Worth Reading #5: Tim Fernholz Watches Chris Cilizza Simply Not Do His Job (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? for March 27, 2010)
Worth Reading #7: Igor Volsky: Orrin Hatch: I Supported The Unconstitutional Individual Mandate In 1993 To Derail HillaryCare (March 27, 2010)

Worth Reading #6: Billmon: Why Oh Why Don't We Have a Competent Press Corps? (March 27, 2010)


Daily Kos: Spock with a Beard: The Sequel: For some years now, I’ve been morbidly fascinated by the political dark arts -- especially the very dark art of disinformation: the systematic creation and dissemination of false narratives designed to discredit your opponents and/or drive undecided audiences away from their cause. The difference between disinformation and just plain lying is in the scope of the enterprise: A lie is intended to conceal a specific truth (e.g. "I did not have sex with that woman"). Disinformation, on the other hand, is aimed at constructing an entire alternative reality -- one in which the truth can find no foothold because it conflicts just not with a specific falsehood, but with the entire fabric of the false reality that has been created.  It puts the "big" in big lie, in other words.

These basic disinformation techniques were first pioneered by the totalitarian movements of the 1930s, such as the [GODWIN REDACTION] and the Soviet KGB, but they’ve been brought to their full fruition by the modern advertising, public relations and political consulting industries. Proving once again that what communism can do, capitalism can do better. One of the things that’s always impressed me about the modern conservative movement -- going back to when Newt Gringrich drew up his list of buzz words to be relentlessly associated with liberals ("corrupt," "degenerate," "depraved," etc.) -- has been the movement’s enthusiastic embrace of propaganda techniques developed by the same political regimes it claims to oppose with its life’s breath.

I guess they’re trying to proving that what totalitarians can do, modern conservatives can also do better. Karl Rove’s White House was, in many ways, the Olympian ideal of a disinformation operation -- a propaganda achievement that will probably never be topped, at least in American politics (God willing). But it looks as if the House Republicans are giving it the old college try. Thus the rather amazing press conference Minority Whip Eric Cantor held earlier today, in which the Virginia Republican in effect accused the Democrats of inciting violence against all those innocent teabaggers out there who are simply expressing their sacred constitutional right to spit on black people and fax pictures of hangman’s nooses to their elected representatives.... The specific disinformation technique in play is one I call "mirror image" (or, when I’m in a Star Trek mood, "Spock with a beard"). It consists of charging the opposing side (i.e. the enemies of the people) with doing exactly what you yourself have been accused of doing, typically with a hell of a lot more justification....

Will the ploy work this time? I don’t think so, or if so, only to a limited degree. The material may have been brilliant, but the performance sucked –- even Cantor couldn’t make himself sound like he actually believed it. Sure, Fox News is ready (as always) to take the baton and run with it, but I think the mainstream corporate media deadheads, brain dead as they may be, have finally picked up on the scam.

On the other hand, the headline from that Atlantic blogpost I linked to earlier suggests I may be the one who's brain dead here:

[Chris Good] Cantor Accuses Democrats of Using Threats, Violence to Score Points

Perhaps that was written strictly tongue in cheek, but I doubt it...