project, we try to recruit bloggers who aren’t completely deranged. He agreed that this might be an effective approach.
I do not remember previously seeing the names of either author Barrett Brown or “technology specialist Andrew Stein”, but that probably means only that I am not aware of all internet traditions…
On a completely different topic, I really love this mix, but does it seem somehow appropriate that a joyful mashup of 2009’s Top 25 Pop Hits should lean so heavily on the words blame and down?
Isn’t that what Media Matters already does? Or politifact?
The outreach of the fact-based blogosphere is limited. Does the NYT really care if some other platform points out that Tom Friedman has been wrong about almost everything? Does anyone to the right of Mark Warner actually care what Paul Krugman or Ezra Klein or Charles Johnson have to say?
DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal)
How about a ‘distributed’ effort? Rather than having one site as a clearinghouse of information that counters/corrects the media and print punditrocacy, have it as a distributed effort and via crosslinking a specific ‘network’ of ‘respected’ bloggers (and John Cole of course! ;) ). For all that Media Matters is, I have been there a few times but I visit certain blogs daily. I am sure that I am not the only person who does this and having a distributed network of bloggers who act as a truth squad of sorts gives much wider coverage than a single site.
Sounds interesting and if it ever took off I wonder if it could have any effect. It would be nice to be able to call the pontificators on their bullshit and make them justify why anyone should even listen to them if they are full of shit.
Nothing irritates me more than hearing a well-known falsehood being allowed to stand unchallenged, if there was a way to bring these assholes down to earth then I would be on board as a participant/viewer/supporter.
@DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal):
Hmm, so a blogger truth-council? Ok, I get that. Might work, it has to register with the mainstream media, ABC, CBS and NBC.
I’d like to see something like Snopes for political statements. A bipartisan council overseeing the thing, but strictly rating statements based on fact.
I’d also like to see a running scoreboard of national commentators of all stripes (old and new media) with counts of lies, misstatements, inflammatory statetments, etc.
Barrett Brown is pretty cool. Blogs over at True/Slant. Gets into fights with wingnuts. Puts the smackdown on Friedman quite regularly over at HuffPo.
It’s interesting that he and Charles Johnson are working together. It could be a good project.
There are a number of places on the web that will do just that-factcheck.org, for example. Media Matters and Crooks and Liars from a progressive POV.
The problem to me is not so much that people do not have access to these sites, it is that the people who most need them will dismiss them because they contradict Rush and Fox. Many others who are not Rushbots simply can’t be bothered to do their own research. My mother believes everything she hears on Morning Joe, for example, and would not take the time to independently verify it even if you handed her the website and paid her to type in the address. So IMO it is not actually finding the information, it is arousing enough intellectual curiosity and righteous indignation in the populace so they question what they are so lazily fed by the media outlets. That is a far, far more difficult task.
Johnson mentions the VF article at his blog in this post, but only to point to the VF article.
Fact checking that gets the results to the general public would seem to be an eternally good idea.
Maybe 100 bloggers per specialty, but they’d have to have agreement by at least sixty to end debate on an issue.
Right after Al Gore invented the internet Bob Casey was going to give a speech about fact checking at the 1992 Democratic Convention, but they wouldn’t let him because he had spoken out against necrophilia.
Not about Johnson but a couple of weeks ago there was a flurry of conversation on one of the threads about the Hibernating Black Bear cam. I have on the Saturday Today show and they are teasing an upcoming segment that will show the newborn cub. I definitely need a baby bear to start the weekend after The Week That Was.
I would actually like to move away from the whole “fact rating” thing, because often times, issues are nuanced enough that a generally bullshitastic argument can manage a “barely true” from something like FactCheck. I’ve seen plenty of wingers abuse those sites to “prove” things like HCR benefiting undocumented immigrants (while casually ignoring the fact that the way they benefit would also benefit everyone else at virtually no cost… because really, they’re using the “True” rating to convince other idiots that HCR gives free single-payer to Honduras).
Mainly, I’d just like a well organized compendium of all the times a pundit has been wrong or directly contradicted him/herself. I would also like someone to inform Maureen Dowd that she’s kind of a moron. This would give me something to frequently e-mail to my parents, who are the kind of people who, despite being well-meaning and educated, naively absorb punditry as actual analysis.
