Sunday, August 31, 2008


This article is a week old, but the Register Guard just published it, so I will comment now.

It is awesomely batshit.

Seeing the headline Information overload can short-circuit democracy I expected an anti-blog rant, but I thought it'd be along the lines of "reckless bloggers can publish anything, even if it's not true!" and I was mentally prepared with my Judy Miller retorts. Instead, author Dusty Horwitt advances that Americans are better served by having just a few news sources, so that we can all work off the same page and share a common identity. He very kindly suggests the Washington Post editorial page as my goto news source.

Dusty cites three examples from the nation's past to point out how having a single source of news has gotten positive results. He points to Senator Feingold's campaign in 1992, where Feingold was able to show just one television commercial in each market and reach enough WIsconsinites to win the Dem primary. He quotes a Feingold adviser as saying that he doesn't think it "could ever happen again."

If I may, I'd like to offer Ned Lamont as a counter example.

Dusty then goes on the mention that in the 1930s "radio priest" Father Charles Coughlin "promoted ideas for economic reform to an audience of 40 million, which helped pressure President Roosevelt to enact Social Security and other reforms." Father Coughlin? Father Charles Coughlin? Virulently anti-Semitic Father Coughlin? Pro-Nazi Father Coughlin? The man most responsible for the United States' inhumane treatment of Jewish refugees during the 30s and 40s? Being cited as a positive example of the power of the media in a major US paper?

Wait...this is a joke, right? Like the one about SUVs being necessary to remind us we're American men? Right? [quick search of the internet...nope, seems like Dusty is genuinely touting Father Coughlin as a model for American media today.]

That his next example is the Civil Rights movement does not help my "he's joking" theory. A legitimate argument could be had about what the Civil Rights movement might look like in today's media world. Lately, we haven't done terribly well with immigrant rights or Jena.

He goes on to suggest a solution to the "problem" of information overload so straight out of the Crazy Book that I am again forced to contemplate that this entire piece might be humor. He suggests that the US institute an energy tax high enough to prevent people like you and me wasting it be writing and publishing our "opinions." But then Dusty goes on and on about this idea and I believe that he genuinely means it. That he's an environmental lawyer lends credence to notion that his proposal is genuine.

Most of the comments on the WaPost site assume that Dusty is a lefty and this an attempt by a lefty say that only the liberal media should have a voice. My first instinct was to reject that idea, mostly because I believe that the media is actually rather conservative and love the left blogosphere, coupled with Dusty's praise of Coughlin, but, looking around the net, I see that Dusty is a dumbass who thinks he's helping his lefty causes.

Whether Dusty is right or left, I am staggered by his ignorance and stupidity.

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