The Left still shapes the debate

One of the big issues heating up for the election is “science.”  I noted the other day that Krugman has thrown down the gauntlet, saying that the Republicans are returning us to a flat earth world, and, many, including Roger L. Simon, have picked it up, pointing out that Krugman and others have totally abandoned scientific method in order to support their ever-more-dubious claims. Rich Lowry continues in the Simon vein, elaborating on the way in which Leftists use science as a political and social bludgeon, instead of a method of rigorous analysis.

Jonah Goldberg, however, makes the best point of all, which is to challenge the way in which the Left still determines which science matters:

Rich: I liked your column today. But you only struck a glancing blow at my biggest peeve about the whole anti-science thing: Why does the Left get to pick which issues are the benchmarks for “science”? Why can’t the measure of being pro-science be the question of heritability of intelligence? Or the existence of fetal pain? Or the distribution of cognitive abilities among the sexes at the extreme right tail of the bell curve? Or if that’s too upsetting, how about dividing the line between those who are pro- and anti-science along the lines of support for geoengineering? Or — coming soon — the role cosmic rays play in cloud formation? Why not make it about support for nuclear power? Or Yucca Mountain? Why not deride the idiots who oppose genetically modified crops, even when they might prevent blindness in children?

Goldberg has focused upon a small subset of a much larger issue:  not only does the Left still control the dissemination of information (so that its decision to be silent about Obama’s history with Rev. Wright meant most people didn’t hear about it), it also decides what topics are worthy and what aren’t.  Using it’s still bullyish pulpit, it dictates that Republican candidates deserve to have their colons examined, while Democrat candidates get kudos.

During the Bush era, the media focused obsessively on battle deaths, but during the Obama era, that tragic information is all but ignored, even if it takes a more startling or extreme form than it did under Bush’s watch.  It takes the Army to tell us what the MSM ignores.  (Proving, definitely I think, that the focus on deaths was never out of respect for the dead but was always intended to make Bush look like the man murdering, en masse, American youth.)

I am reminded of George Orwell’s point in Newspeak:  if the vocabulary is killed, the ability to think the thoughts dies too.  The media, which has a weakened, but still strangling, hold on American discourse, is trying to place some ideas in our minds (Perry is a stupid, anti-scientific troglodyte) while utterly erasing others (anything bad about Obama).  Since it frames the debate, and sets the rules, it’s going to win or, at the very least, have an disproportionate advantage.

This media framing may be why the guy who picked winners in the last seven elections thinks Obama will win the next one.  Obama fits the majority of Lichtman’s 13 “keys” to election or, in Obama’s case, re-election.  Most interestingly, he counts ObamaCare and the stimulus in Obama’s favor (“major domestic-policy changes in his first term”).  Allahpundit rightly points out that these are deeply unpopular measures, so they shouldn’t count:

[S]urreally, he’s counting the stimulus, which the public reviles, and ObamaCare, about which the public is deeply suspicious, as a point in Obama’s favor because they are, after all, major “changes” to American domestic policy. By that standard, even the dumbest, most hated piece of legislation should be treated as an asset to a presidential campaign so long as it’s significant enough to constitute “major change.” If you flip that Key to the GOP, then you’ve got six for the Republicans — enough to take the White House by Lichtman’s own metrics.

What Allahpundit isn’t considering, though, is that the media, which will shape the prism through which the election plays out, will constantly sell both the stimulus and ObamaCare to the public as “good things.”  The question is whether the public is going to believe the media or its lying eyes.  Past elections, sadly, have shown that, to paraphrase Mencken, you can never go broke underestimating the analytical abilities of the American public.  (Although Ace wonders if even the public can be that dumb.)

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    Lichtman’s 13 “keys” to election (obviously not his own).
    Lichtman lost in the primary. According to the final tally, he received 6,919, or 1.2% of the vote, landing him in 6th place in a field of 18.

  • Indigo Red

    Yes, the American public is that dumb and we will continue proving it until we all are so dumb we stop asking the question.