On a less serious note, please check out today’s panels at http://www.gocomics.com/sylvia to see if it reminds you of someone we know and love.
You just might be able to get a “bipartisan council” to agree on what color the sky is but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if that would be a point of disagreement.
Here’s what would be cool: You enter the URL of an article from the NYT, AP, WaPo. You get back reasoned and well-documented critiques of the facts, analysis and assumption in the article. It would be a moderated service, ie it wouldn’t just give you all the blog posts that linked to the article, and it would only cover a small number of major news and opinion pieces a day. A small, well informed, dedicated staff would be responsible for selecting the pieces to track and the related critiques (blog posts, op-ed pieces etc) from authors that achieve minimum standards of seriousness and integrity, be they left or right.
Not sure if that’s what Barrett & Johnson are talking about, but it would be real progress if someone did this. I might even pay for it.
This is the crux of the matter. As others have pointed out, there are already fact-checking organizations aplenty. I don’t know how such a thing would work unless the new software were somehow able to inscribe indisputable evidence of PUNDIT FAIL on the inside of the eyelids of their publishers and link that failure to their declining revenues. And I’m not even sure it’s linked. Color me skeptical.
BTW, I’ve read Barrett Brown’s blog a little. He had an amusing and long-running dispute with Stacy McCain once, which is probably how he came to Johnson’s attention.
I see the Firebaggers are copy/pasting the NNU press release about the Senate bill as a way to spam-troll with a veritable shit-ton of zombie memes. They’re not even bothering to make their own arguments now. Anyway, it would be helpful if someone made a list of standard stock responses to things like “Allowing insurers to protect themselves from actual fraud is the same thing as maintaining the status quo on rescission” and “Providing limited discounts to people who participate in wellness programs is the same thing as maintaining the status quo on preexisting conditions.”
It is heartening to see that unions don’t think the argument against the excise tax is strong enough to forgo the necessity of deploying a bunch of lies.
@Lisa K.: I agree with Lisa K. that many of the people who would need to hear the corrections or facts would be resistant or outright dismiss the sources that don’t agree with what they think. This is a country where 1/3 of the population thinks there’s a “debate” about evolution or climate change.
There’s some really bullet-proof stupid out there; and it’s loud, proud, and not going away.
It’s an open thread, so I’ll ask about something that’s confusing me this morning: Why do Democrats in Congress take the public’s angry, anti-establishment mood to mean that they should vote not to confirm Bernanke, but not that they should promptly pass healthcare reform? Especially when you consider that most of the public only vaguely knows, or cares, who Ben Bernanke is and what he does, while virtually all of the public is quite directly affected by the ongoing collapse of our healthcare system? And that whoever replaces Bernanke will no doubt do almost exactly what Bernanke would have done?
Is there no end to the shallowness, spinelessness, cluelessness, and general awfulness of the current crop of Democrats in Congress?
@Basilisc: Because firing someone is a way to pass off accountability while still appearing as if you’re taking accountability seriously.
The Grand Panjandrum
@Stroszek: Yeah, I saw that nonsense. I’ve spent quite a bit of time going through the text of the bill and they really are mischaracterizing what the bill actually states. Someone was in a thread last night spouting the “the bill doesn’t REALLY allow pre-existing conditions” bullshit. I was going to take the time to write up a response and link to the appropriate section of the bill as it appears on thomas.gov but didn’t.
For some reason they are willing to believe this stuff when it is regurgitated by someone who confirms their own opinion but want you disagree with them they want you to cite proof if you refute the argument. I don’t think they are persuadable at that point. Rather than citing the real differences in the House and Senate bill they obfuscate and mislead. Those differences are fair points of contention, but you can’t debate someone who doesn’t have the facts straight. They know what they know and will not be moved. It’s more about emotion than actual data to support an argument. These internecine diagreements are frustrating and irritating to say the least.
The Grand Panjandrum
If you want a little something to cheer you up this morning, it looks like President McCain is going to get a bonafide wingnut primary challenge: disgraced former Congressman J.D. Hayworth.
@The Grand Panjandrum: Yeah, they’re definitely in winger territory now, and it’s really depressing to see groups like NNU engage in such Palinesque tactics. It’s obvious NNU just copy/pasted a bunch of rhetoric from FDL and now FDL is linking back to them as “proof” that their initial claims are true. It reminds of the PUMA circle jerks where alegre, NoQuarter and TexasDarlin would cite one another as “proof” for their collectively crazy conspiracy theories.
