Monday, August 23, 2004

Swift Kick In The Ass For Truth

Apparently, it is impossible to tell a lie anymore.
Seriously. Who was the last public figure that was found to have lied? Clinton. Everyone agreed he'd lied. He said something, it wasn't true, people looked at the facts, discovered it wasn't true, told the rest of us, and voila, Clinton. Liar. Perfectly fair. Nobody's lied since.
They tried to say Al Gore lied about stuff, like inventing the Internet, but to make it so that Al Gore lied about inventing the Internet, they had to change what he said he did to "invent the Internet", and change what he did to "had no involvement in the creation of networks that led to the Internet", so that doesn't count.
Nobody lies now. If they say something that is proven to be not true, they are defended as "honestly mistaken", or attacked as "misleading". Anyway, even if the things said are not true, the fact that they were said is, and that's good enough.
Which brings us to the Swift Boat ads, which I really thought had been taken care of by now. I mean, how many times can something be debunked and disproven while still receiving media attention as if it hadn't? The current count, in case you were wondering, was between four and eight, depending on which ones you feel like including. There's "Um, They Actually Weren't On The Boat", there's "They Said Different Stuff In The Past", there's "He Used To Work For Nixon", there's "He Got The Same Medal For Being Shot At, Oops", there's "Kerry-Corroborating Veteran Breaks 35-Year Silence", and then there's the three lengthy articles in three different newspapers (NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post) that cover the whole thing in excruciating detail only to find that it's, you know. Bullshit.
It's like if someone had turned up with photos of Sasquatch, then video of Sasquatch, then found Sasquatch's cave, then Sasquatch appeared on the Today Show for an exclusive interview with Jane Pauley in which he discussed his Sasquatch lifestyle, and then Sasquatch made the cover of People magazine, and then Sasquatch turned up at the Video Music Awards on with Christina Aguilera on his arm, and the whole time, CNN is running stories every fifteen minutes about how the controversy over Sasquatch's existence is continuing to rage across the country. And you wonder why Sasquatch stays hidden? If the woods had Wi-Fi, I'd be right out there with him.
But that's modern media for you. Here on Crossfire to discuss whether oxygen is necessary for human life, we are giving equal time to the entire scientific community on one side, and the founder of Americans Against Oxygen, who is, in what must be a complete coincidence, DEAD. It would be funny if it weren't so sad, and sad if it weren't so funny.
But what really takes the cake is Bush, and the rest of the right's, response to the Swift Boat ads. "Let's get rid of ALL those mean, nasty 527's! They're all the same! Especially the ones that have been propelling the left to new fund-raising heights that almost match ours! Those 527's have to go!". All of a sudden, Republicans are concerned with the integrity of the process now that both sides can charge the same price for their votes. You'd almost think they didn't believe in capitalism.
A more cynical person than I would think that, given the persistent thorns MoveOn and America Coming Together have been in the Bush administration's re-election plans this year, that an obviously fraudulent 527 was set up just to discredit the rest of them. And that the fact that it's actually gaining traction despite repeated debunkings is just a lovely side-effect. But that would border on conspiracy. Paranoid leftie stuff. This would require the kind of planning and forethought that, were it possible, would probably have been applied to, say, IRAQ.
Comparing the Swift Boat ads to the MoveOn ads is, of course, patently ridiculous. The Swift Boat ads make blatantly false acccusations, the MoveOn ads express political viewpoints. Strong ones, yes, but as you may have guessed, I don't really have a problem with strongly-worded political viewpoints. But equating things that aren't equal is, as we've seen in the past, a big thing on the right. As always, it's just stated boldly. They're all 527's, therefore they're all equally corrupt. This is the kind of reasoning that would have led to the complete elimination of all mail delivery back when the phrase "going postal" entered the lexicon. But people fall for it every time. As usual, the right gets to build the playground, and the Democrats are left hanging by their wedgie from the monkey bars.
I wish the Republicans and their 527's WERE running ads like the MoveOn ones. Or like that Will Ferrell one. I think open mockery and name-calling have a place in today's political world. That'd be a whole lot more entertaining than this Short Bus Veterans for Bush crap.