The Argus interview, creating our own reality, big lies, and crossing the line
Family story: When our VW bug's head gasket blew in the summer heat, we ended up stranded at a cheap hotel in Terra Haute, Indiana -- we were moving to a new town because my father's department was no longer tolerable after it split down the middle on the VietNam war -- and on that day RFK was shot.
And when we got to our new house, I remember unpacking with the black-and-white TV on, as I watched RFK's funeral train make its grainy, slow way up the Northeast Corridor to New York.
A line had been crossed: MLK's assassination, RFK's assassination, the war, the Democratic Convention in Chicago, all the lying, and of course, my own childish loss of friends and home... A line had been crossed. Nothing was solid; everything was permitted. And once you're over the line, there's no way to get back.
Like now, I feel, as do, I suspect, others. The way the Obama campaign, (many of) Obama's supporters, the OFB, and our famously free press smeared Hillary on her Argus interview crossed the line.
Now we know where we are.
We live in a political system where Obama's faction of the party -- the Democratic Party -- enthusiastically endorses the vile and baseless accusation that Hillary Clinton wishes, indeed has called for, Obama's death; that she wishes for Obama to be assassinated, just like RFK was, in June 1968. Never mind that this same faction also believes that every word of Hillary's is calculated, and that only an idiot -- and whatever else these lunatics believe about Hillary, they don't believe she's that -- would announce, in advance, that she'd prefer for a political opponent to be shot. And never mind that this same faction is also trying to buy off this supposed would-be murderer with offers of any other office than President -- like Senate Majority Leader, or a position on the Supreme Court. That's doublethink, the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in one's mind at the same time, which is becoming an increasingly prominent feature of the political landscape on the side that I thought I was on.
Never mind all that. The key point is this: Hillary did not say what her enemies claim she said. She simply did not say it. The accusation is not true. The people who propagate it are lying liars. In fact, they are propagating a Big Lie, just like the Republicans we thought we were the only "real enemy." Remember this classic from Ron Suskind? Years ago, it seems:
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."
So, read the Howler how the Obama campaign and the press propagated this latest Big Lie. It's instructive and very familiar:
Let’s explain what happened this weekend. Let’s explain why Robinson, Olbermann, Herbert/Dowd/Matthews all sat up and started to bark.
How did the chronology go down this time? As usual, it all came down to a famous old question: At present, who is scripting your “press corps?”
In fact, a familiar old pattern reappeared in the wake of Clinton’s remark in Sioux Falls. As John Harris explained at Politico, the Associated Press filed an initial report about Clinton’s session with the editorial board—and the AP didn’t mention her remark about Robert Kennedy’s death! At the AP, it was March in May; no one seemed to be troubled by Clinton’s outrageous comment (link to story below). But then, the people who script your “press corps” got busy! As Katherine Seelye reported on Monday, the brilliant minds at the New York Post got the nasty episode started. Then, your press corps’ current masters told the dogs to bark:
SEELYE (5/26/08): Shortly after Mrs. Clinton spoke on Friday, the Obama campaign jumped on the story, sending an e-mail message to reporters saying her comment had no place in a presidential campaign. It linked to a online report in The New York Post that said Mrs. Clinton was ''making an odd comparison between the dead candidate and Barack Obama—a phrase the newspaper later dropped.
So there you see the sad chronology of Friday’s nasty, vile nonsense. The AP treated Clinton’s remark as inconsequential—just as Robinson, Olbermann, Herbert and Dowd had done back in March. But off in the dumbest regions of Gotham, the creepy crawlers of Rupert Murdoch’s dumbest newspaper made a claim so stupid that they later retracted—and just like that, the Obama campaign threw the Post’s dog food to all the dogs! And presto! Just like that! Every shill in America’s “press corps” knew what their current trick had to be. They repeated the New York Post’s stupid and ugly claim—a claim so stupid that the Post even dropped it!—and soon, they were trying to top one another. They competed to see who could bark loudest about the vile thing Clinton said.
Back in March, she had said the same thing—and Olbermann didn’t say one word about it. Neither did Robinson; neither did Herbert; neither did Klein, or Matthews, or Dowd. Neither did anyone at Time—and oh yes, neither did anyone in the “liberal” web! Go ahead! Ask the screaming mimis of the liberal web, the children who are so outraged today. Ask them to show you a single word anyone wrote back in March!
In fact, we’ve all seen this stupid story before, back when the RNC was still scripting the “press corps” (details tomorrow). But is it really so different today? Last Friday, it was Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post which first put out this rancid dog food—offering an interpretation so deeply stupid that even they later retracted it! But so what? If you want to know how your “press corps” works, you have to know who they take their scripts from. And last Friday, they took their script from Obama’s campaign—from the campaign John Judis tells us is “history.” But then, that campaign recently pimped out bullsh*t from “Mister Drudge” too! Should we really be surprised when it feeds on the New York Post!
Last Friday, Obama’s campaign told the “press corps” to jump. The “press corps” barked and then wondered: How high? But then, we’ve written this story for more than ten years: When the dogs were told to bark, Robinson, Olbermann, Herbert and Dowd all commenced barking and howling.
So there you have it. Our new friends in the "creative class" [cough] "creating reality" except this time on behalf of Obama. Is there nobody supporting Obama who doesn't find this troubling? Who doesn't experience the slightest twinge of cognitive dissonance? If so, could I please have a comment or a link?
The side that I try to be on is the side of truth and not truthiness. I wish that being on side of truth was being on the same side of the Democratic Party, and I especially wish that being on the side of the Obama faction was being on the side of the truth, because that would make voting for Obama easy, instead of difficult.
Unfortunately, that's not so. I'm not so naive as to think that politicians are truth-tellers by nature, or that making sausage is pretty.
But some things cross the line. Big Lies, for example.
So, for those Obama supporters who think that baseless accusations of the intent to kill don't cross the line; or for those who think that using the trauma of RFK's death to engineer those accusations doesn't cross the line; or for those who say that "Hillary wants Obama dead" is somehow equivalent to "the 3AM ad," or is somehow the same as "cling to," I've got news:
You crossed the line.
And it's going to be up to you to walk your Big Lie back.
You've made it impossible for me to support Obama, and believe me, if I had a constructive alternative to vote for, I would. In a heartbeat.