Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Truth, Justice, and a Hard-Boiled Egg

This is unsourced Drudge, so caveat lector, but if true it's a mind-bogglingly stupid ad concept: KERRY/EDWARDS CAMPAIGN PREPARING CAMPAIGN AD ON MISSING EXPLOSIVES **Exclusive** :30 spot called "obligation" JOHN KERRY: "The obligation of a Commander in Chief is to keep our country safe. In Iraq, George Bush has overextended our troops..." JOHN KERRY: "...and now failed to secure 380 tons of deadly explosives." JOHN KERRY: "The kind used for attacks in Iraq, and for terrorist bombings." JOHN KERRY: "His Iraq misjudgments put our soldiers at risk, and make our country less secure. And all he offers is more of the same. As President, I'll bring a fresh start to protect our troops and our nation. I'm John Kerry and I approved this message. Um. Did KE04 not get the memo about that particular claim? For supposedly being the messiah of the "reality-based community," Kerry is winning himself no medals for plain old awareness of objective facts, let alone understanding of their meaning. Nor, for that matter, is the increasingly shrill and jaw-droppingly nasty behaviour of the mainstream media of late, not least CBS News. To quote Brian Tiemann: This isn't even about typewriter fonts and thin wheedling excuses that certain kinds of Word documents might possibly, given the right alignment of planets and a National Guard officer with a sufficiently insane high-end typography hobby, have been produced in 1970, an argument that could just peter out over the course of weeks and fall out of the public consciousness as they got lost in details of kerning and superscripts. No... this is about an easily verifiable story that they are baldfacedly lying about with the explicit purpose of influencing the election. The difference between this and, say, claiming on Halloween evening that Bush was never in fact the governor of Texas and instead spent those years drinking rum in Tahiti while an inflatable version of himself received fellatio in the Texas State House is now reduced to mere vocabulary. No matter who wins, what are we going to be left with after the election? If it's Bush, what are the editors and reporters and columnists going to do? Are they so depraved they can simply lie through their teeth for another four years, saying and doing whatever it takes to demonize him for all time? If it's Kerry, will they drop him too, if he fails to praise and acknowledge their explicit support? Will they really try to pretend their vaunted impartiality never suffered any damage from this election cycle? Do the grubby whores the media have become really think they can come back home, put on a nice dress and sensible shoes, and that everything will return to the way it was, as if it was possible to recapture some imagined sepia-toned golden age of respectability? There is no such thing as absolutely objective journalism. It's been years since I even half-heartedly believed there was. In an ideal world, children would realize that fact around the same time as discovering Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are similarly creatures of make-believe. But the lies of this year - not to mention the half-truths and gorilla dust on the periphery between honest reporting and partisan hackery - reach lows not seen in a century or more. American politics, like those everywhere, have always been nasty; but for the latter half of the mass media era, there's been at least a polite compromise between opinion and fact. Journalists have forgetten why that modicum of civility and honesty existed in the first place: for benefit of their own credibility. They've come to expect that simply being a member of that exalted elite known as The Media automatically gives their pronouncements ironclad credibility. Not just anyone is allowed to be one of the holy acolytes of Cosmic Truth, y'know. But now, they can and are. So what will be left of the MSM? I don't know. I have the horrible feeling we're going to see several years more of Pravda-like behaviour from them - and eventually the average reader, not just we suspicious bastards in the amateur punditry game, is going to be reading between the lines of every story. Even the weather forecast. It'll come to a head soon enough. Perhaps there'll be a catastrophic collapse; perhaps it'll be a slow process of rebuilding credibility from within. I fear this election cycle is only going to be the first spasm in the death throes, however. Either way, this is not going to end well. UPDATE: The ad is true, and out. That was quick. Kerry is now speaking, personally, to the American people, and lying with a straight face. He's not doing it through surrogates or anonymous staffers or a faceless voiceover artist. Being honestly mistaken from a preponderance of evidence is one thing; I've forgiven the administration for the lack of WMDs in Iraq, because all evidence and all commentators suggested they were there - and that was never the most important reason for the invasion in the first place. This, however, is just...awful. What Kerry is saying is a flat-out lie, and he has no excuse for not knowing this by now. I hope this backfires. Kerry deserves to have this backfire on him. This kind of damn-the-torpedoes opportunism needs to be punished.

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