There are those who say that I spend too much time trashing Bobo, that John spends too much time trashing PUMAs and Firebaggers, and that we both spend too much time fixating on the wingosphere. In the comments yesterdays, Toast wrote something that hits on all of this (no, I’m not highlighting this comment just because Toast agreed with me, for once):
This is the thing I don’t get about the Straussians, the Overton Window Fuckstains, and the Glenn Beck “Rodeo Clown” assholes. I don’t fucking SAY THINGS unless I believe they’re true. Period.
The Truth is not something to fuck with, no matter the righteousness – real or imagined – of your ends.
I understand that politicians have to play loose with the truth sometimes — that’s part of 11-dimensional chess, right? But lying to achieve noble ends has no place in any medium that has any sort of journalistic pretensions.
It’s fine to say that the health care reform bill should have done more and had a public option (I agree with this) and it’s fine to say that Obama should
appeal repeal DADT ASAP (I agree with this too). It’s simply not accurate to say that the HCR bill is “fascist” or that Obama is “just as bad as Bush” on civil rights. I get that whole “I’m must moving the Overton windows to get a better bill” thing, but, for example, when FDLers write crazy stuff about the health care bill, it hurts the credibility of its journalistic mission (e.g. Marcy Wheeler and some of the others there).
Likewise, it’s fine for neoconservatives to say that they prefer what they see as traditional societal mores. But when they claim that evolution is bunk (many of them) or make up stories about Red Lobster, the Applebee’s Salad bar, and Clinton’s approval ratings (Bobo) to help prop up the values, they are, simply, lying. And when the Times and Post hire Straussians, they are destroying their own credibility as news sources. Straussians believe that elites should lie to the masses to keep them in line. What could be more contrary to the mission of journalism?
What’s terrible here is that some believe the lies, and see the people who tell them as noble, serious, truth-tellers.
They lie because up until now, they have gotten away with it with impunity. They are looking at the end goal (defeating the president), so anything that gets them there is fine. Now that they are slowly starting to get some pushback, they may think twice about lying so blatantly. Or not. We shall see.
Wish I could disagree with you. And they can take their noble lies and shove them up their noble asses.
C Nelson Reilly
Oh Noes! I predict an Armando sighting in the comments soon, complete with “Hamsher Derangement Syndrome” accusations. Lol.
Not turning a profit?
What I find annoying is the “Everybody does it”/”Some say” mentality journos have when discussing issues where there are no ambiguities–the facts are the facts. Like for instance global warming where you have virtually every climatologist in unison one on side of an issue, but some guy by virtue of being an “expert” has to have his say and be able to spew what basically amounts to BS, and then not get called on it. This happens all the time.
They lie because they believe the ends justify the means. Their goals? Power for its own sake, supporting the corporate state, create an American aristocracy via low taxation on the wealthy, control Middle East oil directly or via Israel….all in all, it’s pretty much a fascist agenda.
The problem with systemic, institutionalized lying in order to achieve your long-term goals, is that it is too clever/cynical.
Actions don’t occur in a vacuum. This ‘lying to push the Overton Window’ strategy may work in the short term, but over time the habitual liars lose all credibility, with the result that nobody believes them even when they are right. It’s a perverse interpretation/turning on its head of Bobby Kennedy’s saying that one’s reach should always exceed one’s grasp.
It’s creeping, no, galloping into straight reporting, as well, this casual disregard for facts. The New York Times, for instance, reports what politicians say, but rarely evaluates whether what they say is, in fact, true.
They do so sometimes during an election season, but not routinely. Seems kind of a glaring lack.
They “get away with it” with the base. But they’ve been whittling away the broader support since Nixon. You don’t have conservative ideology versus liberal ideology anymore. You have the grounded realists versus the fantastic liars and useful idiots. And lying hasn’t had a huge history of GOP victories.
Clinton didn’t go down to Gingrich in the bombardment of lies that characterized any dealing between the two. Environmentalism hasn’t disappeared because the NRO published another hit piece on Al Gore’s waistline. The Iraq War didn’t become a smash hit after Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney announced another corner was being turned.