  • Mike Devx

    McCain played nice with the media and it cost him.  The candidate this time must make it clear to the public, at every opportunity, that the media are hostile, and totally supporting and covering for Obama.

    If the Republican candidate doesn’t do this, and charge them publicly with malfeasance and deception, Lichtman is probably right.

  • Charles Martel

    What debate? Debates only happen between two sides of somewhat equal stature. Since we are racist, homophobic, sexist, illiterate, xenophobic, unfeeling, terroristic morons, how are we possibly involved in a debate?

  • Ymarsakar

    The Left are so Luddite, the Luddites seem moderate in comparison. And the Left wants to talk about the age before science?

  • Ymarsakar

    Propaganda is not about who is or is not gullible or dumb. Propaganda is the art of making the wise, foolish, and the foolish gullible. It’s work. It takes actual work to make people stupid. And if they aren’t dumb enough already, propaganda will make them believe what we tell them to believe. That’s how it works. It’s not about whether someone is A or B or whatever. Propaganda works on everyone. All it depends upon is skill and resources. 

  • Mike Devx

    Charles M says,
    Since we are racist, homophobic, sexist, illiterate, xenophobic, unfeeling, terroristic morons, how are we possibly involved in a debate?

     Charles, you left out patriarchal.  How could you?

    Maybe it falls under ‘sexist’?  I’d ask one of the wommin in my family, but I don’t want to trouble their little ol’ minds.  They’ve got gosh dang plenty enough to do, tryin’ to figger out which nail color to choose tomorrow.

    Hey Ymar, perhaps the art of propaganda is choosing the correct lie?  You want to choose one that your target is already half-inclined to believe.  It would be like posting such a lie on the Web to your target audience, so that they sit up in their chair, excited, and exclaim, “Damn!  I *knew* that was going to be the case!  I just *knew* it all along!”


  • Ymarsakar

    There are four achievements in propaganda. Getting a positive reaction from someone who agrees with the premise of your propaganda line. Getting a positive reaction from someone who disagrees with the premise of your propaganda line. The second is much harder and requires much more skill than the former.

    The second two achievements in propaganda is getting a negative reaction from someone who agrees with the premise of your propaganda line and getting a negative reaction from someone who disagrees with the premise.

    An example of a chain link is to use one propaganda line to get a negative reaction, then immediately follow that up with another propaganda line to generate a positive reaction.

    For example, after Baghdad fell, people who agreed or disagreed with the war felt a positive elation afterwards. This was then used to make people believe in a negative downturn. Meaning people became demoralized, negative reaction, when they saw continued fighting and kept complaining that they thought it was “over” because Bush said so. Bush didn’t say so, but the propaganda line made them believe it because it was one of the two types of negative achievements.

    So no, it really doesn’t matter, for an experienced and talented propagandist, what people believe. Convincing people of what they already believe in, is for advertisers and lower tier untalented propagandists with little resources. 

    Part of propaganda is related to brainwashing. Meaning it sets up its own stimuli. The stuff people see and then say, “you see, I was right all along, I knew it was true”. Yeah, but the thing is, the only reason why that person “knew it was true” was because the propagandist had fabricated the evidence. And then another fabrication seals the deal. Not hard. Unlike watching the same commercials pop up every 30 seconds, you don’t get tired of them because propaganda always makes you think it is “new sources of info” you are getting. But it’s the same source, from the same person, telling you the same thing.

    There is no defense against propaganda. People often want to believe that they can refuse to believe, while they are paying attention. Once you obtain the information and start thinking about it, that propaganda is already working on you. Maybe it won’t convince you 100%, but the second one may. And then the third. And then the fourth. It will all be “tailored” to convince you that 4 different “original” sources tell you that Sarah Palin is a hick and a retard, because so many people and so many MEDIA INTERVIEWS say so.

    There is no defense against propaganda like there is no defense against getting stabbed to death. There is only to destroy the threat. Nullify the attack by destroying the threat. No threat, no attack. No propaganda information, then no threat of believing in anything. Of course people can prove me wrong, but for countless centuries, I’ve seen no examples of this ‘proof’. Whether individuals or nations, they are easily fooled. One might think that it would be hard. But it’s not.


