Saturday, January 2, 2010

Poll - the Globe's shamelss spin

Republican’s “paranoid style”? To answer the poll at all we have to accept this spin. Republican criticism of “The One” and his administration’s fecklessness in the war on Islamist terrorism, recklessness in dumping trillions into bailouts, “stimulus” and the socialization of medicine are nothing but paranoia? Like many of its polls this one proves nothing beyond the Globe’s shameless bias.

Update: Paranoia? More like exasperation with bumbling, flip-flopping, fecklessness!


Mutton Chops said...

There have been over 14600 Islamic terrorist attacks since 9/11. At some point it stops being paranoia and starts being accepted reality. Sad really.

Anonymous said...

How about this for a poll?

Will the Globe ever stop being the propaganda instrument for the left-wing, radical zealots in Canada?

Anon1152 said...

1. Mr. Chops:
I'm curious. Could you perhaps provide your source for the 14600 number?

2. Mr. Right:
The "paranoid style" was, I assume, a reference to the related article* about "the paranoid style in american politics", a phrase taken from a famous 1964 essay.** (Well... famous as essays go).

I don't believe that the Globe suggested that it was paranoid to criticize Obama's "fecklessness in the war on Islamist terrorism" [do you remember the Bush admin, by the way?] or the trillions of dollars in stimulus funds [which began under Bush].

The original essay (and article) was applying the "paranoid" label to groups like the John Birch Society. E.g.:

The group, named for a Christian missionary who was allegedly killed by Communists in China, once labelled Republican president Dwight Eisenhower “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”

Whether or not the accusation [that they made that accusation] is true, considering Eisenhower a dedicated communist conspirator sounds paranoid to me. A more recent example might be the fear of "death panels" once medicine is "socialized". Canada and most other advanced industrial democracies have managed to create "socialized" health care systems which, however imperfect, avoided death panels.

Those sorts of accusations are being called paranoid. At least in Hofstadter's original essay. Do you disagree?

Also... I didn't notice anything particularly pro-Obama in the Globe article.* It began by saying he used to give great speeches that people loved. But that's part of the Republican criticism of him. (And more or less true). But then the author says "It all went downhill from Inauguration day" and "The U.S. President now often seems as stiff as the teleprompter on which he has developed such an acute dependence."

I would suggest that you are perhaps more guilty of "spinning" than the Globe. (Though I don't consider "spinning" a particularly horrible thing... it's lying that usually gets my metaphorical goat. And unfortunately there is no party (democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, new democrat, etc) that I trust to tell the truth).

I read it a while ago (though not as carefully as I read for school/work). It is available here:

If you don't trust the website, I could probably find the original Harpers article...

JR said...

Mr/Ms Anon,

Thank you for pointing out that there actually is a related article. Context is always useful. It would have been helpful if the Globe had provided a link somewhere near the poll question. And thanks for the thoughtful reply.

Anyway the article doesn’t help the Globe’s case. It’s certainly more sophisticated than the bare poll but it strikes me as similarly biased. For example, Citing Glenn Beck’s facetious remarks about not wanting the government to have GM’s On-Star technology as evidence of right-wing paranoia is ridiculous.

And in Rush Limbaugh’s remarks “We want [Mr. Obama] to fail because we want to preserve our country as we found it. We do not want to see a successful attack on capitalism.” - I don’t see the “paranoia”. Obama and the Democratic party are a threat to free market capitalism. Obama is arguably the most left-wing president in American history. His record as Senator for Illinois and much of what he said prior to the election pointed that way and the actions of his government since have reinforced that notion. The right legitimately feels that Obama is leading America down irreversibly harmful paths.

Yakabuski’s essay suggests that every objection that the right puts forward against Obama’s obviously left-wing statist policies, policies that run counter much of what the Republicans stand for, is simply paranoia. But really what Yakabuski is attempting to do is de-legitimize and/or belittle the right’s criticisms - much like AGW true-believers’ attempts to close down legitimate debate on the global warming issue by calling skeptics “deniers”.

Halfwise said...

Nonetheless, when a regime is accused of fecklessness (rightly or wrongly) it is incumbent upon the incumbents to show the accusers how fecked they really are.

This is indeed happening daily.

Anon1152 said...

I didn't notice till just now that the Poll can be found on the website on its own, with no context. So I can understand your reaction. I would probably share it myself to some extent. I wonder how many people answer the poll without reading the article... I suspect many/most. Which makes an unreliable web poll even more unreliable.

I still didn't detect anything pro-Obama in the article. Even in the first paragraph, though Yakabuski does say that Obama gave great speeches (past tense) he referred to "prose that blew through your doublespeak detectors as you surrendered to its splendour."

Again, that is a description that could fit in on the American Right.

As for Beck... I'm not sure he was facetious. And if it were just the odd comment like that, or if such comments were made by less "mainstream" figures, I don't think the argument would hold water (or be made... at least not in the Globe).

I also do not consider Obama's policies an "attack on capitalism". Though that topic gets complicated. (I don't think the market under Obama is "free"... but nor do I think it was "free" previously. I also tend to think the distinction between "regulation" and "deregulation" isn't helpful. (Regulation is almost always there... what matters is whether it's good or bad).

But I digress.

I suppose this conversation points to how much paranoia depends on who's out to get you. (I was more afraid of the Bush administration's tendency to engage in behaviours like warrant-less wiretapping than Obama's attempt to make healthcare more universal.

JR said...

Halfwise, “fecked” indeed :))


I agree that Yakabuski appears somewhat even-handed with his implied soft criticism of Obama. But his support for Obama comes indirectly through his critique of the right’s “paranoid style”. And we all know how this kind of thing works. The “style” part is a subtlety that is quickly dropped in the Dems’ talking points which will refer only to pure paranoia (ie delusional fear).

If you watch much Beck you’ll know that a big part of his schtick is satire.

I agree that Obama’s polices are not a direct, conscious “attack” on capitalism but with the steady encroachment of statism, which is what the Dem platform promises, the effect is the same - a real threat to liberty in the long run. The Right is perpetually in a defensive uphill battle pushing back against this encroachment. Its “fears” are hardly delusional.

Bush’s “warrant-less wire-tapping” is one of those lefty paranoias. Listening in on your enemies is what any serious war requires. This is another example of Obama’s, and the Left’s in general, lack of seriousness in the war on Islamist terror. They don’t admit it’s a war at all and attempt at every turn to apply the principles of criminal justice rather than the principles of war. Mirandizing and allowing enemy combatants to lawyer-up when captured is not a winning strategy (unless you’re a defending attorney).

So I disagree, socializing American healthcare (a large encroachment on individual liberty) is much, much more harmful than Bush’s so-called warrant-less wiretapping.

Anon1152 said...

For the record:

It wasn't "so called warrant-less wiretapping" Or rather, it was "so called" because it was so.

The Bush administration's argument wasn't that they didn't do it, but that they could do so legally.


I'm not against listening to enemies, or even suspected enemies. It wasn't the wiretapping that bothered me. It was the warrantlessness. I don't like the idea of the government being able to do that without some sort of oversight. (That goes for Obama as much as Bush).


Perhaps the difference between liberals and conservatives isn't that one group trusts government more than the other... but that they trust/distrust the government about different things....

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