|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by J.C. Nossiter
|The Morning Mendacity
Monday, August 23th, 2004
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|When respected newspapers lend credence to liars and con artists, it confers respectability on them. News accounts of tax matters in the New York Times sometimes cite Grover Norquist as a legitimate tax expert. Norquist is a well-funded rightist whacko whose goal is to dismantle government as we know it and line his own pockets as a high-priced lobbyist in the process. He has compared the estate tax to Nazi persecution of the Jews, and calls bipartisanship “date rape”. This is a man whose every statement should have a skull and crossbones attached as a warning against the poisonous contents therein, but don’t strain your eyes. You won’t find any such labels in the New York Times.
The so-called Swift Boat Veterans for “Truth” fall into the Norquist category of well-funded rightist whackos, which doesn’t stop both newspapers and television from granting them generous and even-handed coverage. With financing from long-time Bush backers, headed by a long-time Republican operative, this Bush re-election campaign front group has as little to do with the truth as the administration’s Clean Air Act has to do with clean air. Their story is utterly contradicted by military records and legitimate eyewitness accounts, and they can’t even agree amongst themselves on a single version of their “truth”. And yet both the New York Times and The Washington Post, in every story about the non-issue of John Kerry’s war record, persist in citing the group as though it was a credible political movement.
Even the most respectable media outlets don’t quote former Environment Secretary James Watt on environmental issues, just as they wouldn’t dream of turning to President Clinton’s unfortunate Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders for wisdom about medical matters. Why then are Post and Times readers treated to toxic lies from the likes of Grover Norquist or the “Swift Boat Veterans” as though they were opinions deserving of sober consideration?
By all means give such fringe lunatics a voice. That’s what pluralism is all about. But make sure they are clearly identified for what they are before foisting their views on sometimes unsuspecting readers. Especially when the solution is so easy: a return to the use of the Homeric epithet, as in “wily Odysseus” or “the wine-dark sea”. That would give us “Grover ‘estate tax equals holocaust’ Norquist” and the “Bush-backer financed and Republican operative directed Swift Boat Veterans.”
Such tags don’t exactly approach Homeric elegance, but at least they let us know where we are.
The Afternoon Affront
Here’s proof that when enough mud is thrown, some of it will stick. Bob Dole took time off from his second career as a shill for sex aids to tell CNN that not all the Swift Boat Veterans for “Truth” could possibly be Republican liars and that there just must be some truth in all these charges against John Kerry’s war record. Perhaps Mr. Dole is performing a public service by revealing a hitherto undocumented Viagra side-effect: hallucinations.
©J.C. Nossiter 2004
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