Thursday, June 02, 2011

Credibility Matters

Look, I don't know a lot about New York congressman Anthony Weiner, and I really don't have the time to follow him closely. I think maybe I've seen some video of him in the past, probably regarding the "GOP's War on Women" narrative, and that was the last time I heard about him.

Which is probably why I'm I'm hearing about him now.

Of course, I'd find the whole thing far move believable if the first people to report on the scandal weren't the credibility deficit-running likes of Andrew Brietbart & Co. One of the golden rules of prank-playing is to let someone else discover your handiwork, so your involvement isn't immediately clear to anyone paying attention.

But after Brietbart's reporting on ACORN and NPR were proven to be manufactured, and after the Big Prankster spliced Shirley Sherrod's anti-racism speech into the last Common Sista Soulja music video and called it "news," his involvement with any story degrades its crediblity almost to the point of laughability.

Weiner could have made a solid case that his Twitter and Yfrog accounts were hacked in the first place. Brietbart's almost immediate involvement in the scandal-story only solidifies Weiner's claims, and tells us all we really need to know about this.

How does this get MSM play, though?

I've explained in the past why the GOP, with their lock-step talking points and reliance on winning elections based on emotional cultural issues rather than effective policy goals, is more vulnerable to scandal "coattails" than the Democrats. When your whole party choses to die on the hill of "traditional values," and the folks standing with you on "traditional values" get caught in decidedly non-traditional scandals, you're more likely to all look like fools. You all get hit with the charge of hypocricy, and the photos you took together get rolled out come election time (with typically mixed results based on your voting base).

The Dems, on the other hand, hardly agree on policy matters, much less talking points or stances on values. That's why Democratic sex scandals usually only affect those who engage in illicit behavior, and the staffers who help them keep things covered up. The scandal coattails usually don't extend very far (outside a typical demographic), even though the other side spends limitless talk radio wattage to do so.

And that's the rub. That's why right-wing operatives go to such lengths to try and manufacture scandals surrounding Democratic, liberal, progressive, and left-wing operatives, even when plenty of real (but boring) policy failures exist. These scandals A) play to the base, who love to hear a good scandal like the tabloid followers they are, B) pay the bills, because fake scandals = page views and advertising dollars, and to some limit C) control the narrative, because "Democratic Congressman Tweets Lewd Photo" is a headline people everywhere will remember if it gets picked up by the MSM.

What I can't figure out is why the MSM keeps falling for Brietbart's scams. Then I remember that he and his folks are running five or six or seventy of these types of scams every week, and not even the MSM can keep up.


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