Wednesday, January 25, 2006


So I emailed Hardball's advertisers as per the "Boycott Hardball" campaign. So far just got a generic customer service response back from Toyota. This site has an explanation of what the boycott is all about.

Political Bias Study

My dad emailed this story about how people make political decisions irrationally. I ain't buyin' it, because even the study in the story asserts bias on the part of the participants based on the fact that they are "ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted."

I can agree that most people make all decisions irrationally, political decisions included. But unlike my father, who has concluded that all political convictions are merely opinions, I contend that there are those who can see the merit or lack thereof of a policy or candidate's claim and then decide to support or reject it accordingly. That is how it should work.

But I realize that that is not in vogue these days--being a member of the reality-based community just ain't fly, yo. Dis here da shizzle peeps be bumpin':

"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"

That is of course from the famous Ron Suskind piece published in the New York Times Magazine on Oct. 17, 2004.

And that's what this story about political bias gets to. The story draws this conclusion from the study: "The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making."

It's the culmination of the decades-long war on facts, on journalism, the truth, etc. David Brock nailed it when he said in the Republican Noise Machine that one the biggest goals of the conservative movement has been to get the press and the public to treat facts as opinions and opinions as facts (I'm roughly paraphrasing without the book in front of me).

If this becomes the conventional wisdom (if it hasn't already), then there's no hope for our political discourse, as Bob Somerby has tirelessly and painstakingly pointed out. I mean, there's already so little hope that this study is little more than spitting on a rotten corpse, but still...

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