That said, I think the most obnoxious assertion is their claim that the bill allows insurers to sell policies across state lines and begin a deregulatory race to the bottom. The truth is that states can enter into voluntary interstate compacts in which insurers are still held to any unique regulations imposed by the state in which a policy holder resides. On top of that, it sort of just generally ignores that there would still be universal, Federal regulations imposed that far exceed anything you see in any state today.
Her lack of self-awareness should be more embarassing for her than her daddy issues, which are pretty damn cringeworthy. Pundits’ egos only come in XXXL, but I’m all for anything that serves a counterweight. I never thought I’d ever say this, but good for you Charles Johnson.
/from the other side of the looking glass
@The Grand Panjandrum #20:
J. D. Hayworth is a sanctimonious greedy sleazy teabaggin’ blowhard wingnut asshole.
Where can I send money?
Control the media, control the message. If there’s one thing the reich wingers understand it’s that if you shout loud enough people will hear you, if not agree with what you’re saying. If they hear the same lies over and over again eventually people will assume they’re true. The sheeple don’t take the time to fact check and unfortunately MSM finds it easier to just repeat faux noise/g(no)p talking points than to actually dispute them. As the media is for the most part corporate controlled it only stands to reason that it desires to usher in a corporate oligarchy which masquerades as a democracy as our form of government.
It’s exactly what the tea baggers did.
It’s been interesting, and honestly disheartening, to see the “liberal arguments” against health care reform evolve.
They started with “it will hurt the poor” which is complete nonsense, but they liked it, so they hung onto to it for while. There was massive push-back from the reality-based community, so they dropped that. They then went to “it will hurt the middle class”. But that’s not true either, unless by “middle class” you mean “those with very elaborate health insurance policies that will be subject to the excise tax”. Narrow definition of the middle class.
They’re now reduced to picking individual pieces out of the bill and not comparing them to the status quo, and insisting they are the status quo.
The dishonesty has given me pause. Anyone who advanced one of these arguments has lost all credibility with me, and I don’t care about any “good work” they’ve done in the past.
I’ll take a piece out. Medicare Advantage. A back-door privatization of Medicare that is bankrupting that program, which was probably deliberate.
The health care reform now on the table (bravely, at great political risk) actually addressed that problem, and will make Medicare as a public program, more solvent, not less, by refusing to funnel 20% of Medicare dollars to private HMO’s.
Liberals oppose that? That’s just freaking mind-blowingly stupid.
They’re actually de-funding the single payer program we have by opposing this.
Has Charles Johnson ever honestly and publicly reckoned his own share of responsibility for the flowering of 21st-Century wingnuttery? What little I’ve seen of his post-break output SEEMS to boil down to, “While I was always awesome and reasonable, my allies betrayed my awesome reasonableness by going off the deep-end.” Say what you will about Sully, he has clearly accepted and admitted his own culpability for his post-9/11 craziness and its part in making the country worse. He’s not just singing George Thorogood and pointing fingers. Same for CPO Sharkey here.
The way I’m picturing this is a kind of overlay that loads the original pundit’s article underneath and then lets the bloggers scribble all over the thing. Highlighting passages, annotations, corrections — perhaps even the blog’s readership could get in on the action and then the blog’s owner could elevate the best edits to the forefront.
You’d end up with something like a graded school paper with the teacher’s corrections scribbled all over it in red ink.
Why is this Charles Johnson week?
Oh look, self-appointed experts who want to critique other self-appointed experts in web-based forums. Maybe they’ll cut an exclusive deal with an up-and-coming search engine for ‘scloosive Fact-Results. “Finally, we have monetized the results in our search algorithm. We took the truth-value of the facts you need, and added value – in the search process itself! Now, while others trade in mere fact, you can have more – to give your news business that extra layer of urgency.”
Ehh, I give Sully the Pooh no more than a 4 out of 10 for self-awareness. His apology for vilifying war opponents was half-hearted at best, and he still really, really, really wants to return to the Republican fold…if the R’s ever get over their gay-hating and torture-loving, he’ll be sucking up to them in a cold second.
Johnson gets the luck and you guyz whine about his past?
