The truth isn't a smear
by bruh21, Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:26:57 PM EDT
Lately, I have been reading words like "right wing smear" in a context that frankly adds little value other than a misuse of a phrase.
As used here, it would render the phrase "rightwing smear" practically useless because it doesn't take into account veracity, misdirection or prejudice due to the weight of the issue being raised versus actual impact. And fo the two others- I would say with misdirection you need to be able to prove its a misdirection and of the prejudice it can't merely be a matter of your candidate looks bad, but instead its meant to make ALL DEMOCRATS look bad. Ethics in DC is real issue. It doesn't matter if the GOP is worse here. It matters that we are trying to convince the public that we aren't just marginally better, but actually better so they will vote for us for a generation.
Often times enough the logic, or lack there of, goes something like this: Rush Limbaugh says X. Because Rush Limbaugh is a vile rightwing nutzoid it's clear he's using X as a smear about ALL DEMOCRATS. X however actually is true of Democrat Z. Democrat P uses that bit of truthful of information to differentiate himself from Democrat Z by saying I am not like Democrat Z. The argument here goes "well Democrat P is engaging in a right wing smear." Or worse yet, he's saying something against ALL DEMOCRATS.
Uh- no. The veracity of information isn't determined by whether Rush used that information or not. It certainly can not be off bounds or else we are limited in our conversations to those things that are relevant and also never having ever been uttered by the right. See, the truth isn't a smear. You may not want to hear that, but it isn't. It may have come from the rightwinger, but that's no excuse to pretend its a smear merely because of that reason. If that were true, then we aren't reality based at all.
I am, of course, referring here to the claim that by Edwards saying that some Democrats are corporate, that's a rightwing smear against all Democrats. The logic is ulimately flawed on its face. One can not take SOME to mean ALL. Its just logically flawed as an argument.
Now, there are those I imagine who will argue, but what's the difference between Obama saying Democrats should accept religion and this. Why is his statemnet a smear against all Democrats, and not this?
Well, the most obvious problem with the statement is that he creates an amorphous group of Democrats to which he attributes something that is false and ultimately untestable. We can't know which Democrats to which he is referring unless he tells us, and more problematically, it really is a false conservative frame of the left and Democratic leadership- that they are anti people of faith that is not sustainable as true by actually examining the facts.
The same can not be said of the influence of money on politics. There is a subset of Democrats who do indeed take money from corporate interests. They are easily indentified through the FEC, lobbying etc. There is indeed an even smaller subset that have done reprehnsible things due the influence of corporate interest (and no I am not referring to Clinton. I am referring to Jefferson from LA).
I can, of course, refer to Biden and his vote on the bankruptcy bill. I can not remember the exact year, but you know the one- where basically it doesn't even allow for escape valves like medical costs. The point is that this subset is definable, and therefore the claim of smear against all Democrats is false on its face. Its also false as to Democrat Z because if Democrat Z is indeed engaging in the activities of which Edwards is referring, then its not a smear to bring it up for the purpose of actual rather than made up differentiation. The difference beween the right and left here is that the later isn't using it against ALL DEMOCRATS. It maybe against your Democrat, but thats not really of any significance other than you want to misuse a term that you know has emotional impact. It is really just being used in this case to shut down uncomfortable truth. That's not what the right does. They don't care about truth.
In the law, they say that the truth is a defense to libel or slander. If you want to claim someone is making something up, fine- that's all good. but to claim a smear merely because the rightwingers used it, is going further than the word should go without ultimately losing meaning with the audience here, and more importantly the American public.
Oh, sure, it can work for a while, but even they eventually realize when they are being hoodwinked, and calling all disagreement with your candidate that starts with the right that is actually proveable a rightwing smear is false on its face. The key element for those of you who would want to misuse my point here is that it must be proveable as to the specific person in question or involve an identifiable subset. Not inuendo, not guilt by narrative, but actually something that one can prove.Update [2007-8-29 9:51:57 by bruh21]: I want to make this clear. This isn't about Clinton. The Clinton supporters often will do this. If Clinton is mentioned in as a side note in anyway, they turn the diary into a Clinton only diary. They did that in another diary in which I made it very clear that I was referencing ALL discourse regarding ALL candidates. Here the discussion isn't about the lincoln bedroom. But because you are busily trying to circle the wagon and defend your candidate, factual assertion becomes impossible. Are you disputing the factual assertion that donor's stayed at the WH? If so, that's fine. But, if not, then you are indeed not responding to my point about factual assertion. This actually came up in quite a different context from another angle from someone with a bone to pick about Edwards stance of trade. I didn't actually know anything about the subject enough to respond so I said as much rather than circle the wagons. The bigger point was this posters insistence that the term 'corporate Democrat" alone is a smeart. Not the Lincoln bedroom. Not any specific reference to Clinton, but the mere discussion of the influence of corporate and money interests on the party. Do you agree with this? That big corporations and money do not have an undue influence in politics? this is what is my concern about this slippery slope in politics? both the part where we start denying facts and the part where we can't figure out solutions because of candidates we support. If you want to understand my rule of thumb about how I look at facts like this- here's how it goes: If the facts are clear, and there is no issue with knowing intent, etc, and if it were someone from the GOP would I react the same way or differently to the exact same facts? My view, and you may not share this view is: I am partisan about my values, not the facts.