The Politics of Bullshit
Political careers seem to be like flowers - they're built on fertilizer. Take the recent Swift Boat debate - level-headed people in both parties came out right away to describe it as total bullshit. But this juicy turd of misinformation, squeezed out by Bush's cronies and spread so judiciously across the airwaves, has had an impact. Kerry has to had to spend a lot of money to try to fight back this tidal wave of utter feces.
Of course it was the media who really fanned the flames on this one (I'm switching metaphors here, stay with me). In a campaign as pre-packaged as a Pepperidge Farm Cookie Sampler, there really wasn't much to report that held any interest. We're a country that's gotten used to how crappy our lives are now – we expect to hear the daily death toll from Iraq as we wait for our unemployment checks.
In some ways I can understand how the media would want to talk about Swift Boat Veterans for (Massive Distortions of the) Truth. The media dropped the ball on actually doing any investigation – they seemed to think that simply reporting both sides of the issue constituted being fair. I remember when the media had an obligation to seek out the truth. But I guess the truth would set to rest the controversy, and controversy is the media's catnip.
So it's puzzling to me why the media is all but ignoring Ben Barnes' admission of helping George W. Bush get a National Guard slot. Here we've got a juicy story, full of scandal, and a bonus billion-dollar payoff to boot. And this isn't some group of veterans who, for a short time, happened to be in the same foreign country as the candidate. This is a guy who was the Lt. Governor of Texas and had the power and influence to help somebody dodge the draft. And did so. And is admitting to having done so.
My only assumption? Nobody knows what to do with the truth. If it doesn't have the pungent wiff of bullshit, nobody even picks it up. Which is sad, because I really believe that Americans are smart enough to make the right choices, if they're only given the right information. Hopefully enough will sift through the crap and find the undigested corn kernels of truth.
Okay, that's it for the poo metaphors, I promise.
posted by opus at
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