I was once linked approvingly by the Instapundit and Derbyshire.
I was linked at NRO by the Derb.
Makes me want to hurl now.
Now……I’m a hereditary republican. My great-great grandfathers “summer home” is on tour with the Gugenheim Foundation.
During the 2008 campaign Derbyshire revealed his flaming racism to me in an email convo….that + horrorshow Palin + Bush’s shameless lies about eSCR and torture drove me out of the GOP.
Watergate was two reporters and the WaPo in the beginning.
Rathergate was three blogs.
I think Charles is a natural for Torturegate.
Call me in a couple of years when he has some acts to go with his new-found faith. Until then history is all we got, and it ain’t pretty.
@AhabTRuler: I found it hard to believe that Sully came out in favor of passing health care and resolved to do more to support the President.
The GOP is doing some pivoting in favor of gay rights, ha.
Read the Joe Carter comments on this thread.
This is how the wingnuts are going to spin Torturegate if they can.
We have a chance here to get ahead of the spin wave…..let me repeat….
Watergate== 2 reporters + WaPo
Rathergate== three blogs, lgf, free republic, powerline
Sully is on it already.
I’m putting up the
batlizard signal right now, Johnson reads this blog.
Obi-Wan KenobiCharles Johnson…..you’re our only hope.
@AhabTRuler: well…you shud shun me too then.
I have to say that I find the Charles Johnson turnaround even more amazing than John Cole’s or Sully’s. LGF was one of those places in the blogosphere I always thought of as just hateful. I know I’ll never agree with CJ about many things, but it is heartening to see that intelligent people can see their mistakes and try to do better. If this is CJ’s attempt to make up for his past errors, I support it and actually think it could be a good idea if the effort is different enough from the current web fact checkers and is able to penetrate into the general media consciousness better. I will keep an interested eye to see how he does.
@matoko_chan: Well, I for one wonder about anyone who refers to Rathergate as a positive achievement instead of the online lynch mob that it was where pseudo experts passed innuendo off as fact.
Yeah. When Chuckles Johnson comes clean about his contribution to the present evil we see in this country, I might consider his call to reasonableness. He just wants his shitty blog to become associated with the winning team again.
@MattR: The TRUTH is the data was faked. Rather trusted his research team and he died on that hill.
How was that Johnson’s fault?
If Known Blogspace puts their muscle behind Torturegate the truth will come out. I don’t know what the truth is right now.
But I suspect Cheney does at least….and Bush.
Obama might know too.
Otherwise it looks like we have a rogue military engaging in coverups without executive knowledge.
Will Cheney fall on his sword for Bush?
I’d love to see that.
@Legalize: I think Johnson’s “shitty blog” has more readers/commenters than Cole’s.
I’ve never liked popularity contests, because the roar of the masses could be farts.
@matoko_chan: I really don’t want to rehash that, but there is no accepted truth about the validity of the documents. And the proof that was thrown out by LGF, Powerline etc kept changing as it was debunked until eventually they came up with things that stuck. The real problem is that the quality of the documents is so poor that even if they are authentic it is impossible to definitively prove that which is why they should not have been used as the primary basis for Rather’s report.
@MattR: I am referring to Rathergate as the point where the MSM became permeable to the blogverse, to a point where a handful of blogs perhaps changed history. I have nothing to say about the “right” or “wrong” of what happened.
Watergate brought down a sitting president.
Rathergate destroyed an MSM anchor and fragged his story that might have swung an election.
The pen became a sword.
All the wingnuts have is yelling REALLY LOUD. Trust that they are going to do this over Torturegate. It has already started.
@MattR: unverifiable==faked in a newscycle.
Like I said, if you are going to hold grudges like Kos, you ought to be consistant and hold a grudge against Cole, and against me.
This blog is like an island of cool sanity in a sea of populist dementia.
It might interest you to know that Charles was isomorphic with Cole on Schiavo.
He swung the banhammer on the terribots then like he swings it on the beckbots and creationists now.
@matoko_chan: Yeah this is a good point, as that was precisely the moment that I started reading blogs at all. Before, I just figured it was people exchanging recipes and making up a new kind of popularity contest. Now, it turns out that both of these things are true, unfortunately, and yet there are some good ones out there, and these days I read quite a few blogs, and I never would have done so if not for LGF and Rathergate.
