As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Glenn Greenwald, who has the number 1 book at Amazon right now, writes this illustrative post about the truthiness of the Right:

Don't they have somewhere lurking in their brain any critical faculties at all? For the sake of one's own integrity and reputation if nothing else, who would read an undocumented assertion on Drudge -- no matter how much of an emotional need they feel for it to be true -- and then run around reflexively reciting it as truth, writing whole posts celebrating it and analyzing it, without bothering to spend a second of time or a molecule of mental energy trying to figure out if it's really true?

This intellectually corrupt syndrome goes back a long way and has been festering for a long time. Nuggets of deceitful, fact-free fantasy get planted in some cesspool like Drudge and then mindless followers who want to believe it start repeating it as fact, and then it gets ossified forever as conventional wisdom and can never be dislodged from their minds. That's how Al Gore came to "claim that he invented the Internet," how Howard Dean became a far left radical pacifist, how Jessica Lynch had a heroic shoot-out with Al Qaeda and was then rescued by gun-blazing Marines, how produced commercials saying that Bush was Hitler, how Saddam funded Al Qaeda and personally participated in the planning of 9/11. It's even how the lesbian, Hillary, killed Vince Foster in order to ensure that their affair (or whitewater crimes or drug-running landing strip) would be kept quiet and, to this day, it's how Bill Clinton was a wildly unpopular president.

This particular episode is small potatoes, a claim that Kos' and Jerome Armstrong's book isn't selling well because... because Drudge says so. He picks a statistic for his claim (Bookscan) that doesn't count online sales (where "Crashing the Gate" is currently in the top 30 on Amazon), and based on the same Bookscan stats Glenn Reynolds' book is doing worse even though it's been out a month longer. But those are inconvenient truths.

These zombie truths never die, but are repeated over and over again so that people forget the facts and remember the event. I had a similar experience with someone recently who just couldn't believe that the toppling of the Saddam statue in 2003 was an elaborate psy-ops stunt despite an admission of guilt from the Army. All of Glenn's examples resonate as well (don't forget "Michael Moore was Jimmy Carter's invited guest in his skybox at the 2004 DNC," I hear that one twice a day).

Argue on the issues, argue on the merits of your philosophy. But continuing to construct your own reality just makes you a lunatic.