My final thoughts on the Harry Reid quote, which I don’t want to spend much time on, since my main point is that the media (of which I am, after all, a member) is over-discussing it.
The knee-jerk reaction to this over coverage of the story is to say that “the media” is biased in favor of Republicans. This might be true, but I doubt it. I suspect the real reason this story beats out the vastly more outrageous comments of Rudy Giuliani, for example, is that it involves racial issues.
One of the deepest desires of the MSM is to have a National Conversation on Race. This is a polite way of saying they adore trying to foment discord between races. This element is dramatic, divisive, and, best of all, there is no means of resolving it, because everyone is always whatever race they were born as, so there will always be a wealth of stories about it. If a story is really juicy, it might spawn more outrage, subsequent racist remarks/actions, and possibly even riots.
This, I’m sure, won’t happen in this case. The only people who would start riots to oust Reid are the Tea-Party people, and they would’ve done that already if they could. Nevertheless, this makes for an exciting, drama filled story that is meaningless and stupid beneath all the emotional trappings.
That’s what the press is built on.
He’s “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.”–Harry Reid, on candidate Barack Obama.
“We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama,”–Rudy Giuliani, on Obama’s National Security policy.
Which statement is false?
Which statement got more press coverage?
This little item deserves a bit more attention, I think. First of all, I must admit I have a personal bias against Giuliani because, quite frankly, I am biased against jerks. The man is barely even a Republican in terms of his actual political policies (he used to be a Democrat, in fact) yet he has been using some of the worst elements of the Republican party to gain power for himself. That’s my opinion of him.
But, his personal character aside, what’s actually interesting about this is that it seems to be part of a concerted effort to absolve Bush from blame for negligence in allowing 9/11 to happen.
The theory behind this goes like this: everybody makes a claim. They make it a lot. The claim will be analyzed, and, often, proven false; but that is irrelevant. The important thing is, if you get enough people saying it, someone who is utterly uninformed will hear it, and assume it’s true because he hasn’t got time to research it in depth.
Like I said in my previous post, this isn’t the first time prominent people try to hammer home a stock line. I remember a montage on Rush Limbaugh’s show that illustrated this technique perfectly. This sort of thing goes on all the time in politics, and once you know about it, it becomes incredibly obvious. (Remember how every speech at the ’08 Democratic convention pointed out the similarities between McCain and Bush?)
That said, I don’t know if anyone has ever attempted revisionist history on this scale. I know the USSR infamously cropped pictures of people who’d displeased Stalin after they were executed, but this is something else entirely.
What I wonder is:
1. Who is making this concerted effort?
2. Could it work? Will people really start to forget who was President on 9/11?
To be continued…
This is an excellent lesson in how politics works, and in how political parties can play the press.
Giuliani is not alone, you see:
It is curious, I think, that they all have been having this memory lapse.
In seriousness, though, this is by no means a new technique, but I do think it is a tad brazen to do it with regards to something as obvious as a terrorist attack.
Just a quick point–it’s obvious if you think about it, but most people don’t:
It is nearly impossible for a journalist to be unbiased on any contentious issue. If you understand an issue well enough, you almost certainly have an opinion. If you have an opinion, you assume that your opinion reflects “The Truth”. And as a journalist, you must report “The Truth”.