Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

The coming crisis

Jerry Stratton, August 18, 2010

There’s going to be a crisis between now and November. It may be a big one, it may be a small one, and when it’s all over and done with it will probably look completely misreported. But when it happens, the media and the democrats are going to say that “big government” is the only solution to crises like that.

And it may even be true that government action is the best solution for crises like that, as our plans recognized for oil spills: but our government would be in a much better position to deal with any crises if it hadn’t pissed away trillions of dollars over the last four years.

More likely it will be something where big government gets in the way, as the federal government did when state governments tried to clean up the oil spill.

But the media will try its best not to report those stories.

There will be deception. There will be doctored photos, and there will be headline quotes where one word is quoted and a fictional context placed around it.

They will try to sow dissension and play up the many differences in the diverse tea party crowd.

As they get more desperate, some will turn to fraud.

Through these next two and a half months, keep your eye on the goal. And remember that it’s just one goal in a much bigger game.

Blood, sweat, toil, and tears.

That’s what it means to be an empowered voter. That’s what tea parties have to offer. There are no easy solutions—we’ve passed that point by making bad decisions in the past. But there are simple ones, and we know what they are. The media will try to confuse, divide, and discourage. Keep your head while all around you are losing theirs, and we may yet be able to maintain this lead.

    • If you can keep your head when all about you
    • Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    • If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    • But make allowance for their doubting too:
    • If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    • Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    • Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    • And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
    • If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    • If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
    • If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    • And treat those two imposters just the same:
    • If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    • Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    • Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    • And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools
November 2, 2010: End of media; to delete this media…

KTVA reporters were caught planning attacks against the Miller campaign when Nick McDermott accidentally left his phone on after calling the Miller campaign and getting voicemail. One of the attacks was to make up a story about child molesters showing up for rallies or campaign events of some kind.

“…at least one of them will be a registered sex offender”. Note, that reporter didn’t say “child molester”; that was the attack plan, but they planned to get that attack by finding the more generic “registered sex offender”. Registered sex offender can mean a woman who at 13 had sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend. In some states it might even mean a woman who at 15 sent a topless photo of herself to her boyfriend.

It’s not that hard to find such a person, and the female reporter knew this: “Out of all the people that will show up tonight, at least one of them will be a registered sex offender”. And the male reporter replied with “you just have to find that one person”. Depending on the event, they were probably right; they’d be just as right for a Murkowski event (assuming people show up for those) or an Obama event or any other event. Because they include consensual sex among teens, these lists are huge.

What if McDermott hadn’t made that critical mistake? What if we had never heard them making these plans, and they successfully manufactured a “child molester crisis” to attack the Miller campaign with? Think about your reaction to this news if it had come out as the reporters planned it: on Sunday or Monday, “Sex offenders support Joe Miller”. Only on Wednesday or Thursday—after the election is over—do we discover it was (a) someone not connected to the Miller campaign except for showing up for something, and/or (b) not a child molester.

I know many conservative blogs, especially Republican ones, who would have reacted by throwing Miller to the media dogs.

October 20, 2010: There will be lies

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

The media is desperate to have something to crow about on Wednesday, November 3. Currently, they’ve focused on Christine O’Donnell’s upstart campaign for the Delaware senate seat. But as I wrote in The Coming Crisis, as the election looms closer, the media is getting more desperate. In their latest debate, Democrat Chris Coons misspoke the establishment clause of the first amendment during a discussion about whether the doctrine of “separation of church and state” is part of the constitution. Christine O’Donnell called him on it. Coons couldn’t even name the non-religious portions of the first amendment.

What was potentially election-shaking was that average-person O’Donnell knew the text of the first amendment and what freedoms it contains, and lawyer Chris Coons could only paraphrase one fragment of the amendment.

What wasn’t amazing is that the media out-and-out lied about the exchange to make it look like the opposite happened. In reports of the event:

  • Some media reports “summarized” Coons’ portion of the exchange to remove the misstatement.
  • Other media reports simply rewrote what he said to make him look less ignorant.
  • Many media reports also cut up what O’Donnell said to make it sound like she was questioning the existence of the establishment clause, and not whether it builds a wall between all religion and all government.

The most egregious version of the exchange that I’ve seen was from CNN writer Stephen Prothero. Prothero rewrote Coons’ misstatement of the first amendment to make it look like Coons got it exactly right:

Coons, who seemed surprised by the question, responded by quoting chapter and verse: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” To which O’Donnell, channeling Homer Simpson, asked, “That’s in the First Amendment?”

You can argue that Coons did not materially change the meaning of the first amendment’s establishment clause when he quoted it as “Government shall make no establishment of religion”, but you can’t argue that he was “quoting chapter and verse”. Coons changed one very important word and left out others. It doesn’t speak well for Yale Law School.

September 9, 2010: There will be deception

And as they get caught in their lies, they will get better at lying. They won’t give enough specifics to refudiate them as thoroughly as Gross was refuted—by the people who were there—and repudiated, by people who recognize his article for the sexist trash that it is.

They’ll maintain a plausible deniability: rather than say it happened at such-and-such event, they’ll just say “an event”, and when someone like Dr. Loudon says it didn’t happen that way, they’ll just say, no, that wasn’t the event I meant.

And they’ll get even better, and just make it up completely—so that all anyone will be able to say several months or years later is “I don’t remember anything like that happening.”

When the mainstream media wrote rave reviews of Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, they were embarassed because their reviews included things they’d learned from the movie. Most of those things turned out to be completely, embarassingly wrong. The lesson they took to heart on reviewing Moore’s next movie was not to distrust biased documentaries; it was to not include any specifics about what they learned. We were treated to lengthy reviews of a movie that said nothing about the movie beyond that it raised “larger truths”.

These journalists may be biased, and some of them, like Gross, do appear to be lacking in basic logic, but as a whole they learn from their mistakes. When they start writing things that can’t be checked one way or another, remember that we already know they lie.

Verify or it didn’t happen.

September 1, 2010: They will sow dissension

Oh my. Bill O’Reilly spent an entire show talking about Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally. Fox & Friends talked about it, too. And Megyn Kelly, and Bret Baier, and Greta Van Susteren! It’s all a conspiracy to play up that damned tea party!

No, wait. But Sean Hannity didn’t mention it. You can’t have a Fox News conspiracy if Sean Hannity isn’t part of it!

Okay, change of narrative. There’s a war brewing at Fox!

Right. This is something Ace at Ace of Spades HQ wrote about a couple of months ago: each story has at least two narratives. The one that hurts conservatives will be chosen. Suppose Hannity’s show, like the rest on Fox, had talked about Beck’s Restoring Honor event. The narrative then would have been about collusion among all of the Fox stars.

Dissension is also what the latest Vanity Fair Palin piece is about. In their case, though, it’s some real flailing about looking for an “appropriate” narrative. Palin has never hunted? Believing that requires a conspiracy of epic proportions committed by people who had no idea it would be necessary. But boy, wouldn’t that be a great rumor to get started among the second amendment tea partiers!

Fortunately, I don’t think second amendment tea partiers read Vanity Fair.

We also have to be careful of creating our own dissension. There were a lot of unnecessary threats and insults hurled towards Alaska in the latest primary, and I expect some of them increased the chances of a three-way race. I recommend following Palin’s gracious approach:

Congratulations, @JoeWMiller! Thank you for your service, Sen. Murkowski. On to November!

It is possible to be strong and graceful, and it’s worth striving for even in politics.

  1. <- VJ Day
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