Friday, July 15, 2005

Non-political Truth

I know we've spent a lot of time here lamenting the strategy of the Bush Administration's strategies for achieving its ends, but Krugman's column from today's Times gets to perhaps my favorite aspect of it:

"What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past, where even partisans sometimes changed their views when faced with the facts. Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth."

Do you guys think this assessment is accurate? And if so, what is the answer to the concluding question, "How did our political system get to this point?" Does the answer have its roots in recent politics, the building of the conservative message machine built over the last 30 years, or elsewhere?


Blogger Vergasy said...

I think we are witnessing (or have already have witnessed) the death to the nonpolitical truth.

Being only 25, I lack the historical perspective to say where the problem originated. I do however have a few (rambling) observations about the matter.

I it has something to do with the nature of the news media -- is it biased against Bush if it doesn't report about all the cars in Iraq that aren't exploding? The facts you choose to present can give very different impressions without there being any inaccuracies. This, coupled with the fact that news must be condensed to fit the page, the timeslot, our attention spans, etc, leaves all news sources open to attacks alleging bias.

The media have been sensitive to the allegations of bias and consequently seem hesitant to call anyone out on any bullshit, no matter how outrageous, seemingly for fear of additional attacks. This means everything plays out as a he-said-she-said partisan argument.

I think a lot of folks are swayed by bad logic regarding a lot of news. Ad hominem attacks are enough to discredit just about any source whether or not the information was actually accurate -- he gave money to Gore so he can't be trusted! I am convinced (by AM talk radio) that there are millions of people in this country who believe everything printed in the NYTimes is a lie.

People seem to inherently want to break into factions, and some politicians have really played to this. It's almost become like rooting for a sports team, as if winning were the only thing and it doesn't make sense to think about how getting your way could be bad.

More later hopefully, and hopefully my thoughts will be more organized.

4:46 PM  

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