Friday, October 19, 2012

On Libya and the Right Wing Bubble

On Wednesday, I mentioned Mitt Romney's mid-debate pratfall in regards to Libya, as he fell all over himself attempting to parse whether "acts of terror" means "acts of terror" when it's said by President Obama. But I have to say, the most amusing thing for me has probably been how the right wing spin cycle (mostly the Fox News crowed, natch) kicked into overdrive in its immediate aftermath. "Candy Crowley was bought and paid for." "Obama said 'terror,' but he meant error." You name it. Rather than simply say, "Yeah, Mitt walked into that one," take the ding, and move on, they'll claw for whatever rationale they could can to not have their guy be the one with egg on his face.

I saw Republican strategist Ron Christie, who seems like a decent enough guy, on MSNBC yesterday calling the Obama administration's delay in definitively stating that the attack was pre-planned a scandal that outpaces Watergate. Someone on TV actually said that with a straight face, and we wonder why our discourse is so out-of-
whack. Total lack of perspective. Anyway, one thing the Libya thing does show is how all-encompassing the parallel reality of life in the bubble -- any bubble -- can be, where facts and evidence and statistics are only cited when convenient, but otherwise dismissed as part of some vast conspiracy (i.e. the so-called "liberal media").

Just to be clear, there's nothing necessarily wrong with going into a conversation with biases and preconceptions. We all have them, and it's pretty tough for them not to play some role in our thought processes. Where we get into trouble is when we make up our mind based on those biases and preconceptions and try to re-order reality to confirm them, rather then recognizing and questioning them when necessary. There's plenty of examples of this, of course, but given the current conversation, here's a pretty solid overview at Talking Points Memo examining how the "Obama didn't say terror" meme vis-a-vis Libya metastasized into conventional wisdom on the right.

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