Viewers like to see Maddow on the attack: “People want to see the home team winning.” Oftentimes, the home team is all they want to see. “If there's a Republican, you'll see all these tweets,” [TRMS producer Bill] Wolff says. “Get that Republican off my screen!”To say things are as bad or worse at Fox News is the equivalent of noting that the sun rises in the east. (To be fair, Bill O’Reilly puts forth at least a token effort, if only to be able to outshout his “guests.”)
I wrote last week about the Romney campaign’s willful distortion of remarks made by President Obama at a speech in Roanoke. Of course, neither side has a monopoly in this arena. No, Obama didn’t mean business owners have no claim to their own success. But neither did Governor Romney mean anything sinister by his comment that he “[likes] to fire people”: in context, he clearly is saying only that consumers ought to be able to change providers (in this case in terms of health care) if they’re not getting good service. But both the other GOP contenders at the time and Team Obama have trumpeted the out of context remarks in a cynical display of faux anti-cynicism.
True, it’s hard to put a positive spin on Ann Romney’s “we’ve given you people all you need to know” arrogance, but it’s not much worse than Michelle Obama’s “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.” (It’s “not much worse” rather than “no worse” because Mrs. Obama subsequently clarified her comments—it’s up to you, Gentle Reader, to decide whether the re-statement was either honest or sufficient; Mrs. Romney, to my knowledge, has made no attempt to sound a little less like the walking embodiment of every stereotype the 99% have about the 1%.)
And so we come to a news story by Lou Colagiovanni on Examiner.com under the headline ”Mitt Romney vows to ban pornography by installing a filter on every U.S. PC.” Well, if there’s anything likely to lose you votes, it’s interfering with the free flow of porn. As is the case with many such non-story stories, what is hinted at fits easily into the narrative the candidate’s opponent would like to construct: in this case, Romney the repressive moralizer.
If you look at the comments section on the Examiner site or on the Americans Against the Tea Party Facebook page, you’ll see that the general readership has fallen in line, baa-ing all the way. I can’t even pick out the most ridiculous comments, because there are so many… and so few commenters bothered to read the article, much less look at the linked video.
Notice the AATTP line, “Did you know Mitt Romney has vowed to install pornography filters on all new U.S. computers? Press ‘like’ and ‘share’ if you will not be supporting Romney and his bizarre social agenda!” And the Colagiovanni article proclaims,
In 2007 Romney exposed some of his more extreme positions while speaking during a town hall meeting in Ottumwa, Iowa at the Hotel Ottuma. One such position which Mitt rarely discloses now is his deep desire to make it mandatory for pornography filters to be added to all new computers entering The United States.You will see here, Gentle Reader, precisely the same dishonest editing that gave us “If you’re a business owner, you didn’t build that.” If you actually watch the video linked at the side of the page (which Colagiovanni and his editors are justifiably confident that you won’t do), here’s what Governor Romney actually said:
In specific Romney said, “I want to make sure every new computer sold in this country, after I'm president, has installed on it a filter to block all pornography.”
I want to make sure we enforce our obscenity laws. And I want to make sure retailers don’t sell adult video games to kids. And I want to make sure every new computer sold in this country, after I'm president, has installed on it a filter to block all pornography, and that parents could click that filter and make sure their kids don’t see that stuff coming into their computer. [Emphasis mine.]So what Governor Romney said in a speech five years ago wasn’t advocating censorship at all. Rather, he was taking a perfectly reasonable position that parents ought to be able to exercise some control over their kids’ computer habits. Is it naïve to think kids won’t just access their minimum daily requirement of smut elsewhere? Perhaps. But suggesting that there’s stuff on-line that you don’t want your 10-year-old seeing—and that there ought to be reasonable, voluntary means, requiring an active decision to “click that filter,” of keeping Junior from seeing it—strikes me as being a long way from an infringement on personal liberties.
Why the hysteria? Because actually bothering to find out what the “other guy” actually said takes… geez… almost a minute. Because we’re becoming increasing programmed to believe the worst of whoever it is we’re not going to vote for. Because, as we saw in the coverage of the “Dark Knight” tragedy in Colorado, being splashy at the expense of being accurate has no apparent repercussions (I didn’t hear anything about Brian Ross getting fired, did you?).
Democracy relies on an informed, thinking citizenry. It’s time to separate the sheep from the (Judas) goats.