Monday, December 20, 2004

Take the Red Pill, Take the Blue Pill

Its that time of year again, time for end of year lists, Lists of the Best, Worst, Weirdest, Whatever.

This gem is cobbled together by the folks who still think the corporate owned media is somehow still a liberal bastionThe Ten Worst media Distortions of 2004

This list would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous. We Leftists lately joke about being part of the "reality based" community, but that joke hides a dangerous rift developing in our country.

Its one thing to filter news through your own partisan lense, giving more weight to things told to you by people that agree with your politics; it's a natural human impulse. However this impulse is being manipulated by consevative media and political leaders into a much more powerful weapon. Instead of just trusting them, Conservative leaders want their followers to drink a much more potent brand of cool-aid, and accept that reality is no more or less than exactly what they say it is.

They no longer want them to have to filter at all. They simply want them to ignore inconvienent facts altogether. By politicizing news, they are undermining the very notion of truth, facts, and the existance of a common basis for rational political arguments.

Once upon a time, we could argue about what the news meant ( eg Ollie North-felon or hero?) but we were constrained by the basic facts of the issue ( ie arms were sold to Iran to finance the Contras and it was illegal at the time). Not anymore, now, we have a framework where the facts themselves are as slippery and dependant on viewpoint as opinions were a decade ago. Facts (especially as reported by the media) are mere means of achieving a political agenda and therefore ignorable by anyone opposed to that agenda
Like good deconstructionist literature students, Conservatives ignore the text of any statement and instead analyze the assumed biases and motives of the reporter. They microanalyze psyche of the speaker and totally ignore the Speech itself. (Ironic, in that this is a technique originally developed as part of critical theory by Marxist scholars in the same academia they claim to so despise)

For example, suppose tomorrow it were reported that a Marine regiment had been ambushed and wiped out in Iraq. In a rational culture, this might lead to a debate over the objectives of the war, the effectiveness of the tactics being used to fight it, the cost of the war and the veracity of the Pentagon officials who insist the insurgency is weakened and on the run.

In Neo-con world, even reporting the story is considered ineffable proof that the reporter and the network, hate W and Freedom(tm) and therefore cannot be trusted. To them the War is a success, so any speaker that suggests otherwise has a partisan agenda. Their calculus starts with This War=good (We never invaded Iraq to look for WMD's; we always invaded to spread freedom justice and the American Way) + America Infailable(Always right+always wins) therefore American is winning a just and good war. If this is FACT(tm), then anyone who reports otherwise is "ignoring the good news out of Iraq" and maliciously "accentuating the negative" for their own agenda and can be safely ignored while the winning of the war continues apace.


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