A possible problem with your assertion, however, is that while Johnson may have been a force to be reckoned with back then, he has been increasingly marginalized by the right for going on two years (to the point that they will simply dismiss him out of hand just like most do to Sullivan), and the left doesn’t trust him because he may simply be a Dick Morris-style opportunist. I personally believe it’s more a case of him finally waking from his fear of Islam after 9/11, and that he should be embraced by the left, and you know, noone ever called me naive. Cynical, yes, which is why I wouldn’t trust much farther than I could throw him.
Except when he tried to spread the blame around by saying Al Gore would have done the same thing.
I have no use for Andrew Sullivan.
A lot of people like boxed mac & cheese and white zinfandel, too. What is the point?
@Jamie: I like this idea.
As people say, the web is full of sites that say “this claim is 72% true because [insert tortuous analysis that is instantly ignored and counter-argued by anyone who didn’t start off agreeing with it]”.
My first reaction is that what a site like this needs is a megaphone to break through the noise and get message out to people.
My second reaction is that this isn’t quite right. Having your own cable network surely helps, but think of it this way: the history network has its own supposedly facts based megaphone that people actually watch, and still nobody knows anything about history. Just having a camera and eyeballs isn’t enough. Not nearly.
In an information marketplace (how long’s it been since you saw THAT meme), you need some way to sell your idea. One way is to give apparent facts to people who already want to believe you. That one isn’t going to work here. We need the people who don’t yet agree, and possibly even disagree.
A better way is to bring a mix of credibility (though clearly thorough cross referencing, and showing lots of sources going into it – there’s no Cronkite with prefab institutional credibility available), entertainment (things have to be punchy and interesting to look at, not dry analysis), put information into digestible narratives (that is how people process complex info, like it or not), and it has to be entertaining (sad but true).
That’s why I really like your (Jamie’s) homework analysis angle. Someone needs to build a flash interface that scrolls through an article, with little red circles that pop out to brief coherent refutations, yet with enough thru-editing that it’s not just a tortured fisking, but builds a story of how increasingly wrong the thing is. BTW, any of you guys seen Gin and Taco’s? Ed there is awesome at this.
And it also needs some kind of overall tracker, where you can click on a pundit’s bobble head, and it shows you a layout of their past claims (just imagine Friedman’s)… like a 15 word summary of their position on war, etc… with a “how’d that work out then” that laughs at them or nods, or gives a huge thumbs up… something where you can see in a view how egregiously wrong Friedman has consistently been at a glance.
Something like THAT might get more traction with people, start more conversation, become a go-to place for embarrassing people who need embarrassing, etc.
@Jason Bylinowski: I don’t think the left needs to “embrace” Johnson….that is just more of the partisan crap that is destroying this country.
I’m pointing out that he is a natural ally in the exposure of any coverup of the Gitmo suicides.
He still gets between 80k and 100k page views per day.
And he has logged over 8 million comments.
@Lisa K.: Lisa et al.
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
What I want to know is how does LGF get into Vanity Fair and the NYT Sunday mag in the same week? This story is old news for the blogosphere.
Perfect mac & cheese?
@Lisa K.: well….your bitchin’ is the same as the internicine squabble about HCR as far I can see.
A majority of dems want some sort of HCR…but they may torpedo it because of ideological purity or w/e.
Can’t we agree that exposing torturegate is good thing no matter who gets involved?
One of the problems of Known Blogspace is information segregation in trusted networks, compounded by how homo sap. learns.
It can take 10,000 reps to unlearn something that is proveably false.
This trait goes back to the EEA when flash learning saved lives.
Don’t be a naive sucker.
@Ecks: the problem is that people will only read within their trusted networks.
It is the segregation of information problem.
I will admit to being cheerfully naive and optimistic.
We elected a black president that is also a public intellectual…..that is soooo huge. More of this is about IQ than about race than anyone will admit.
I still believe in Obama…..and in Niccolo.
@matoko_chan: Psychologist? Linguist? Cognitive scientist?
Obama is the avatar of Jefferson’s natural aristoi.
I purely love Jefferson.
How can I not be naively optimistic?
@AhabTRuler: ummm…. a math/physics major about to be seduced by quantum biology. I’ve had classes in cog anthro and neurophysiology as well as q-physics.
