|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Blogger Matt Yglesias fears that such tactics do nothing but work. "True or false," he writes, "the overwhelming evidence is that the media gets bored with these fact checks very quickly and that if you just put your head down and charge forward, you come out a couple of weeks later back into 'he said, she said' territory. The only real test for whether or not lying works is whether or not you can bring your ideological fellow travelers along. Will Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck echo your line? Will the Weekly Standard and National Review? Will the bulk of your legislative caucus? The answers are yes, yes, and yes."
Actually, we're already there. Just watch. Virtually every TV report on the financial-regulation bill you see will feature a sound bite from McConnell, who'll continue to shill for Citibank and Goldman Sachs while pretending to defend the little guy. Bailout, bailout, bailout. The fact that he's engaging in pure doublespeak is highly unlikely to be mentioned. Instead, you'll likely see a snippet from a Democrat making the opposite claim. For an awful lot of viewers, that's like flipping a coin.
For Fox News viewers and Limbaugh listeners, it's actually easier than that. Conditioned by decades of propaganda about liberal media bias, many react with overt hostility to any and all information from other sources. I must get 50 angry e-mails a week calling me a liar for citing some easily verifiable fact at odds with right-wing doctrine.
Recently, certain conservative intellectuals have begun to worry about whether this hasn't left the movement flying blind. "One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement," writes Cato Institute's Julian Sanchez, "is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross-promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted."
The movement, hell. It's making the whole country as dumb as a brontosaurus in a blizzard. Because reality eventually asserts itself.