Wednesday, 14 October 2009

In Passing

“Fake But Accurate” II

No cite? Well, just make s*it up Dept.

I was still years away from having my own blog when the Rathergate scandal erupted, but I clearly remember one too-clever-by-half explanation, floated shortly after it became obvious (to all but the truest of believers) that the so-called Texas Air National Guard documents hadn’t been produced in 1972: The materials faxed to CBS (so the story went) were actually hand-typed (in MS Word) copies of the 1972 originals, those originals having been (supposedly) restored to the TANG’s files so the source wouldn’t get caught.[1]  In other words, yes they were, well, “not the originals” (i.e., they were fakes copies), but the information they contained was “accurate.”  Nice try, but no cigar.

So here it is 2009, and the question now before the house is the authenticity of some “racist” statements being attributed to Rush Limbaugh, a number of which appear to have been made up out of whole cloth.  Yep, all over the leftosphere, and leaking into the Legacy Media, but when you drill down there’s no “there” there:
...where are these racist soundbites?  Where’s the audio?  Where’s the transcript?  Name the year. Heigh-ho, say CNN’s Rick Sanchez and the rest of the basement-ratings crowd. Not our problem...

Seems to me that it’s “fake but accurate,” all over again.  This time, instead of some willing reporter being fooled by (or buying into a scam created by) some political activist, we have a willing press picking up on deliberate lies created by people who have taken advantage of the web’s hall-of-mirrors nature to obscure their fingerprints.  Somebody makes something up and posts it on the web.  Somebody else links him, and that somebody then gets quoted by a third somebody.  Soon it’s part of the conventional wisdom, which nobody bothers to check it because it fits the narrative (and besides, it’s too good to check).

Because Rush Limbaugh is a rightie.  Righties are racists. (Axiom, self-evident.)  Racists make racist statements.  Therefore, any “racist statement” attributed to Rush must be real, because, well, he’s the kind of guy who would say things like that.

(Except we’re being asked to believe that the remarks, some of which are quite inflammatory and some of which were supposedly made years ago, failed to provoke any outcry until now.  Despite all the people who’ve been attempting to “get” Rush for years.  But nevermind...)

The Noisy Left has always been good at accepting stuff on faith (provided it coincides with their worldview).  The standard for the righties is much stricter, as this exchange in the comments at Blair’s place lays out nicely:
How is it that when Righties quote Lefties, they have video, audio, and notarized confirmation from the Pope, but when Lefties “quote” Righties, they have Wiki entries contributed by “Cobra”?
Dave S.
Wed 14 Oct 09 (02:05pm)

Peter M replied to Dave S.
Wed 14 Oct 09 (03:04pm)
Dave it is because we conservatives form our views after seeing the evidence.  In contrast the left forms their views and then look for evidence, and when they don’t find it they make it up.

replied to Dave S.
Thu 15 Oct 09 (12:23am)
It is because the left believes in Revolutionary Truth, if it is required to destroy Limbaugh, then it is true.  We believe in Bourgeois Truth, having to do with such quotidian matters as facts and evidence, which as anybody can see,is far to limiting to be used to accomplish real change.

replied to Dave S.
Thu 15 Oct 09 (12:31am)
And when they make it up, it’s often in the form of newspaper articles and news show “exposes”. (See Rather, Dan; Mapes, Mary).  When caught they will say they know it’s true, they just couldn’t find evidence of it.
And, I would add, because we “Righties” are accustomed to getting our complaints blown off by the lefties unless our information is indisputably documented.

Anyway, it is not over yet (as they say), and it will be interesting to see how the next act plays out.  Because these accusations have begun to work their way into the mainstream press, and while making stuff up usually isn’t particularly dangerous in the blogosphere, it can be fatal if you’re a television network or some dead-tree publication.

Limbaugh is a public figure, and, as such, the standard for slandering or libeling him is more forgiving than that for some private citizen.  But it’s still possible, provided you’re wilfully or carelessly spreading known falsehoods.

Seems to me that, should Limbaugh choose to play hardball, “I found it in a pseudonymous post on some website” won’t make a very good answer to “What reason did you have to believe this is true?”

(Later) Glenn thinks its a trap- and Rush is the trapper!
I think this whole NFL thing is a Limbaugh-set trap for the press and Democratic pols, and it’s working.
Heh, indeed.

Related:  I see our local NFL plutocrat, Mr. Irsay, has been drinking the kool-aid, too.  (Tell me again why we’re giving this guy $40 million a year.)


[1]  This failed to account for the obvious attempts to make them look “old,” or that the CBS people appeared to believe that what they had been given were actual  photocopies of the 1972 originals.

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