This is impossible because any honest fact-checking site will by definition target those who lie the most; these people are conservatives. By attacking conservatives more than liberals, the site/network/whatever will be labeled biased.
Of course, MediaMatters is biased and regularly feels the need to point out stupid rhetoric instead of actual problems. On the other hand, old-media-backed efforts like PolitiFact bend over backwards to find examples of liberals lying to appear balanced. Their standards for judging something said by Obama’s campaign and McCain’s campaign as a lie were amusingly inconsistent.
I have no idea why you are directing this to me, actually. Because I think-and will continue to think-that Sullivan is a self-serving douche, who probably would have been all for enhanced interrogation if someone had just found the goddamned weapons?
He’s pissy because he was made to look like a fool.
Info segregation is certainly a problem, but it’s not a HARD info devision, it’s a soft one.
The main constraint on it is that the world is a messy place, and we feel like we need to understand it, so we need to maintain narratives that explain what is happening. Narratives like “the gov is trying to control us” or “Republicans are lying sacks of shit” and “big corporations own congress.” Some of these narratives are far more accurate than others, but once we latch on to one and become invested in it, we start overweighting things which agree with it, and automatically counterarguing things which disagree.
The firebaggers have latched onto a betrayal narrative now, and are getting all pumped up on it… And once you are in the logic of that narrative, counter arguments are no longer counter arguments, they are attacks… or, if they come from trusted sources, they are backstabs. And the more insecure you feel, the more scared you feel, the more persecuted you feel, the more you are going to cling to this narrative for support and be unable to let it go.
It’s not that I only believe the people I already trust – it’s that I’ve already started developing a model of the world, and my need to have the world keep making sense means that I parse info in light of this narrative.
Now there’s a phase before we get set too far into narratives, and over long stretches of time we can forget about old ones… and when people are in this flexible and/or disengaged state, they’re often not highly motivated to find out a lot, so they’ll tend to ignore info given at them.
So the challenge is, how can we get more accurate narratives out there, because lord knows the Beck’s and Koch’s of the world are pushing some insane ones, and the mainstream soaks up bits and pieces from the edges. How can we educate people about the past steady-state failings of their pundits, and the manipulative tendencies of the right wingers, etc…
It’s a hard problem, and it isn’t just one of more bloggers talking to each other more – though that certainly couldn’t hurt as a part of it.
@Ecks: lol, its not just a hard problem, its an old one.
Its Kylon vs Pythagoras.
Do you recall Kylon of Croton?
He was a local noble who, after being refused entry into Pythagoras’ School for rulers raised a mob of farmers who proceeded to chop up the akousmatikoi (students) and mathematikoi (teachers) alike with scythes and burn down the school.
That is populism in action.
How does one achieve self-representation for the left half of the bellcurve when Jefferson’s NYFs (Noble Yeoman Farmers) simply don’t have the talents to lead? Granted, NYFs might achieve virtue, but virtue without talent is insufficient in a meritocracy.
So your problem is not just making alternate narratives appealing…..it is the fact that a segment of the electorate simply doesn’t have the substrate to be permeable to alternate narratives.
I guess the Ancients are OT, but I do think it would be grand if someone, anyone, made Torturegate their daily beat.
It could be Sully, it could be Anne Laurie……it could be Charles Johnson.
chacun a son gout.
critical mass is what we should strive for.
I think it’s funny that people continue to use this analogy, because unless it is very carefully controlled and moderated, achieving critical mass is very, very dangerous. Might just ruin your whole week.
@AhabTRuler: Nuclear physicist?
@AhabTRuler: Nuclear physicist?
Nuclear physics major?
@matoko_chan: I believe Charles Johnson is still pro torture. Not sure though.
From Barrett Brown, via the VF link:
Good luck with that, Barrett: when you eliminate John Cole, Hilzoy (now retired, alas!!) and Sully himself, who the hell is left?
And I suppose I should even bother to wonder what “media outlet(s)” Charles will be targeting ?
Wow, an anti-Fox News blog conglomerate, what a fabulous idea!
There is a recently coined word (by Stanford professor Robert Proctor) for the point of this post:
agnotology — culturally constructed ignorance (and the study of it).
from Barry Ritholtz’ Big Picture blog (mostly economics and finance, but he’s a great read).
Wow. What an incredibly awful video.