Honestly, the worst thing the Democrats ever do to themselves is lie. Johnson killed himself lying about Vietnam. Clinton’s sex denial is perhaps the biggest blot on what was a largely successful Presidency. John Kerry’s flip flopping between conservative and liberal was the worst blow to his run in 2004.
The biggest blows GOoPers land happen when they don’t have to lie – or they can make liberals lie for them. And the more blatant and obvious the lies, the weaker GOP poll numbers get.
What you leave unsaid in your post is the destructive consequences of lying. If left unchecked because of successful lies, the earth will get warmer and millions of lives will be harmed or lost. The “we have the world’s best insurance” lie leaves some people overpaying for the coverage they think they have while thousands die every year from lack of health care. The complex problems of our growing population and advancing technology are hard enough to manage well even if we do our best to understand them and adjust to them without the truth being polluted by purposeful lies. Misunderstanding is dangerous on a new scale because of the ever expanding scale of human activity. When I was young we were the first generation that could end civilization on purpose. We have advanced to be the first generation that could end civilization accidentally.
liberty60(Veteran, Great War of Yankee Aggression)
Especially for those of us who have been forced to acknowledge the error of our previous positions, obedience to the truth has a particular resonance.
Which is also why science, with its willingness to base all statements on observable evidence, regardless of the outcome, holds so much respect.
Which is also why I am so wary of tribalism, the PUMAs and firebaggers, and even some posters here, vehemently casting out heretics and apostates from our beliefs. I didn’t leave the cult of conservatism only to enter the cult of liberalism.
So yeah, Doug, keep right on calling out the lying liars, and lets let the facts lead to where they may.
There’s another drawback to wholesale, accepted, lying: the damage done to the liars themselves.
We are starting to see the consequences the liars must face when they can no longer pull back from the lies because their base clamors for more and bigger ones.
They have lost all moorings and now must hastily withdrawn things that are just too crazy; that was not a problem for them before.
An essential part of successful cons, which is knowing where the truth is, becomes smaller by the day. They may not believe their own lies, but the smitten base does, and has trapped them there.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.
A propos of the post title, I’d just like to say that every Elvis Costello fan should get to this tour if they can. I just saw him, and the bluegrass band that he’s touring with is incredible.
Came across some old bookmarks I’m going to dump here.
First, Friedrich Nietzsche:
Some pop psychology from Nicholas Kristof:
As with Jim Manzi’s betrayal (loyalty) of the party line (authority) and K-Lo’s “deep disappointment” (disgust), this moral trinity effectively proscribes self-criticism, hermetically sealing epistemic closure. As well as providing guidance for justifying (loyalty) business executives (authority) in contrast to the less hard-working (disgust),
Finally, David Brooks:
Brooks, apparently, is writing a new book about the latest neuroscience. I expect that we can look forward to some ‘just so’ explanations why the morality of important people, and the status quo generally, is about as close to perfection as we could possibly hope to achieve.
licensed to kill time
Apparently Bellicosity and Shrillness make your voice heard. Or, BS for short.
So how the hell do I reply to a mother who wants me to watch him as a mothers’ day gift? One who believes his crazy history is truth, and thinks he has actual researchers paid to verify, not make shit up?
I’m trying to find some way to have her meet me halfway, perhaps through some Alex Jones “bridge” between crazy conservatism and liberal concern.
If I give her links or ask *her* to research, she cries and says she’s too busy to do anything else. She just likes having Beck on in the background while she works, but of course, it’s all one-sided with them.
What we’re all ignoring here is that Obama tangibly moved the Overton Window, not by talking about stuff, but by actually passing legislation. By 2016, HIR will be the new status quo. Before then, things like a public option and replacing the fee-for-service system, not vague notions of “universal health care,” will be a litmus test for Democratic primary contenders.
Most Americans assume that because it labels itself “news”, it must contain a certain amount of truth. Most of us don’t realize that our “news” content is subject to less regulation than advertising content.