  • Ymarsakar

    Also I hear a lot of talk about the media, but the media isn’t actually doing most of the work. Most of the work is done socially, grassroots style. Meaning, the Republicans keep talking about the media, but it’s not the media the Left believes in. Their strategy and SOP is basically to use the media to get the information out there, but people don’t necessarily believe the news. Which is where the second propaganda line comes up, from their social Lib friends and others who were told the talking points. Now their friends, and people on Leftist forums, and protesters are massaging the information and events to lead people to a certain belief. And people will believe it, because if the news reported and if their friends are saying it is true, wouldn’t it be true? Unless, of course, the media was told by the Left what to say and your friends were told by the Left what to say and think…

    So no, media bias is not the least of your concerns, but it is certainly not the single most important concern. The Left should be your concern. The Leftist propaganda apparatus is NOT SOLELY composed of the media. People make a critical mistake if they believe otherwise. And they will lose the propaganda war if they focus solely on the main sewer media.

    Why do people think Planned Parenthood, SEIU, police unions, and teacher’s unions exist? I mean if the media is enough to simply send messages and control the public, why would they need so many private organizations… well, the reason is because. Because it’s not enough. Because most of the work is done grassroots, not on an national scale by the cable news networks and tv networks.


  • Mike Devx

    Ymar writes: There is no defense against propaganda like there is no defense against getting stabbed to death. There is only to destroy the threat.

    Would you say then that you are controlled by liberal propaganda?  I’d rather believe (and hope) that there are defenses against propaganda.  

    1. Compare and contrast.  For example, is primarily a propaganda mouthpiece for liberals.  A recent article by one of their main propagandists headlines: “Is Rick Perry Dumb?”
    So compare and contrast: Did they also publish an article titled: “Is Barack Obama Dumb?”
    No, they did not.  No, that author did not pen that article.  

    Threefore, you should immediately conclude: Propaganda and total BS.  Note the author’s name. (Jonathan Martin)  Refuse to read anything by that pile of sh*T.  Avoid that news source –  Or at least be very, very wary when you enter.

  • Ymarsakar

    I prevent Lib prog propaganda from taking effect by two simple methods.

    1. I don’t pay attention to the data.

    2. I don’t believe what they claim.

    The only way to defend against a sound attack is to not hear it. The good news is that while one cannot be immune from propaganda attacks, one can block its effects or nullify it.

    If you don’t understand the Leftist story, then it doesn’t have the effect it was intended on you. If you don’t believe what they claim, then you are resisting the draw of the data.

    A common example would be Breitbart. Who here believed it was true that Breitbart got it wrong on Sherry Sherrod? In reality, this black woman owned her own plantation and forced slave wages on her workers and defrauded the government of farm subsidies. Breitbart wasn’t wrong. He didn’t even get to the real deal yet. The moment when people asked themselves, “Is Breitbart right or wrong”, they had already been affected By Leftist propaganda. Instead of focusing on Sherrod’s truth, they were focusing on defending or atatcking Breitbart. It didn’t matter if they were normally conservatives or libs. Their narrative had already been controlled, because they were “paying attention” to the news stories.


  • Ymarsakar

    The weakness to ignoring sources of propaganda you think is Leftist, is that this leads you to feel safe in believing in sources you believe that is trustyworthy. But that’s exactly what propaganda is designed to make you feel, to trust in its worth. Thus you will not be resistant to it if you trust in such information, regardless of the source.

     To resist propaganda, one must clear away one’s own personal biases. One must analyze all data as if it was the same. Neither conferring benefit or immunity if it is conservative, nor giving undue negative views if it is LibProg. The only way to make sure your filter is working is if the filter doesn’t play favorites. I’ve said before that one of propaganda’s accomplishments is making people have a positive reaction when they agree with the premise. Thus whenever I hear conservative lines, I agree with the premise and I feel positive or believe it is true. But I always know and am conscious of one thing. Just because I agree with the premise, doesn’t make it true.

