Vol 1 No. 5 December 2, 2004
Tower of Burble
The phenomenon of “Faux” News and the Right-wing radio Hate Jockeys is not new in American media. The technology is updated, but, in the period prior to the Civil War, most newspapers were blatantly partisan. In Eugene, the GUARD was the Democrat paper, while the REGISTER was the Republican newspaper until 1930, when the two papers were merged by one Alton Baker (who would later metamorphose into a park). Up I-5 a few miles, The Albany DEMOCRAT-HERALD is a remnant of that, prior, era, as is the Little Rock ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT GAZETTE.
The polarization of our national media to a specific point of view is nothing new. Of course, the last time we created such a vicious rhetorical rift it became a Civil War.
And THAT media was just about as accurate as this one is. The DETROIT FREE PRESS wrote in an astonishingly UN-prescient editorial on the Kansas-Nebraska Act (which ended up birthing “Bloody Kansas,” John Brown and the aforementioned Civil War):
“... thank God, we have reason to trust that the great prevailing public sentiment of the country is sound on this question; and that the democratic members of Congress from all sections of the Union, responding to that sentiment, will unite in sustaining a measure which looks to future peace and quiet, and to the downfall of sectionalism in the halls of the national capitol.” (February 2, 1854)
The current crop of “journalists” is equally certain that NO electoral chicanery took place on November 2. Just listen to the squealing: The Denver POST wrote, “Election served democracy well ... For all the worry and paranoia ...” while the Fort Worth STAR TELEGRAM headlined “In classic paranoid style.” The Cincinnati ENQUIRER trumped this with: “Election paranoia running rampant -- Bizarre rumors deepen suspicions” while fears of a bad election were pooh-poohed on November 21 in the San Francisco CHRONICLE with “Liberals, the election is over, live with it.”
The Associated Press reported “Election Official Calls Recount Request Frivolous, Insulting,” as Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell took umbrage at the very thought that anything might have gone wrong in a state in which several precincts reported more votes than registered voters: with every discrepancy mysteriously favoring George W. Bush, while Blackwell and his minions prated on about “glitches” and promised to correct them.
This high dudgeon on Black Republican Blackwell’s part is a prime example of the fallacy of Post hoc ergo propter hoc: Effect follows cause. In other words (and this is the common thread in media spin these days): it is insulting to question the counting because it is accurate.
Hmmm. In the absence of a recount, how do we know that the count WAS accurate? Mendacity, thy name be GOP.
Or, how dare we question the questionable results when the exit polling didn’t match the 2000 results? Clearly the exit polls were wrong.
Meantime, the election in Ukraine is being questioned by Republicans (including the always-truthful Colin “Iraq has WMDs” Powell) because of discrepancies in the exit polls.
The one TV reporter who has sort of questioned the questionable results (I won’t go into it with you here, since the information is readily available online), according to MediaMatters.org: “Media conservatives have labeled MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann a ‘voice of paranoia’ and accused him of perpetuating ‘idiotic conspiracy theories’ for his sustained spotlight on the numerous local news reports of voting irregularities during the November 2 presidential election.”
Note the buzzword use of “paranoia.” Post hoc ergo propter hoc. If it’s TRUE, then it’s not paranoia. Why is the media NOT interested in finding out?
But this monochromatic clamor from the press has had its seemingly desired effect. “Important” Democrats, ever the PC conformists, are afraid of being seen as ‘paranoid conspiracy theorists,’ and are ANGRY that anyone is questioning the results of the election.
I received this forwarded e-mail from a prominent upstate politician (whom I do not name for obvious reasons):
“I really don't see the use of protesting the election, which is what the letter is really doing under the guise of ‘technical problems’. It will do absolutely no good and waste what credibility we have.
“I'd much rather see the Dems pursue more useful things - popular vote takes all? National primary? Open primary?
“So I object to sending the letter.”
Post hoc ergo propter hoc: Instead of asking whether the Olympics judging was rigged, let’s start getting ready for the next Olympics. Huh? But if the election was rigged, what is the GOOD of getting ready for the next, rigged, election?
Oh, and what credibility is this nitwit referring to? I have searched in vain through the national media to see where Democrats have any credibility afforded them: from CounterPunch to Crossfire, from the New York Times to some neocon site calling itself axisoflogic.com (who have posted a snooty pooh-pooh-ing entitled: “Critical Analysis: The Power of Delusion.”)
Why, the election HAD to be fair, because if it WASN’T fair, then a monstrous crime would have taken place, threatening the very roots of our (increasingly show) democracy. And that, saith the brilliantly insightful media, CANNOT BE. Therefore, it isn’t.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc means, literally, "after this therefore because of this".
So, the terms “paranoia,” “conspiracy theorists,” “internet,” (we all know how “flaky” those internetsters are, right? Another word for “loon” as used by the mainstream media), “bizarre” and, or course, “delusion.”
Well, my great-grandmother was from Ohio Quaker stock -- where her parents ran an Underground Railroad waystation on their farm -- and she used to have a little saying that was drilled into our heads: “The Truth can always stand questioning.”
Sadly, the old woman must have been incorrect, because we all know that the “truth” should NEVER be questioned -- at least according to Mr. Kenneth Blackwell, a black Republican, the party accused of massively and purposely suppressing the Black vote.
A member of the National Writers Union, AFLCIO, Hart Williams has been in print since 1973, and has written for THE WASHINGTON POST, THE KANSAS CITY STAR, THE SANTA FE SUN, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE OREGONIAN and many others.