Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Sarah Palin in the Cocoon: Where Lies Are Easy

Sarah Palin, cocooned as she is in the conservative media echo chamber which never, ever calls her out on her patent falsehoods, not only seems incapable of admitting fallibility, but also thinks that compounding lies with even more egregious and disingenuous ones is no problem as long as it placates her fawning admirers who can see no wrong in anything she does and who see her as combatting that evil, "lamestream" media for daring to point out her lies. There is just no way that a serial liar like she is should have any business even being close to the Presidency.


mkfreeberg said...

Combating. One tee.

Man, if Sarah Palin spelled it with 2 tees, you'd refudiate her for it.

As to whether she belongs close to the presidency, nowadays I can easily agitate a crowd of Obama voters into agreeing she'd be better than the guy they put there. What's that say.

Huck said...

Comments on my spelling? Hell, even I avoid that. And we liberals are supposed to be the petty elitists? For what it's worth, Morgan, the spelling is correct as is. It can go either way (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/combating). Your Palin devotion is as lopsided as you would probably say my Obama devotion is. The one difference, though, is that I regularly criticize Obama. I don't think you've ever criticized Palin. And I'd like to see those Obama voters who think Palin would be better as President. Maybe I can get them together with many rock-ribbed conservatives I know who think Palin would be a disastrous choice for President and wouldn't vote for her with a ten foot pole. Fact is, even in this current economic climate and even considering Obama's legacy as President to date, Obama is STILL more popular than Palin with the general US population. What's that say?

And yet no comment on her deception and lie in this instance? Sure, I read your blog posting on the subject; but if any democratic politician had been so deceptive in this way, especially if it were such a prominent leader among the liberal movement, you would be railing all over him. Yet Palin not only gets a pass, but gets a defense of the indefensible.

mkfreeberg said...

Hey Huck, I took the time to look into this when it first came out, even reading the article in question instead of taking anyone's word for it. Yeah, funny me. Palin's right and her accusers are wrong.

Look at it this way: Take the emotionalism out of it by removing "Governor" and "Sarah Palin" and let's just say...a housewife (which is what Palin is) made a speech mentioning that food prices have been going up. If you worked for the WSJ and wanted to criticize her, wouldn't the proper research have something to do with flying over to her locale and going on a grocery shopping trip? Pradeep did what elitist snobs have their rep for doing: He stuck his nose in some statistics, found one he liked, and triumphantly announced that food prices are flatlined. Earning a curious glance from every who -- as Palin said -- has been shopping for food. Two different worlds.

And why's food expensive? Lots of reasons, but not a little bit because the government's been sticking its nose into the market, just as she said.

Obama is STILL more popular than Palin with the general US population. What's that say?

I have some reasonable liberal friends who take your point of view on Palin, but then go on to 'fess up that if Palin or McCain said something embarrassing like "my, uh, my Muslim faith" the media wouldn't have covered for it...if it was Palin or McCain who went to Jeremiah Wright's church for twenty years, it would have been a scandal...and the double standard isn't right. I guess you're going to take the whack-job extremist position and pretend it doesn't exist. If that's the case, there's not much point debating it with you. Hope your paychecks are clearing.

Now if we want to weigh the "Palin or Obama" question for ourselves instead of being told what to think...like I said, I'm funny like that...well, it's not complicated by any stretch. We look at Wasilla 1996-2002, we look at all of Alaska from 2007 to the middle of 2009 -- then we look at the United States from January 2009 to now.

The first two economies on that list of three things, are far and away better than the last of the three. Across the board. Case closed.

Yeah, I know He's got so much charisma-or-whatever and she's just a dopey ol' gal with a funny midwestern accent who gets ridiculed on Saturday night live. But when we speculate about who knows how to run something, it turns out there's not much speculation needed. None at all really. We already know.

Huck said...

Morgan - I read your take on the subject at your blog even before you posted your first comment here. (btw - I honestly enjoy your site and I think you are a thoughtful and considerate blogger.) So I know what your defense of Sarah is in this instance, but it is a defense predicated on an extremely charitable reading of what she actually said originally about food price increases. It is also, I think, a clear misrepresentation of her follow-up selective reference. Her original comment was much more absolute and exaggerated about the timing and the magnitude of food price increases than you are willing to acknowledge. And her use of ellipses in her follow-up comment to defend against her critics on the subject, which excised a portion of a quotation that undermines her defense, shows a conscious lack of journalistic integrity. That's an indisputable fact.

