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Monday, March 10, 2008


As someone who has tried repeatedly to gain employment with them, I can understand why anyone might think that the following comment is made out of hurt, or anger at rejection. So let me just state for the record. I like the organization very much, and I think they do an excellent job of rounding up the political news of the day.


Many liberals have made the argument that to combat right wing influence in the media, we need to strike back with our own invective and framing. I support this so long as invective means passion, and framing means critically deconstructing the pathetically obvious attempts at changing news by choosing what to report on, and how to report on it.

Sometimes ThinkProgress goes to far. And they do what all partisan's do--I do it too--make blanket statements, over exaggerate, and see things in a way that only someone whose only perspective is from one extreme. This conflagration over Rep Steve King, for example. I in no way defend Steve King for making a very obvious smear attack on Obama. However, as a matter of fact, the man's name does not shout, "I am a Christian!" Of course, what a man's name connotes is really immaterial, but that's not the point here. The difference is a question of perception. My name does not shout "I am an atheist!" though it should, in fact with influences from several cultures, really shouts, "mumble-de-mumble." Did I think the man was Muslim when I first heard his name? Not at first, but when I learned he was black, knowing a smidgeon about Black history, I thought, well maybe he is a Muslim. Nothing wrong with that at all. The point is, ethical considerations aside, it is a reasonable inference to draw. And so criticisms on Steven King on that one point, aren't necessarily fair.

The "dancing in the streets" comment is a slur because King infers that the terrorists will be thrilled that Obama would be president. The initial premises being, terrorists are bad. The things that badpeople like must be bad. The bad people are Islamic. All bad people who are islamic, like all other people who are islamic. Obama's name sounds Islamic. Therefore, Obama must be bad.

However, reasonable logic shows on examination that neither of those premises are accurate and therefore the conclusion to be similarly flawed. However, it is nonetheless also true, that for a great many Americans, those premises are fundamentally true. So from a fairly small-minded perspective King's point is true.

From my own perspective, it is definitely true. All thinking people will be dancing in the streets when a Democrat is elected President of the U.S.

Premises (All people are capable of rational logical thought, unless physically, or emotionally incapable. Providing terorists are physically and emotionally fit, they are capable of rational logical thought. The U.S. policy in the middle east is repugnant and ought to be changed. A democratic president will commence a policy shift in the Middle East.)

This post started with me criticizing ThinkProgress' methods. Allow my digression. As a useful tidbit of information, this serves to show the electorate several things. 1) Steve King is a true to form Republican circa 2000. 2) Steve King is biased against Muslims--not that he hates them--but that his conclusions depend on erroneous and biased assumptions as demonstrated above. (The gentile who says "Jews are smarter then gentiles," is biased, even if his rhetoric is in this case complimentary to the offending population.) And another would be that 3) Steve King conflates a vote for Obama with a vote for terrorism. 4) Steve King, who knows better, serves to strengthen the Islam smear against Obama. (the logic of which I won't even touch!)

As a news item, those 4 points are useful--if you're Iowan, or have general concern over the media's campaign and election treatment against Democrats. If you're Iowan, vote the bastard out. (Some Thinkprogress staff or readers might be) .If you're concerned about the Right Wing Media putting a frame on the campaign, then lambasting the man--misses the point. The man can be challenged on his arguments, not on his rhetoric. And ThinkProgress uses it's own rhetoric by following the "terrible" smear with updates, and more news coverage. The fact of the matter, is Steve King is a Republican, he did what Republicans do. And in all likelhood, his constituency agrees with him as they voted for the man. So don't waste your time or mine denigrating the man. I don't give a hoot about Steve King unless he's done something illegal. Do what MediaMatters does--collect the information and publish a dispassionate review of it.

Show a video showing all of the conservative commentators, and all of the statements they make that you disagree with for a particular network, but the constant updates over a relatively minor rhetorical trick that should come as no surprise? You're smart people Think Progress, move on.

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