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August 12, 2009

Gibbs Lectures Press on Its Duty to Challenge "Disinformation;" Someone In Press Corps Asks Soicitously, "What More Can We Do?"

And it goes on and on, with the press seeking advice as to how they can knock down "disinformation," with special emphasis on Sarah Palin's "death panels" remark.

If anyone has asked about the White House's own misinformation -- why it continues to insist its plan will reduce the deficit, when the CBO says it will at least add it and will possibly explode it -- I haven't heard it.

Incidentally, let me mention something about Sarah Palin's remark. It's a two-way remark, operating at two different levels:

1) It's a catchy way to describe Obama's plan to make some room in his bloated budgets for trillions in new spending by simply cutting Medicare and Medicaid spending by fiat, as supposedly "wasteful." One may (if one is prissy) object to the heated nature of the phrase, but it's a perfectly acceptable bit of political neologizing for a point widely conceded, including by liberals, as true.

2) It could conjure images of federally-coerced mass euthanasias.

Now, the thing is, the media is reacting as if 1) Sarah Palin obviously meant meaning Two, and 2) even if she didn't mean that, it's just the worst thing in the world to even use words that could suggest that.

This is bullshit. The Democrats, from 2001 until 2008, have played with two-way meanings in demanding inquiries into what Bush knew of 9/11, counting on the fact that this would be taken by some as an endorsement of Trutherism.

And "he lied us into war" was obviously heated, overstated, and deliberately phrased to suggest a 9/11 plot to gin up support for the Iraq War.

And the media did not scold Democrats for deliberately choosing their words to play both ways: to play to more reasonably-minded voters, suggesting all that was sought was an investigation into how the intelligence community reacted in the months before 9/11; and to play also to the absolute paranoid nutter fringe who believed Bush planned 9/11.

Not a single word of scolding for their deliberate, poll-tested formulation that would play to both crowds. No demands that they make it clear they absolutely disown and disavow the latter interpretation. No media hectoring that they choose their words with more precision, and use less heated rhetoric, to tamp down Truther lunacy.

And of course the rules are always different for a Republican, especially a Republican despised by the left and the MSM (but I repeat myself). Now the rule is that she has to disown a catchy formulation for fear she's providing succor and moral support to people who fear a Nazi-style mass-euthanasia of impure undesirables.

Well, to hell with the MSM. If I had seen them patrolling Democrats' soft endorsements of Trutherism so vigorously, I would say they are being consistent and have earned the right to act as referees, calling low-blows and rabbit-punches.

But they haven't. They consistently play the Democrats' game in pushing the Democrats' message to both the center and the far left, making sure the right message plays for the right crowd, never making it into a wedge issue and demanding the Democrats choose the center or far left. (Compare to the media's interest in Birtherism -- here they want to press the point, because they want Republicans on record as either alienating those who don't buy the conspiracy theory or alienating those who do. But Democrats are always permitted to have their cake and eat it too.)

But I'm supposed to be all upset because Sarah Palin chose a dramatic term to describe the Obama plan's (genuine) central pillar of paying for medical insurance for the uncovered poor by taking it from the currently-covered seniors?

No. I decline to do so.

If Sarah Palin's message plays two ways: Tough shit, MSM. You should have taken notice of two-way messaging earlier.

The MSM only seems interested in florid partisan beliefs when they can be used against the right. When florid paranoias run rampant on the left, they studiously ignore them.

The right's more energetic supporters they call "crazies."

The left's more paranoid headcases they call "fellow Democrats" and "esteemed fellow citizens who have every right to be suspicious."

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posted by Ace at 01:23 PM

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