Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bush Carried the Philistines

That seems to be John Kerry's explaination for why he lost in 2004 in a column by P.J. O'Rourke. A quote from Kerry's speach and O'Rourke's reaction:
Addressing the audience of tame Democrats, Kerry explained his defeat. "There has been," he said, "a profound and negative change in the relationship of America's media with the American people. . . . If 77 percent of the people who voted for George Bush on Election Day believed weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq--as they did--and 77 percent of the people who voted for him believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11--as they did--then something has happened in the way in which we are talking to each other and who is arbitrating the truth in American politics. . . . When fear is dominating the discussion and when there are false choices presented and there is no arbitrator, we have a problem."

America is not doctrinaire. It's hard for an American politician to come up with an ideological position that is permanently unforgivable. Henry Wallace never quite managed, or George Wallace either. But Kerry's done it. American free speech needs to be submitted to arbitration because Americans aren't smart enough to have a First Amendment, and you can tell this is so, because Americans weren't smart enough to vote for John Kerry.

I'm with O'Rourke with that part. Even from way back we've been seeing signs that voting Democrat is the hallmark of an intelligent person and supporting Bush the sign of the opposite.

I'm going to take a riff on the next quotation in the article:
"We learned," Kerry continued, "that the mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning. But there's a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information. And that has a profound impact and undermines what we call the mainstream media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"

What did the mainstream media do a good job of discerning? From what I read over that same year was just about every method of finding dirt on the president and ensuring that no one in the country forgot about it. I won't presume to guess what Sen. Kerry means by "subculture and sub-media". Actually, I will guess that he means conservative talk radio and bloggers, and that they alone were able to throw over all of the good work that the mainstream media had done. I share O'Rourke's giggle about how the rabble overthrew the media nobility.

Another thing I found interesting was the way he linked "the mainstream media" with "the decision-making ability of the American electorate", particularly with the use of the "profound/profoundly" pair. Sen. Kerry explicitly says that it is the media that shapes the electorate, and that as the first goes, so should the second. The delicate equlibrium had been disrupted, and, as he asked, "What are we going to do about it?"

It is clear that the failure of the electorate to elect him was not the fault of the media not putting out the "proper" information for its "appropriate" cycles. Where the malfunction occurred is that the electorate failed to follow through on the information provided, or even to pay any attention whatsoever.

To rectify this matter, I make the following modest proposal: Whenever someone turns on their TV or goes online, they must sit through a news broadcast and answer a brief quiz at the end of it before they may change the channel or go to another site. That way, we can be certain that the electorate are ingesting the proper facts so that they may come to the right decisions.

No comments: