The smear merchants who lied about John Kerry being a traitor to tip the 2004 election are at it again with a book about Barack Obama. I am not going to link to the book, but the author is Jerome...
The smear merchants who lied about John Kerry being a traitor to tip the 2004 election are at it again with a book about Barack Obama. I am not going to link to the book, but the author is Jerome Corsi. He appeared recently on Larry King's show in a debate with Paul Waldman, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America and a specialist on debunking right-wing propaganda.
Day in, day out, Paul Waldman and the rest of the crew at Media Matters face down the most violent and offensive filth from right-wing broadcast media. They are patient, smart, and fearless (hint, hint...go donate to Media Matters here).
Having said that, it saddens me to have to acknowledge that, even though Paul did a great job on Larry King, I think Corsi won the debate--unfortunately.
From the very start of the broadcast, Corsi made the debate about 'the facts' and kept returning back to that idea. 'I'm getting out the facts,' 'MM makes ad hominem attacks, but cannot refute the facts,' etc., etc. Paul did a great job pulling back the curtain (amazing job). But King never let the conversation come up to the real issue: this book and books like it destroy our political culture, undermine fair elections, inhabit the slippery space between politics and slander.
The Swift Boat group did more than just lie about John Kerry in a book. They broke Federal Election laws, were found guilty, and paid a huge fine. Their lie was not just the facts they printed on a page and promoted on TV, but the larger issue that they assembled and published the book in the first place as part of a big effort to win at any cost.
Now, I know it was not Corsi who was charged with the FEC violations, but if we are talking about 'truth,' then we are in the same discussion. And it is not a discussion about footnotes and sources and interview transcripts. It is a discussion about right-wing groups that seek to undermine our elections using the media.
These books destroy civic debate on purpose--and are fundamentally at odds with democracy. The goal of Corsi's project is not to discuss facts--it is to destroy the very possibility of discussion by implying that a Presidential candidate is a sleeper-cell terrorist--and doing so in the context of a huge broadcast media effort to convince the country of the same thing.
That is not just factually wrong. It is wildly immoral. Whether or not Corsi published lies is not even half the discussion we should be having.
Americans from all over the country have talked about this problem before--the problem of shady right-wing groups that assemble huge private backing and then wade into elections with the purpose of bullying a candidate off the national stage--so this is nothing new. But the media ignores us. Saps like Larry King choose instead to debase the hard work of researchers like Paul Waldman, and to willfully ignore the larger issue here: the wholesale undermining of our civic culture by deep-pocketed right-wing groups with a history of breaking election laws.
What American needs to hear from Larry King about Jerome Corsi is something like,"This book is filth. It goes against everything we believe in about honest, healthy civic debate. Don't buy it. Jerome, you are obviously part of a shady organization that uses money to sell lies with the goal of undermining serious debate in the 2008 Presidential election. The only reason your book is atop the best-seller list is because you have a giant political marketing machine working behind the scenes. Caveat Emptor--buyer beware."
Yeah, yeah. I know. It is hard to imagine someone like Larry King saying that on his show--hard to even conceive of an America in which journalists use their broadcast power to protect our civic culture rather than promote shadowy figures who seek to destroy it. But imagining it is the first step.
Demanding it is what comes next.
© 2008 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop