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May 09, 2007

Trutherism As A Wedge Issue

Dorkafork suggests that the Politico or whatever leftwing outfit or reporter handling the next Democratic debate ask for a "show of hands" as to which candidates have an "open mind" about 9/11 being an American government conspiracy.

Rob Port wants to see that, too.

Wedge issues are difficult things to negotiate -- one one hand, if you please the base, you'll alienate the center; if you please the center, you alienate the base. And you need both to win; alienating either too much results in defeat.

For that reason, of course, every politician would like to be asked about wedge issues as infrequently as possible, and when he is asked about them, he'd like the questioning to be as softball as possible, with no follow-ups -- he has a carefully-constructed vague straddle position answer to such questions which will collapse and be exposed as evasive and disingenuous should he be pressed very hard with follow-up questions.

Note that the MSM is quite good at asking Republican candidates about wedge issues. Just ask Rudy Giuliani. Or ask any Republican about the abortion issue, which they would be happy to discuss as little and as vaguely as possible, thereby having a better chance of maintaining both their base and the center, rather than being forced to choose between them.

The media loves close questioning about abortion. And Bob Jones University. And the Confederate flag. And etc., and etc., and etc. -- every issue that cuts against Republicans, where the wedge divides base from center, always gets an enormous amount of attention from the Washington press corps.

And what about Democrats' wedge issues? Not only does the media refuse to ask such questions, except in the easiest softball way -- allowing candidates to give their carefully-vetted focus-group-tested non-answers without having to survive the scrutiny of a follow-up -- the media is often insistent that even asking such questions is "divisive" and therefore unethical, if not unAmerican.

Witness the Democratic candidates being permitted to skate by with vague answers about gay marriage. Oh, marriage is between a man and a woman, but the federal government should certainly not push that viewpoint. (Imagine a Republican trying to get away with claiming that abortion is a woman's right, but the federal government should play no role in guaranteeing that right. Show of hands of all those who think the MSM would allow that position to stand uncritically without a great deal of questioning about whether or not it makes sense to hold a position "personally" and yet be determined that there be no public action whatsoever on behalf of that position.)

Are Democrats ever asked what they'll do once they withdraw US troops and Iraq becomes an Al Qaeda safe haven? What they'll do if "diplomacy" does not stop Iran from getting the bomb -- will they go to war or accept Iran into the nuclear club?

No. Such questions are cutting, sharp, and probing, and therefore dangerous to Democrats. Better leave them with their gauzy evasions if they're to have any hope against the Evil Republicans.

So here we have a very serious wedge issue for Democrats -- a majority of Democrats believe that Bush either knew about 9/11 beforehand, or may have known beforehand; but to the majority of Americans -- including the vital center -- such conspiratorial paranoia is insane, and a Democrat offering support for such a view would be all but unelectable.

Does anyone -- anyone -- expect anyone in the MSM to confront the Democrats about their growing Truther problem?

Of course not-- as always, on a difficult question, they'll be allowed to skate with a vague answer that can be read any number of different ways, both the lunatic base and moderate center reassured that each Democratic candidate is in both camps simultaneously.

So much of media bias isn't what's reported, or what's asked. So much of it is what's deliberately not reported, and what's deliberately not asked.

A Truther Who Just Wants To "Air Some Questions" About WTC 7: Well, no, he's beyond the "air some questions" dodge. He asserts that Osama bin Ladin is actually played by a "troupe of CIA actors."

Show of hands, please?

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posted by Ace at 11:48 PM

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