I strongly second your remarks, patrick II. When you are trying to deal with a problem (or problems) it is vitally important to have a clear understanding of the issue(s) you are approaching. When you base your solutions on false premises the only way they can generally “work” is by accident or luck, not design. Implementing policies based on false or misleading information promoted almost solely for political gain or to fit within the parameters of a specific ideology is a recipe for failure (see “Bush Administration, 2001-2008”).
Lying is bad, and the media’s abdication of any role in checking lying, rebutting political lies, investigating corruption (another form of lying) and holding politicians accountable is terrible. But I guess I think that the fact of the matter is that most people in this country–the punters as the brits would say–just don’t have time to become conversant in all the little bits of professionalized, balkanized, information that is out there. Take the current state of the health care system. I’m for the Health Care Bill and I think its very clear that we are going to be better off post regulation than pre regulation. But I can’t blame any ordinary person who is just totally damned confused about what was in the bill, and what it means when the bill comes into contact with reality/health insurance scammers. And the same can be said about almost every major policy issue. People are just totally at sea and the end result is that they turn a large part of their information gathering/assessing powers over to particular media voices: NPR (in my case), Blogs, Beck, Limbaugh–these groups all, to a certain degree, digest and filter information for desperate listeners. Lying and failure to point out lies by these key nodal points in the information web is a drastic destructive force in our polity. But I don’t blame the ordinary person for being bewildered.
@WereBear: To expand upon my thesis without running out of edit time, consider what almost happened with the financiers running amuck.
They almost collapsed the entire world’s currency. And what of their electronic balances and thick pieces of paper, then?
What good would it do them if their estates are under siege from howling starving mobs who are convinced Pop Tarts still exist within?
That’s got to be the ultimate idiot move, isn’t it? To steal so much money that money itself becomes meaningless?
But Mika says that Keith Olbermann is just as bad as Glenn Beck because it’s exactly the same if you lie or if you tell the truth when you sound angry doing either.
Fred at Slacktivist has a top-flight take on this:
Well, I guess it would help if the linky thingy worked, but it didn’t, so I’ll just stick it in here:
I think this is a key point that DougJ hit on with this post. In reality, there is nothing you can realistically do to bridge that gap with your mother. Nothing. Now, you can continue to send her interesting, informative articles in the hopes that she reads them, or patiently explain to her once again that the rodeo clown on television is, in fact, not a serious person. But at the end of the day, the ball is in her hands to make a decision on the credibility of the Glenn Becks of the world, and it would appear rather obvious that at this point in time, she is firmly enmeshed in the propaganda.
But that’s the reason you keep calling out these liars–and their never-ending multitude of lies–and exposing them for the frauds and charlatans they are. However remote, there is always the chance that your mother wakes up one day and begins to realize that she has indeed gone too far down the rabbit hole.
@maus: It’s terrible of me, I know… but just how far will your mother be willing to go?
What if you show up at the door with a very heavy sack and announce that you’ve sold all your worldly goods, bought gold with it, and are ready to live with her and eat jerky?
hells littlest angel
It’s called lying in the service of a greater truth. Or, more succinctly, bullshit.
Why do you hate Plato and Irving Kristol so? What did they ever do to you, but love you and shower you with kisses and candies?
licensed to kill time
@hells littlest angel:
Like “Lying for the Lord” .
liberty60(Veteran, Great War of Yankee Aggression)
Slightly off topic, but Glenn has another great piece on the Village and how it facilitates the lying mendacity:
He touches on the thing I have thought for years- they all went to the same schools, go to the same partys, put their kids in the same private schools, draw pay from the same revolving cast of paymasters; yet when the red light comes on, they pretend to play for different teams.
I read once that Americans are very tolerant of liars, we just don’t like bad ones. Of course the “with us or against us” and “good versus evil” absolutism introduced during the Bush years gave much of the population an excuse to “believe” the bad liars.
Not to, like, nitpick or anything, but:
It is certainly not accurate to say that the HCR bill is ‘fascist’. That’s a word with a meaning. However, to say that Obama is ‘just as bad as Bush’ on civil rights is one of those things (you may have heard of them) that we call an opinion.
