Farhad Manjoo has some excellent advice for the President. About these “death panel” and other idiot rumors? Just shut up.
… the dilemma Obama faces in trying to debunk the lies surrounding the health care debate. In True Enough, my book published last year, I argued that despite techno-utopians’ many high hopes, modern communications technology—talk radio, cable TV, and the Web—have fractured society along ideological lines.
Which is frightening enough right there.
Because we can now get our news from sources that reflect our political views—and we can avoid sources that we find suspect—lies and misinformation tend to proliferate and linger. I examined several case studies—the Swift Boaters, the conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 … it’s now easier than ever before for people to live in worlds built entirely of their own facts. We’re becoming impervious to rational opposition.
What is this “we”, white boy. A nice way of saying, Okay, democracy has given the crackers and lunatics as much right to blog and appear on TV as anyone else—but up from the swamp and out of the back woods, they bring to the discussion—well, they don’t bring thinking, now, do they. There’s a reason it was called The Enlightenment, and it would be wrong to assume it happened for everyone.
Ignorance, fear, prejudice. Where is the loyal opposition? William F. Buckley is dead, and in his place we are supposed to debate wingnuts and liars who live in fear and darkness. Hey! Lying works! It works a fair piece, and I hope you don’t expect Truth to cut much ice in the future. All I can say to Liberals and Lefties is, Keep breeding. As long as the frighteningly stupid are in the minority …
Once a substantial minority of the population believes a lie, it achieves the sheen of truth and becomes nearly impossible to debunk.
Okay, Obama, time bring out some of that famous rhetorical jujitsu. There is a way, here. Maybe it’s aikido, where you use the force of your opponent’s charges to let him propel himself flat on his face. It’s a certain kind of ignoring. I seem to recall—maybe it was in front of a black audience—where you flicked Hillary’s bogus charges off your shoulders in such a cool way. Hope you will not hesitate, as President, to be cool. In all that cool portends.