Friday, March 13, 2009

I See What You Do There

by Interrobang

Let's talk about Ari Fleischer on Chris Matthews' show the other day. Lots of people have been commending (inasmuch as Chris Matthews deserves any kind of cookie) Matthews for taking Fleischer to task. You can watch the video here, courtesy of MSNBC, which seems to have, for once, picked out the salient point from the copious distractor material.

Most of the people in the blogosphere I've read so far are (still) focusing on the oft-debunked claim that Saddam Hussein was involved with the attacks of 11 September 2001. That's an old lie. They've been lying about that one since 2001. Not that I'm willing to just let it go or anything, but I think the focus on this particular revenant lie is distracting from the larger point.

Did nobody else but me notice how Fleischer said, "How dare you say 9/11 happened on our watch?"

That right there is possibly the biggest rewriting of history we've seen yet from the people who sincerely believe they can just create "their own reality," regardless of what the actual facts, documentation, and videotape say.

I can't quite tell what Fleischer was meaning in saying that. It seems to me that either he's been swallowing the Clinton-did-it Koolaid for so long that he really does somehow believe that 11 September 2001 (the 6 August PDB notwithstanding) happened on Clinton's watch, or he really is trying to unhappen Bush from that day's events.

Side note: He seems to be making the rounds on the talking-head shows, lying all the way, so I suspect this is a prong in a systematised campaign of disinformation. More later.

I can understand why most of the left blogosphere is still hung up on the Saddam Hussein-9/11 thing; the Bush people have been banging that drum so hard for eight years they've long since ruptured the head and broken the sticks, and for a while (search down for "Hussein") a majority of people believed it. Frankly, I can see why. If you're an ignorant racist scuttlefish who knows nothing about Islam or Middle Eastern politics, and who's been primed for years to hate Muslims (and to hate Saddam Hussein in particular, since I can remember talking about how the North American media was demonising him as the Hitler Nouveau du Jour back in the 1990s when I was in high school, ferchrissakes), it's pretty easy to believe that a Middle Eastern dictator might have something to do with Islamic terrorism.

On the other hand, the Bush people have spent the last eight years trying to convince everyone how preznitial Bush looked giving speeches on the rubble in NYC, how the response was appropriate and justified (and for the first little while until the idea of going after Osama bin Laden got boring or impractical, working), and how Bush's policies kept everyone safe because there'd been no terrorist attacks on US soil since then*, and how everything they did and were doing was justified because 9/11 shut up, and so on. And here's Bush's former press secretary insisting on national television that the former president wasn't the president on 11 September 2001, despite all evidence to the contrary, and My Pet Goat footage notwithstanding.

That is, frankly, an enormous, mind-blowing lie, to the point where everything Matthews said was utterly inadequate, and to the point where only a Joseph Welch-style rhetorical pile-driver would have been necessary and sufficient. That isn't just conveniently omitting some salient facts to attempt to shore up a lie of convenience by omission, that is blatantly 1984-style historical Memory (ass)Holism.

Frankly, I suspect they're going to continue to lie and lie and lie until they've tinfoiled the radar enough that sufficient numbers of people don't know what to believe anymore. They do this all the time, basically daring people, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" Authoritarian followers can be duped into believing the authority figures over their own eyes, and I suspect that's Phase II of this operation. First confuse, then consolidate...their planned step three, of course, is a return to power, buoyed by a glib line of patter that convinces the confused rubes that there really is such a thing as (Received) Truth, and they are It.

* Excepting the anthrax attacks and all those various copycat crimes (like Chad Castagena and friends) and the garden variety abortion clinic bombings and shootings and assorted Minute (pronounced "my newt") Man milita-nut-nitwit things perpetrated almost solely by white goodoleboys, of course...
Spocko note:

The above is from my dear friend Interrobang on her personal blog. The odds are that most who stop by here also stop by some of the same blogs I do and we are all talking about either Ari on Matthews or Cramer on Stewart. I wanted to make sure more people notice Interrobang's point of the bigger lie that Ari Fleischer made, "It didn't happen on our watch!"

In the Cramer on Stewart story I noticed something that I've only see one commenter at Crooks and Liar's mention. Cramer said something like I wish I could ask these CEOs these questions under oath.

That is something that I think a lot of people don't get, that people can and DO lie all the time to journalists, fake journalists, bloggers, friends, relatives and pundits. I understand that, sometimes it isn't a big deal, it's subtle shift of focus to another area and is harmless. Other times it IS a big deal. Some people use phrases that aren't technically lies. A good journalist or interviewer might be able to pin them down, but not always and one reason is that their aren't a lot of consequences for lying to journalists or the public. So my question to all the media is:

What are the consequences for Ari lying?
Will Fleischer be:
  • Branded a liar?
  • Shunned by everyone on national TV, radio, print and internet for lying?
  • Sent to jail?
  • Forced to pay a fine?
  • Impacted in his career?

No. No. No. No. And No.

He will be allowed to "explain", be invited back and keep on lying.

Is there a greater purpose for Ari's lie about 9/11 not happening on Bush's watch? Is there any purpose greater than trying to make Bush look less incompetent? Not really. This is not a "national security" lie (which are often bogus as well). This is a personal aggrandizement lie.

My mother is one of the most honest people I know.She tries not to lie. She knows the difference between a small lie that is designed to spare someone's feeling and a lie that is used for a higher purpose. She knows when someone is lying and often why they are lying.

As we dig into the history of the last 8 years hopefully we can find not only the truth, but the lies, the reasons for the lies and recognize that there need to be some consequences for lies that lead us into detrimental places.


Blogger Rich said...

I think the point of the post on C&L was the big lie, and for me it is just too ridiculously wrong for anyone to believe, so it's easy to let it fade.

But obviously, his lying is a problem, and unfortunately he just one liar among many who are paid handsomely to lie on TV.

If like Ari, then you'll love this:

"Hardball: Trying To Defend GWB's Record, Frank Gaffney Blames Saddam For Oklahoma City Bombing"

Maybe there is larger strategy to recent outrageous lies.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Interrobang said...

I think the larger strategy is to tinfoil the radar so that the swingable base no longer knows which way is up, and then the Republicans will, as Republicans do, hit them with soundbites that sound good and make them feel better and relieve all that confusion.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Metro said...

"...everything Matthews said was utterly inadequate, and to the point where only a Joseph Welch-style rhetorical pile-driver would have been necessary and sufficient."

Why a rhetorical pile-driver?

Wouldn't an actual pile-driver be more satisfying?

Fleischer has clearly been lying to so many for so long that he would no longer recognize the truth if it trotted an entire herd of pet goats over him.

3:49 PM  

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