And although I don’t agree with that opinion, I do see where someone who would say that is coming from: Obama has taken many of the absolute worst Bush-era civil rights offenses and made them his own. They’ve now been given the imprimatur of ‘acceptable to both Conservatives and Liberals’ (since to the entire country except the liberals, Obama is a liberal).
They are now permanent. None of us will live to see a United States that doesn’t include warrentless wiretapping and military tribunals against anyone that the administration deems an ‘enemy combatant’, and the next Republican president we have will proudly and openly start torturing again, and no one will stop him.
I think Obama is a lot better than Bush on civil rights, but I also think that he has, by his actions and by his inaction, made the country immeasurably worse for civil rights. So yeah, I can see why someone would say that.
@CT Voter: checking facts takes time. then you’ve lost the scoop! the horror, the horror of not being first.
Exactly. This is what is so toxic about having Jane Hamsher and Bobo lie to people about it.
The idea should be “I don’t have time, I need someone trustworthy to explain it to me” not “I don’t have time so I am at the mercy of people who will lie to me about it to serve their own ends”.
Stan of the Sawgrass
Somebody’s probably already posted this while I was reading everyone’s comments, but some nice young folks are doin’ some pushback on David Gregory’s defense of his sandbox:
I don’t do facebook, but I know y’all do, so you do that, and I’ll do the other.
@Allan: Mika is becoming quite a disappointment. She has made a few references to terrible hostility she has received via email and phone calls from ‘liberals’. I wonder if she has been the target of a harassment campaign from chairborne RNC operatives to convince her that there really is a militant left that more than offsets the lying and racism generated by the right.
That and the cupcakes. It took a couple years, but the Village captured her. Maybe she was an easy mark once she had a taste of celebrity.
hells littlest angel
@licensed to kill time:
Yes. I don’t know if religion is the father of lies or the offspring of lies, but there’s no denying the family resemblance.
Americans simply don’t care about what’s true and what’s not. Left and right have different ways of expressing this indifference.
Nah….it runs a lot deeper than that.
DougJ, I am not sure most understand how furiously Dr. Manzi’s heresy on climate change is going to be rejected.
Climate change denialism is foundational to the current conservative liturgy….it the lichpin of a core populist belief, that commonsense and magical thinking trump education and intelligence….
If climatologists and research scientists are FALLIBLE—> [implies] Science is fallible.
Climate change denialism allows perpetuating the belief in IDT and the ensoulment of diploid oocytes, ToE denialism, the belief that neurologists were wrong about schiavo, that scientists are egomanical atheists out to take over the world, that academe is poisoned against conservative principles.
Here is the meme….you noble “real” americans are just as smart as those snotty elitist scientists and intellectuals….you are smart in a different way…a better way….the only way that really counts…..you are godsmart!
In a way, Manzi has challenged the whole firmament of populist conservative doctrine…..
and still it moves…
It’s sad to compare the incisiveness of Nietzsche with the wankery of Brooks and Kristoff.
The biggest LIE, is a giant parking lot at rush hour. ( that would be the Long Island Expressway, and Express is the lie.)
@37 Wonder if Zbig even bothers to disguise his voice during those phone calls?
You could have saved yourself some time by condensing your comment down to the following:
Really, there’s not much else to it beyond that.
I think…the interesting thing is ….will the conservative intellectual guild be able to force Manzi to recant?
Right now they are throwing manners and civility chaff, and deploying the liberals-are-worse distraction meme.
What Manzi actually said is that global warming is real.
That is anathema to official conservative doctrine, which maintains gw is a hoax perpetrated by liberals, scientists and elites to seize power.
and still it moves….
Shorter Doug: I hold my truths to be self evident, and anyone I disagree with is a damnable liar.
@aimai: yeah…this is all SBH and trusted network theory and evo bio.
The big deal is that conservatives have abdicated their responsibilty to educate their base and be good stewards, in the interest of winning.
