Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Demonizing with lies

Over at Rowdy Crowd Brian Lambert crafted a post about two Strib op-eds that touched on the issue of journalists judging the veracity of competing arguments (i.e. calling bullshit). He was partially lamenting the reticence of reporters to call obvious lies lies. In the long discussion that followed I pointed out that when one side (Republicans) takes license to lie as a core belief in their value system (justified by the theories of Leo Strauss) it short-circuits discourse. As an example of this lying I pointed out the lies that the Bush administration told to take the nation to war on Iraq. In response, Mike Kennedy asserted that
The Iraq War will continue to be debated. I’m not convinced Iraq should have been the priority.

However, anyone can throw out charges using words like lies and demonizing. It is a form of demonizing in and of itself. The country has serious problems that are not addressed when we resort to name calling.

Thus Kennedy made my point: In "civil discourse" it is apparently not acceptable to point out systemic lying, making actual discourse impossible. I replied
By being the party of grand old liars the Republicans make it difficult, if not impossible to have a conversation. Calling someone a liar immediately makes the person making such an argument open to ridicule as being in-civil at best, and duplicitous at worse. So – if one side does lie, mis-characterize and draw unwarranted conclusions as a matter of practice, it becomes difficult, if not impossible to have a real discourse. This is the box the Straussians and neo-cons have put us in.
Citizens who thus miss the way Republicans lie through their teeth all the time are destined to never understand the corrupt cacophony that is American discourse. Those people may not be convinced of the historical certainty of Bush lying the country into war.

Then today I came across this MSNBC post from 2008 on a study by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism into the rhetoric employed by the Bush administration in the run up to the war on Iraq. The researchers found that the Bush administration made 935 false statements on Iraq alone in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks. I'm sure Mike Kennedy will find some way to discount the study, which is according to script. Telling lies, big and small, and denying traditional ways of knowing things (i.e. the scientific method) is what conservatives do these days.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I do like the way you're working the Gutshot meme.