Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zombie Straw Men

I was somewhat embarrassed at my dweeby link begging when I pointed out that I was the first to report Helene Coopers false accusation that Barack Obama debates straw men (and that my report shows that she is a repeat offender). Now I think I have not done enough to drive a stake through the heart of the straw man meme (although having no silver bullet I don't know what I can do).

When denouncing Dick Cheney (in a very good column by the way, do click the link) Ruth Markus casually asserts "Now Obama has erected his squadron of straw men". Now, since she is writing about Cheney, she presents no evidence for this claim made in passing. This is how misinformation becomes deadly.

It has become accepted as a known fact that Obama argues with straw men. This is casually mentioned without supporting evidence as a an aspect of consensus reality. The fact that it is a part of Villager consensus reality but not of plain old reality won't help Obama anymore. Al Gore invented the internet, but mere bloggers can't teach top journalists what the metaphor "straw man" always used to mean until it was needed to save them from the trouble of figuring out what bothered them about Obama's speaking style.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

President Obama and Secretary Clinton wanted a war in Pakistan, and what we want we all too easily get:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/29/world/asia/29pstan.html

May 29, 2009

Taliban Warn of ‘Major Attacks’ in Pakistan
By SALMAN MASOOD and MARK McDONALD

Hours after the Taliban issued an extraordinary warning for people to evacuate cities, as many as three blasts hit Peshawar, killing at least four people and injuring dozens.