Do you think this happened during Nixon or under GW Bush more?
@matoko_chan: ‘Godsmart’ is brilliant. Did you make that up? Because I know people who I could easily believe used such a term.
It all goes back to the original ‘ballpark’ quote by Levin’s apologist (I am losing track of the characters here), to the effect that the accuracy of the facts cited were not to be questioned because they support the ‘truth’ of Reagan’s political doctrines. To these believers, doctrine and dogma are truth, and evidence is measured for accuracy by how well it supports dogma. This is the exact opposite of the scientific method and the modern conceptualization of truth and evidence.
In third world contexts these fundamentalist movements are not described as ‘traditional’ (because fundamentalism is usually not very traditional, even as it cites tradition) so much as ‘anti-modern’. Fundamentalism is not always so anti-modern, but it ends up being a very poor way to grapple with the modern world.
@Xenos: i made it up!
I don’t know–I guess I think twas ever thus *for the voters* but as long as the Republicans knew they would be in a position to actually run things, and stick around long enough for the consequences to be felt, there was a kind of natural backstop to the crazy. Its the same phenomenon that you see when a Republican Senator or Congressman becomes a Governor (before they decide to use that to run for President) and they suddenly have to balance the damn budget, please the voters, fix the roads, and also negotiate with the federal government. Suddenly they drop the “no new taxes” shit and start beggging for government hand outs, and suddenly they are receptive to good government/populist appeals (more or less). But when they go from the state house to the senate, especially now that they feel they are in the permanent minority, they essentially give up any sense of accountability to the future–to future voters, or the environment, or anything else.
But if you read Michael Lind’s book–damn, I can’t remember which one, but its one of the early ones–he talks about a southern planter mentality among Republican political figures and voters, a kind of “use it up and move on to rape and pillage elsewhere” kind of mentality that he sees as stemming all the way back to the Southern Plantation aristocracy and some aspects of the frontier mentality. He opposes that to a northern, ultimately liberal, Weberian sense of responsibility for the future which is, essentially, grounded in the necessity of being a good steward of the place you are in because you aren’t moving off in a few years. That’s a bit garbled but I’ve got a bunch of things on the stove which I’m ignoring. Must run.
Dinner tonight (though I know its the wrong thread for this)
grilled aparagus, zucchini, and potatoes
grilled moroccan swordfish in grapeleaves
moroccan pomegranate harrissa with sweet pickled meyer lemons
blueberry/blackberry sauce with lemon souffle
Especially all those times you can empirically prove those individuals to be damnable liars, right? I’m sure that must really piss you off.
Wile E. Quixote
The American press has always been this way. Look at the McCarthy era. Did anyone ever challenge McCarthy and say “OK, you’ve got the names of these 57, or 81 communists or whatever the number is today. Don’t you think you should release them to the FBI so they can investigate them?” Hell no! McCarthy got away with his bullshit for years, it wasn’t until he went after the Army that he got his ass handed to him, and outside of the efforts of Edward Murrow that wasn’t because of anything that the American press did, that’s because the hearings were televised and everyone got to see first hand what a complete asshole McCarthy was.
Despite what they may claim and the image they have of themselves the American press has always had far more Walter Durantys and Elisabeth Bum
lickerillers than Edward Murrows, Carl Bernsteins, Bob Woodwards
I don’t think you are a damnable liar, just rude and not all that bright, FWIW.
I think for a while the noise machine really was entertainment, and conservatives recognized it as such. I remember when Fox News first began, a lot of conservatives (including my wingnut relatives) were actually in on the joke.
They didn’t like the perceived liberal slant of the regular media (which may have really existed back in the day, although not nearly to the extent they thought). And they thought it was great fun to watch a network that called itself “fair and balanced,” apparently tongue in cheek, and then thoroughly stuck it to the libs. Hey, this is a hoot! I remember them admitting somewhat sheepishly that they liked Fox, but then assuring me they didn’t actually rely on it as their news source.
