January 29, 2007

None of us are immune

Matt Stoller apologizes for being taken in by the Right Wing Smear Machine. We should all consider his cautionary tale.

It's going to be an ugly campaign. I don't share the illusion about the right, and about myself, that I am somehow above the propaganda. It affects me. TV is powerful, and so are rumors and a really well developed right-wing narrative built into our cultural system, and into my head. I have to work against this every day, and I expect that this is true for many of us. We must work to identity the memes that the right puts out, and stop using them ourselves.
I couldn't agree more. We Democrats have a tendency to idealize our candidates and expect god-like perfection from them rather than allowing them their humanity. We also think that we are on to the right wing media. Oh yeah, we know that when we hear Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter or O'Reilly say something derogatory about our candidates that they are engaging in their usual pull-it-out-of-my-ass smear. But read Matt's full post and understand: that sort of red-meat-for-the-wingers propaganda isn't what trips us up. It's the seemingly innocuous publications and TV shows that will do the trick. We think we are too smart to be taken in. I hate to say it, but we're not.

For example, way back when Kerry bothched his joke about Bush, I heard from a solid, attentive, thinks she's on to the right wing media, that Kerry had called the troops stupid. I was troubled by what she told me and thought, "This doesn't sound like Kerry, but gee, ______ doesn't usually steer me wrong." It wasn't until I did my homework that I found out that, once again, the media was taking a sound bite and running with it. As I said many months ago, Kerry should never try to wing a speech that is written down right in front of him, but that's not the point here.

Understand that the media loves to play "Let's you and him fight." They would rather do that than actually doing their jobs and bringing us solid information that we can use to intelligently make decisions about our candidates. And we too are guilty of sucking the air out of the room by falling for it and wringing our hands over our "tainted" candidate. We can't play along.

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