9-28-04 - 6


This whole CBS national-guard thing is quite a travesty. First of all, people are incorrectly saying that "the democrats have been attacking Bush over his national guard service"; well, not really; Kerry hasn't said much about it at all, even though he really should have. The fact is, Kerry went to Vietnam and served; Bush pulled strings with his well-connected family, to get into the Guard (which he was not qualified for), and then he didn't even serve in the guard. Now, it seems CBS used falsified documents; that sucks, but it doesn't change the basic story. Alas, it's been twisted and spun now in a way that doesn't make Bush look so bad.

This is part of the standard Johnnie Cochran style defense. Basically your jury (the populace) are a bunch of morons. When somone presents some really strong evidence against you, what you do is find some little minor pointless issue that they got wrong, and you attack the hell out of that. Like, let's say Bush's policies have put us $537 billion in debt, and his tax cut has given $52 billion back to the top-1% of the rich (I'm just making those numbers up). Now, some democrat makes a speech and says "he put us $500 billion in debt and gave $60 billion to the rich". The next day you get GOP operatives all over the news going "this democrat is lying to you; how can you even trust him if he can't get his figures right? blah blah", then the news focuses on the attack and the counter-attack, and the original point is lost.

Another good trick I've seen a lot of recently is the "big announcement" followed by inaction or retraction. There have been some nice ones in corporate America. Some company is accused of cooking the books and financial fraud, etc. They make a big announcement, and the CEO steps down. That all makes the front page of the business section. A few weeks later, they re-hire the same CEO, and he gets a nice signing bonus. That makes page 5. The gov does it a lot too; some big attrocity happens, like the Abu Ghraib torture, etc. so they act all serious and "form a committee to investigate". That's all front-page. Time passes and people forget about it, and finally the committee announces its findings (hopefully after the election), which is a lot of BS, and never makes big news.

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old rants