     Nobody is immune to propaganda, especially attacks used in psychological warfare. But that does confer upon propaganda godly or brainwashing powers. People, lib or conservative, will be affected by propaganda and influenced, but they don’t necessarily have to allow themselves to be controlled. They still have free will, presumably.

    What the Left has achieved is to combine propaganda with the destruction of free will.  

  • Libby

    I’m so tired of the seemingly “conventional wisdom” on the Left and in the MSM that faith and science are mutually exclusive. Republican candidates need to stop taking the bait on individual questions that are often used to paint them as anti-science, crazy Christians, such as:
    – Belief in evolution
    – Support of stem-cell research (where they never make the distinction between embryonic vs. adult stem cell)
    – Belief in anthropogenic global warming/ “climate change”
    – Belief in cherry-picked bible quotes
    – Belief that homosexuality (or any LBGT-ness) is innate vs. a choice

  • Ymarsakar

    The Left and science are mutually exclusive. Whenever the Left accuses their enemies of something, 99% of the time it  was always true of the Left instead.

  • Bookworm

    Ymarsakar:  Slow down on the comments.  Excellent though they are, I can’t keep up.

  • Mike Devx

    This is off topic and this is the closest to an on-topic thread for it that I can find.

    To all you Californians: How can you keep putting up with this stuff.  Here’s the latest, via JoshuaPundit:

    Headline: California will eliminate babysitting

    This falls under the idea that good government can be defined as: Government doing ONLY something that is good that is in its COMPELLING interest to do.  In other words, if there isn’t a powerful reason for government getting involved, it must stay OUT!

    Why should the government get involved and intrude in babysitting?  Where’s the compelling government interest?
    What: Some regulatory nut-freak thinks it’s a good idea, and that’s all it takes?

    Sigh.  I don’t know how you take it in California.  Then again, many people ARE fleeing California.  By the millions. 

  • Ymarsakar

    They’ll soon make it illegal to move from one state to another. Then you’ll have the Iron Curtain.

  • Bookworm

    I posted that news story on the “real me” facebook, and sat back and watched as liberals were shocked and disgusted.  As they sow, so shall they reap.  If they keep electing Dems, this is what they will get.  Being liberals, though, they have cause and effect problems.

  • Mike Devx

    Hey Book,
    As you know, California is headed for bankruptcy.  Since it is “too big to fail”, they will demand a bailout from the rest of the country.  They assume they will get it.

    When you’re too big to fail – and can soak the rest of the country for the money you’ll need – you can do whatever you want, because there’s no risk.  So California’s politicians will just keep on doing what they’ve been doing.  Why not?  Even if businesses are leaving the state at a record rate, well heck, that just means that Happy Bailout Day will arrive that much sooner!  Yay!  And Yay For The Rest Of Us!  (sarcasm)

    Here’s a link concerning the record rate at which businesses are leaving California (and, I’m sure, plain ol’ people leaving too, getting just fed up and sick of it all)

  • suek

    Three points:
    Libs for the most part don’t have children, don’t need babysitters, so don’t care.
    I think it was Michigan that “assumed” all child/invalid caretakers were part of a Union, and started deducting union fees – in addition to other state fees.  Huge protests – I don’t remember if the protesters managed to get it turned around.  This is the real goal – Union membership and Union dues.  The payments to the State are just added benefits.
    It may also raise the question about the possiblity that sometime in the future the issues will be raised about employing “children” under 18 – from a parental neglect standpoint, and a child labor standpoint. 

  • Karl

    I would love to see someone stand his or her child up at an Obama Q&A session to ask, “Mr. Obama, what is evolution and why should I believe in it?”  Since BHO is a super-intelligent “light worker”, he should have no problem giving a capsule description and citing two or three of the best bits of evidence in support of it.
    My experience has been that very few people are capable of explaining evolution in anything but a caricature or a straw-man.  
    Indeed, very few people are capable of explaining any scientific concept in a clear or concise manner.