Friday, September 24, 2004

A bit more on bloggergate

A bit more on bloggergate:

  1. How did the dirty tricksters know that CBS would take the bait and run with the story using the reformatted documents? The brilliance of the plot is that the tricksters didn't substantially change the content of the memos. CBS producers had no doubt been hearing the same stories all over Texas about what a goof-off and drug addict George was, and how there had been critical memos on him in military files. Suddenly, memos with the right information appear, substantially in the format you would expect, consistent with everything CBS had been hearing. On top of that, they arrive from a source with all the right connections, a source who misled CBS by giving them an excellent provenance for the memos. How could CBS resist? I suspect that insiders in CBS working for the plotters helped the plot along by insisting on early broadcast of the report, before the documents could have been properly vetted. The excuse for haste would have been, as it always is, that there was a danger of CBS being scooped on this story had they waited for the quibbles of document examiners. Why rely on document examiners when you have documents with what you believe is an excellent provenance consistent with everything you know about the facts?

  2. From Uncommonsense:

    "Well, as has been noted elsewhere, Bush seems to be campaigning almost exclusively to the Republican base, to the people who sincerely thank God every night that Bush is in the White House. Karl Rove knows what will happen if these people are convinced of the drug use or AWOL story. It's not that they are going to swing over to Kerry. But if Bush went AWOL because he was stoned on coke, they simply won't vote at all. They'll stay home in droves. Which is pretty much the same thing as a vote for Kerry. Bush the AWOL coke-head is Bush's Ralph Nader, the candidate Karl Rove is desperate to keep off the ballot this November."

    Exactly! Given that their policies benefit the class interests of about one per cent or less of the population, a Republican couldn't get elected to be a dog catcher in Texas without the use of a lot of electoral tricks. The main trick is to reduce voter turn out, essentially to convince those who would vote Democrat to stay home. If you combine this with a direct appeal to a number of small but highly committed single-issue groups, a fifty per cent voter turn out allows you to cobble together a plurality. The reduction of voter turn out is done through many methods, some of them highly illegal (illegal manipulation of voter rolls as we saw and are seeing in Florida, and intimidation of and lying to minority groups). The main method, however, is to convince voters of the hopelessness of it all, of the inevitability of rule by plutocrats. Misleading polls, the ubiquity of the Republican message on cable news shows and talk radio, the general denigration of the usefulness of government and public policy, and mudslinging in negative ads, all come together to make politics seem dirty and useless and voting irrelevant and hopeless. If the Democrats want to have a chance at winning, complex policy arguments droned by John Kerry aren't going to do it. They have to fight fire with fire and convince Bush's hillbilly voting base to stay home. The way to do this is to show them that Bush is really not the responsible father figure protecting them from terrorists, but a sinning, irresponsible drug addict who went AWOL because of legal problems stemming from his drug use. Rove's dirty trick was only worth the high risk because of the huge risk of the truth from Texas coming out. Rove knows more about winning than the whole Democratic Party, and they should follow the track which Rove is trying so desperately to hide.

  3. Despite the success of bloggergate, at least one person in the mainstream press, E. J. Dionne Jr., has had the sense to point out that Bush's military service is still an issue only because the Republicans have consistently acted as if Bush has something to hide. It is not CBS's fault that this is still a live issue. It is Bush's fault. Somehow the Republicans have managed to get away with a constant series of petty attacks on Kerry's exemplary war record without even having to answer legitimate questions about what Bush was up to during the same time period. It is also highly ironic that the CBS report, which led to massive attacks on CBS for foolishly accepting the validity of forged documents, replaced another report CBS was intending to air on the Niger uranium documents. These are another set of forged documents, but his time a more easily spotted set of forgeries relied on by the Bush Administration as evidence to start an illegal and immoral war in Iraq that the United States is in the process of losing.

  4. Don't feel sorry for Dan Rather. Dan Rather only has the position he currently has because the Powers That Be decided to reward him for his exemplary service to the Empire back in 1963. He managed to see the Zapruder film before any other broadcaster, and was able to lie on television and say that Kennedy's head snapped forward, a story consistent with shots coming from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository, and thus consistent with the Official Story on the JFK assassination (I can't get the link to work, but here is the Google cache of 'Dan Rather Blinked' by Penn Jones Jr, describing the many oddities in Rather's coverage of the assassination). Misleading photographs were published in Life Magazine, and Life hid the film away for years to keep the truth from the American public. When the film was finally released, it was clear the head snapped backwards, consistent with a shot from the Grassy Knoll and inconsistent with the story that Oswald was the 'Lone Nut'. Dan Rather began his rapid ascent up the CBS ladder because he lied. I guess he managed to convince himself that the Powers That Be wouldn't turn on him if he managed to ruffle a few Republican feathers, but he was wrong.