2012/05/30

Catch-22

So I respond to this piece by making an online comment (The Inquirer  doesn't always, but most of the time and in this particular case, deletes all the comments and re-formats their pieces the next day). I over-stated my case, making the claim that there's no documented case of voter fraud (Where an individual pretends to be someone he's not in order to vote illegitimately) ever having occurred. A commenter posted three URLs to stories of documented voter fraud. I replied okay, fine, there are a few isolated cases of voter fraud, but the documented cases of vote suppression, where the government denies voters their Constitutional right to vote vastly, enormously outnumbers cases of voter fraud and included this URL that documented a few of those many, many cases

The commenter replied that Think Progress is a lefty website and therefore a provider of suspect information and then made comments indicating that he read the URL, but clearly didn't follow the link to the story. Then, today, I saw this piece.

So, if Think Progress is a provider of information of suspect quality because it has a clear political viewpoint and therefore, an agenda, but the national media has decided to black out the issue of the Governor of Florida suppressing votes, then we've got a classic Catch-22. We don't learn of vote suppression from the national media because the national media isn't covering it. Why? Because there's no way to make both sides, the Republicans and the Democrats, seem equivalent. The national media simply can't say that the Rs and the Ds are being equally bad. This is very clearly a story of the Republicans being bad, full stop. There's simply no way to take a middle view that blames both sides or that allows the media to take an above-it-all approach. In order to tell the story, they have to place the blame squarely on the Republican Governor of Florida. Think Progress doesn't have a problem doing that, because as we've already established, they're an openly lefty website anyway.

But if regular folks like myself can't use lefty websites to make political arguments, if we can't point out documentation of the problem that websites such as Think Progress have assembled, then how are we supposed to make online political arguments????? I never asked for a list of objective websites I could use because I don't really believe there are any in any event. PolitiFact.com once purported to be an objective, reliable website, but recently disgraced itself by declaring that Democrats made a "pants-on-fire lie" by saying that Republicans had voted to "end Medicare."

At worst, Democrats perhaps overstated their case a bit by saying that altering Medicare beyond recognition (By changing it from a single-payer type program into a voucher program) was the same thing as ending it. So we can toss Politi"Fact" onto the rubbish heap of once-credible sites. So to me, how we determine how credible a story is relies on vastly more than just who produces it. Back in 2002, the George W. Bush Administration declared that President Bill Clinton had permitted Saddam Hussein of Iraq to kick out US weapons inspectors. I had been paying attention at the time and knew that this claim was not true. Fair.org looked at that claim a short time later, showing the stories as they were relayed in December 1998 and the same news organizations reporting in August 2002.

This convinced me quite some time ago that there's simply no such thing as an always-reliable news organization. I stick with the lefty sites myself because I find them to be very highly reliable and willing to follow the facts, even when they make "our side" look bad. I was a History major back in college and in my military work, had to take an objective and cold-bloodedly factual view of what I was reporting on. I learned very early to document what I was saying and to not make statements that I wasn't able to back up with credible evidence. My background gives me a highly reliable BS detector. I can't simply read who produces a story and glance at the title and tell you whether a story is credible or not, I need to read the actual story, as I did in response to a comment here.

As I like to put it "If Sean Hannity of Fox News says the sky is blue, does that mean the sky is actually green or does it mean that even Hannity is right once in a while?"

Update

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
Wikiquote

ThinkProgress is exonerated in a piece by FireDogLake.
I should add that the DoJ letter refers to “news reports” that alerted them to the voter purge scheme. Think Progress in particular should be commended for bringing this issue to light. Practically all of the traditional media ignored it; the New York Times, even today, gives it short shrift at the end of a story on the judge’s ruling on voter registration suppression. It took progressive media to raise awareness of this scheme to take away the voting rights of thousands of Floridians, part of a larger war on voting being attempted in Republican legislatures across the country.
The piece is about how the DOJ is finally catching up to the State Government of Florida and is insisting that Florida live up to the Voting Rights Act.

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