June 15, 2004

Spinsanity Comes to Slate

SPINSANITY HAS A FISH, BARREL, BANG MOMENT with Slate's Bushisms and the new, cynical, Kerryisms features today. But for all the truth in the item, there's zero chance that the Slatoids involved will back-off. There's simply too much prestige and extra pocket change lurking in the spin-offs from these features to dissuade these two journalistic insects "professionals" from their daily gnaw at the country.

It doesn't matter that they are wrong, and have been shown consistently to be wrong over the years, what matters is that they are part of the "knowledge worker" elite side of the Elite Civil War admirably sketched out today by David Brooks at the Times in : Bitter at the Top:

[E]very society has two aristocracies. The members of the aristocracy of mind produce ideas, and pass along knowledge. The members of the aristocracy of money produce products and manage organizations. In our society these two groups happen to be engaged in a bitter conflict about everything from S.U.V.'s to presidents. You can't understand the current bitter political polarization without appreciating how it is inflamed or even driven by the civil war within the educated class.

Slate's Saletan and Weisberg are members of the first group and don't care if they are right, they just want to win points from their peers. And, of course, they also want the deep cover of "Objectivity and Fairness" while they are at it. That's the primary reason for floating the Kerryism feature; not to make fun of Kerry -- how funny can this man be, really? -- but to provide deniability for the long-running mockery of Bush that has been letting Saletan and Weisberg dine out on plaudits from his pals and advances from book publishers.

Like the applause for the endless and ever growing falsehoods of Michael Moore, truth is not the issue here. The issue is simply, "Can this misquotation

hurt the President?" If "yes," in it goes. In order to advance the overall meme of "Bush Lied" no misquotation is too much.

Spinsanity is correct when it remarks about glass houses in: Spinsanity - Stereotypes run amok: Slate's misleading "Bushisms" and "Kerryisms"

These examples demonstrate that the magazine's efforts to mock Bush and Kerry for their supposed verbal missteps has led Slate to take quotes so far out of context as to essentially engage in outright dishonesty. Weisberg and Saletan seem so eager to find quotes that fit their established storylines that they don't pay enough attention to whether the examples are actually valid.

Given Slate's prestige and influence, these columns matter. Even more disturbingly, in the introduction to the new "Bushisms" book, Weisberg takes his collected quotes as evidence of the President doesn't know much and doesn't care to learn. "Bush may look like a well-meaning dolt," the Slate editor writes. "On consideration, he's something far more dangerous: a dedicated fool."

Those who live in glass houses shouldn't so casually toss around accusations of laziness and intellectual disinterest.

Still it will matter but little. The Bushisms will go on unimpeded by those who point out the truth. It is simply too good a gig. The best we can hope for is that after November, the Bushisms will continue while the Kerryisms will fade into irrelevance.

In the meantime, the smarmy little digs from Slate will continue to be listed on other web pages as one of the low points in American Political "Satire:"

Slate's Weisberg Hits A Low Previously Thought Impossible

Pot. Kettle. Saletan to Increase Self-Medication

Time's Up for Slate's "Bushisms"

Posted by Vanderleun at June 15, 2004 9:32 AM
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