Monday, November 08, 2010

Lies > Truth

I was driving to work the other day when I heard Glenn Beck on the radio going on and on about how Obama's trip to India was going to coast $200 Million dollars a day. He was to travel with 3,000 people and 34 US Navy warships would be diverted to protect his entourage.

I'm sure some of y'all heard it, for it went all over the news for some time. This meme was picked up by Michelle Bachmann, a sitting member of congress, as well as Rush Limbaugh and a host of other right-wing talk radio folks and bloggers.

No one ever fact-checked this information. Because if they had done so, they would have found out that it isn't true.

The only thing they got remotely right was that the President was, in fact, visiting India. They are a huge trading partner and strategic ally. In the international status of realpolitik, we're going to need them to balance an economically and culturally rising China. But you won't hear any of that.

You can't unring a bell, and there will be millions of people all over this country that think President Obama just blew $2 Billion dollars worth of taxpayer money, and put the lives of Secret Service and military personell in harms way to go on vacation.

This is all land-of-make-believe stuff. It. Is. Not. Real. Repeating over and over again that it is real is nothing more than lying. But why should these individuals care? No one ever challenges their credibility, because doing so might lead to charges of "bias."

People can scream "Credibility Gap" all they want to about the right-wing, and it doesn't matter. Why?

Because the narrative being employed here has been so long-running, and is so deep and ingrained, that information about this President is not considered on a basis of credibility. The accuracy of information is judged solely on how such information affects the perception of the President.

Ergo: If the information makes the President look bad, the information is true. If the information makes the President look good, that information is untrue. The veracity, truth or factual nature of the information no longer matters. The only thing that matters is what the political goals the information will accomplish.

This is leading us to a bad, bad place.

.

4 comments:

Dante said...

"People can scream "Credibility Gap" all they want to about the right-wing, and it doesn't matter. Why?"

Because it's easy to believe that a President who signed into law the biggest spending increases we've ever had as a nation would spend like a drunken sailor elsewhere, too. If this story were about Andrew Jackson, the first thing most people would think is, "Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuulshit."

I'm not saying it's right to go around spreading misinformation (especially without fact-checking it), but the best way to lie to is make it seem like truth. Likewise, it was easy to believe the swiftboating of Kerry. And if it weren't for the absurdly fake documents, the Killian story likely would've likely stuck to Bush.

Lies are not greater than truth but a well-crafted lie will fit right in with the truth.

Dante said...

The word in quotes above is:
"b[u*10^91]llshit."

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Of course they would think "bullshit," because Andrew Jackson is dead and wouldn't go to India anyway. However, there are folks who don't believe Andrew Jackson owned slaves or kicked the Cherokee out of Georgia.

Believing something that "sounds" true demonstrates how powerful unchallenged narratives can be. You know why? Because we had a Republican President who signed into law "giant spending increases" that few on the right ever seemed to care about. That, among a host of other actions, were actively dismissed until the country lost the city of New Orleans to standing water.

That's what it took for folks to start seeing Bush's critics as credible: losing a city. And even then people were giving him a pass.

Dante said...

"Of course they would think "bullshit," because Andrew Jackson is dead..."

Wooosh. I was just trying to think of an opposite for federal spending. But since you can't wrap your mind around the hypothetical, how about if it were Jimmy Carter this story was about? Dude's out there wearing sweaters thinking we can nudge our thermostats out of the fuel crisis. People would seriously doubt he's wasting that kind of cash and more importantly fuel on a trip to India.

"Because we had a Republican President who signed into law "giant spending increases" that few on the right ever seemed to care about."

IIRC, Bush and Congressional Republicans took a swift kick in the junk over their spending habits. That was a big factor in the conservative apathy in 2006 and 2008.

"That, among a host of other actions, were actively dismissed until the country lost the city of New Orleans to standing water.

That's what it took for folks to start seeing Bush's critics as credible: losing a city. And even then people were giving him a pass."

W
T
F
?

You really think criticism of Bush finally gaining traction had anything to do with Hurricane Katrina? Even for those who gave a shit after the news cycle over-saturation, there was more than enough finger-pointing to keep flak mostly off of Bush. If anything, war fatigue is what finally did him in.