11.30.2008

Demagogues and Weasel Words

Because I have no patience to try and sculpt my comments to suit Ryan's rather ridiculous comment spam filter (nor does he even know how to turn it down or change its settings) and it keeps bouncing my comment, I'm going to post it here. This is in response to his short post, Just a Hunch which discusses why traditional media sources are floundering.

My second comment after a first comment calling Rush Limbaugh a liar and Fox News a sham news channel.

Actually, Ryan, I added that line about crawling up a butt specifically for you. I'm hurt. I would think you would know, by now, that any comment or statement here including a reference to a rectum is a specific nod to you and your famous backside. As for the liberal media bias for Obama, don’t believe the hype. Give a read to this article on FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting), the summary is, basically, there is no pro-Obama media bias. It is well supported and fairly difficult to refute.

Mr.D, when you say something like "most times when people assert that Rush is lying" you are admitting, implicitly, that some of the time he is lying. Most of the time people misunderstand him and some of the time he's telling outright, utter lies that he knows are completely untrue because his job is to appeal to his audience that loves his demagogery.

Inserting weasel words into a statement diminishes the power of your point or, more accurately, pops it like an over-inflated balloon. A weasel word is an escape hatch from a logical progression to a supportable conclusion.

Here, here is Rush Limbaugh’s Wiki page, specifically questions about his accuracy. But because he shows his bias proudly and spews lies and distortions, he gets a free pass?

As for the sources I draw my news from, they are, among other places, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Associated Press, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC (yes, I do watch Olbermann, yes, I do believe him because his facts are verifiable even if his delivery is over-the-top), Wikipedia, Google News, Wired, and a thousand other sources. Do my sources lean to the left? Yes. Does that make them factually incorrect out of hand? No. Would I continue to read or take my news from a source that I know to intentionally spin and mislead me? No. I like my information with as little discernable bias as possible. And I never accept something at face value, I examine and re-examine my thoughts, beliefs and conclusions constantly.

As for my ability or inability to grasp why Rush appeals to a large audience, its the same reason why a demagogue like Bill O'Reilly has a wide audience, he plays to their fears, he strums their hatred and intolerance and prejudices. I understand why demagogues enthrall people, it’s primarily because people want to be told they are right and people who don't think like them are evil and/or stupid. Rush, Billo, Michael Savage and all of the others use the tactics of the demagogue to further their own causes, nationalist rhetoric couched in logical false methods like straw man attacks, false dilemmas, demonization and loaded questions. The demagogue appeals to a person’s baser instincts and desire to be told that their prejudices are the right ones to have, that they are among the chosen ones, that the other side are God-less, soul-less hedonists bent on chaos, anarchy and sodomy. And they cannot tolerate dissenting voices, their arguments cannot withstand scrutiny because they traffic in a distorted reality fed by prejudice and intolerance wrapped inside false patriotism.

You may be asking, after reading quite a lot of things I don’t like, what do I stand for?
I stand for honesty, I stand for integrity (of person and thought process), I stand for a tolerant and open society that engages in rational discussion, I stand for parents taking care of their children and teaching them right from wrong, I stand for allowing others to have their beliefs so long as they allow me to have mine, I stand for freedom of thought, speech, religion and action. I stand for accountability and creative expression. I stand for art, beauty, music and taking care of one’s body. I stand for intellectual curiosity and I stand for standing up against bullies of all kinds. I stand for capital punishment and free markets (not free market profit and socialized risk). I stand for fully funded education. I stand for transparency in government and I stand for universal healthcare.
blog comments powered by Disqus