Monday, August 17, 2015

Fact Avoidance as Republican Policy

The people worked up about Planned Parenthood’s policies regarding fetal tissue don’t seem concerned about the fetal tissue that fertility clinics donate to science on a routine basis.

The Washington Post reported on this double standard.

The people worked up about Hillary possibly deleting emails do not get worked up about the 22 million White House emails deleted at the order of Karl Rove...

Pensito Review reported on this double standard.

What makes this difficult for the thinking half of the population is this. These people who are getting selectively worked up are not being intentionally dishonest. They are lying to themselves, you are just in the way.

“…One of the most frustrating things about attempting to engage "a Republican argument" is precisely how often the arguments seem disingenuous. It is not as if rank-and-file activists are actively lying about their motives. It is that they have never questioned them themselves. They have simply heard and regurgitated the talking points so often that they believe their own bullshit and are beyond questioning it. The frustrating thing is not that they are lying to you. It is that in effect (to borrow a Colbert construction), they are lying to themselves at you."

Digby's Blog reported on this interesting and useful gift of self-deception.

Trying to persuade them of the truth is dangerous the way trying to rescue a drowning person will sometimes drown the rescuer. A friend of mine once pointed out that the more you point out the truth to people the less they will believe it.

What are we supposed to do? Wouldn’t you think an advanced society would have mechanisms for revealing and destroying this kind of malicious bullshit? Because it’s all intentional, whether the people know they are being fooled or not.

That corrective mechanism is supposed to be journalism. When Karl Rove explained that the truth about Iraq didn’t really matter because “we create our own reality” it was a journalist who reported that. A lot of us thought the cat was out of the bag, but it wasn’t, because half of America took Mr. Rove at his word about George Bush being able to create new realities. A useful godlike ability, that. Why didn’t that revelation sink the Bush White House?

Journalism Professor Blog discusses the weird reality bending powers of Karl Rove here.

Too often the reporting class just reports, just repeats the bullshit. By reporting the bullshit it becomes news and most people figure news and fact are the same. They have a problem telling bullshit from fact. If it’s reported by a newspaper or a news channel it’s assumed to be fact. Just as Mr. O’Reilly declaring his program is a “no spin zone” means he would never spin a story. Ever. Because he says this with incredible force and conviction makes it even truer. And because Fox viewers are spinning at the same speed as O’Reilly is himself it begins to seem like the spin isn’t spin at all.

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