But then somewhere down the line they started pretending, and then ultimately ended up believing, that this really was the news. Now these same people argue with a straight face and apparent coviction that Fox is no more slanted to the right than CNN or ABC is to the left. In the end, you are what you eat, I guess.
Good ol DougJ, always aiming at the heart of the issue.
And in this case, a direct hit.
Hypothetically speaking, of course, since I’m sure this could never possibly happen, but if it were revealed tomorrow that terrorism suspects at the Bagram Air Force were still being tortured or that the CIA had assassinated a U.S. citizen because the Obama Administration suspected that he might be a terrorist sympathizer, then would it be accurate to say that Obama is “just as bad as Bush” on civil rights?
He’d still have to introduce a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, IMHO.
Really? Wow. Just … wow.
Look, on the “just as bad as Bush” thing that is literally, and not in a Bidinian sense, impossible. Bush voluntarily began two wars, voluntarily destroyed our standing among other nations, sat by while a major city drowned, and failed even at the merely ceremonial duties assigned to hims as President. To the extent that Obama has, as every other President before him, opted to continue fighting for the pre-rogatives of the Imperial presidency he’s *no better* than *any* of his predecessors, but he’s still substantially better than Bush.
Yes, but it’s worse than that. When you have “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” thinking at work, you get the kind of flaccid press and punditry that “admires” people for “standing up for something” or appearing to be steady, even if they are dead wrong, or crazy, or just stupid.
In this model, which is the model we are in when we turn on the tv or the intertube machine, any dumbass who can say what he thinks clearly, and defend his views, is better than any smartass who might be more correct or have better facts or bigger ideas but waffles and intellectualizes and thinks out loud or sounds wishy washy.
Think of the commercial where the guy in the meeting who does the best body language and best presentation gets the credit for the idea that somebody else came up with. The audience responds to the theatrical values and not necessarily to the truth of what is going on.
The people on the right know how to own the theatrics. They know that in a contest between good science or good policy, and good theatrics, the theatrics can win.
I think I fixed that for ya.
Man, these people keep bitching about the assassination thing. Can someone find me an article with facts about it? I’m not sure where to look. My UNDERSTANDING is that the guy is holed up in a fortress out of the country somewhere and is thus utterly unarrestable while continuing to threaten Americans. Which… would transform this from ‘Unconstitutional’ to ‘The reason we have police snipers’.
But possibly I have misheard. I’d like to know for sure what the facts are, because man, it’s gettin’ a bee in some folks’ bonnets.
It calls to my mind the distinction Harry Frankfurt made between lies and bullshit:
when FDLers write crazy stuff about the health care bill, it hurts the credibility of its journalistic mission (e.g. Marcy Wheeler and some of the others there).
Quoted for truth.
the problem with the truth, if you believe in it, you can’t believe in anything else. and truth is often contradictory when you add emotional truth into the mix.
The civil rights issue is the ability to issue a death sentence with no due process. So police snipers who are legally allowed to kill any US citizen just on the president’s say so.
Glenn Greenwald has much to say about this.
I rarely comment, but this thread seems to have been created for self-examination. I basically come to BJ for John’s wingnut-trashing. The cats and gardening and whatever is fine, but I usually skim it. I gotta say, though, Doug, your loathing seems out of proportion at times.
Probably the third one is the best example. I’m not saying you have no point at all in these posts, but I’m turned off by when you shit on the merely vapid and clueless as hard, maybe harder, than you shit on the actively malicious. David Brooks is wrong, often, and lazy, and kind of a phony, reliant on stereotypes, inflated opinion of intellectual pin-dancing, whatever, fine. But that’s a level of medium-flawed cognition shared by or even most people in the world. You hate them a little excessively and sort of see them as the source of the problem instead of, say, Michelle Malkin. As a result, sometimes these guys have defensible points and you have been known to blitzkrieg right past or over them.
For all the generally accurate and deserved wingnut-piercing around here, I’d say JC is the best at stopping to lay out the logical problems with the BS he is skewering, and you the most likely to go right to the flaming, which feels good but is the kind of Frosted Flakes for the intellect which got the wingosphere to where they are.