You keep trying to defend Palin's misbehavior not by denying that she engaged in misbehavior, but by pointing out what you perceive to be a double standard in the application of critical attention. Even if I agreed with you that the whole double-standard exists, how would that excuse the kind of deceptive behavior by Palin in how she tries to cover her missteps and misstatements?

All that aside, what I don't get is why any criticism of Palin's intellect is automatically subject to de facto charges of snobbish egg-head elitism? It's getting to the point now where even considering intellectual rigor or populist exaggeration in the statements of another is dismissed out of hand as inappropriate. How can we have a thoughtful debate if we can't use our critical intellect to challenge what we think are the intellectual misrepresentations or sloppiness of others without being called snobs. In fact, I see that as a kind of reverse-snobbery. And I see it as deeply anti-intellectual. I come from a working class family whose parents never graduated high school. It was always a feather in my parents' cap, something they were proud of, that their kids got to go to prestigious colleges on the basis of their academic merit. It's a slap in their face and that of the American dream, really, to demean intellectual achievement as always and everywhere elitist snobbery. I wish we could be better than that.

mkfreeberg said...

Thank you for the kind words.

As far as my reading of what she said, the comment that she made is not sufficiently complex to invoke multiple interpretations. Food prices have been going up, anyone who's shopped for food knows it. That previous sentence simply is arguing a point, maybe it comes off like I'm quoting her.

It's a pretty simple situation. This critic of Palin's is making the point that food costs, although they might be going up, have not done so yet. That is the crux of the argument. You say something about an ellipses symbol in her comment -- there isn't one. Did she put it somewhere else? I don't see anything in the article you linked. Your beef is with her lack of journalistic integrity? Well A, she's not a journalist, and B, why don't you bring some evidence to back up what you're really complaining about.

You've already read my piece, so you know about "milk, beef, coffee, cocoa and sugar have risen sharply in recent months." You know all about the blurb about BJ's restaurant, after the correction was put in. You know about Stater Bros. and their cereal. You know about Domino's Pizza.

And you know about the food prices rising 1.4%...which Reddy quoted, out of context. In context, the article sounds an alarm because this is way out of step with the inflation indices involved in other commodities.

Palin haters invest a lot of ego in their hating, and this warps the way they see the world. So I'm struggling here to see things from the side of you and Reddy, and others -- how in the world can Palin not be right about this? Frankly, this is starting to look like that "Party in 1773" thing where all the DailyKOS people just so desperately wanted Palin to be wrong, they weren't able to process the thoughts that might have proven her right, and ended up making fools out of themselves. In this situation, Palin must be wrong because...food prices have been flatlined? Great, so now the Palin bashers will look like they know what they're talking about, as long as they don't come in contact with anyone who's been paying for and shopping for their own food.

At times like these, I think we as a country need to stop asking ourselves "are you conservative or liberal" or "do you love Sarah Palin or do you hate her"...but instead..."do you want to live out your entire life according to cognitive bias." Do you wish to shape your opinions to fit reality (read the material, then form an opinion), or do you wish to engage in the reverse (form the opinion, as a sort of colored lens, then view reality through it).

You ask why people are inclined to "demean intellectual achievement." I have a Thing I Know that deals with this directly, it's #183. So "snobbery" is not a matter of opinion, and you can't go proving a reverse snobbery is there just because you want it to be -- it is actually a measurable thing. We are not dealing here with "intellectual achievement," we're dealing with using intellectual horsepower and thinking skill to re-shape reality, to perceive it in a form in which it does not actually exist.

Food prices have been going up. The WSJ put out an article that says so, then one of their own tried to launch a broadside attack against Palin based on the premise that they have not been. She nailed him on it and now he and his pals are trying to split hairs. That is not intellectual achievement.

Huck said...

Morgan - Prices are always increasing, the question is a matter of degree. In her original comment, Palin claimed: "everyone who ever goes out shopping knows that [food] prices have risen significantly over the past year or so." What is exaggerated here is that not everyone has experienced this. I go out shopping regularly, as does my wife, and we haven't felt any kind of significant price increase in the cost of food. Maybe it's because of where I live and the kinds of foods we consume in my household, but her comment does not apply to my shopping experience. So, there's that bit of exaggeration. Then there's her claim that food prices have increased significantly over the past year or so. Her implication here is that the cost of the general food basket is and has been on the rise. That's simply not true. Average food prices for the first three quarters of this year were exceedingly low with inflation actually at historically low levels (less than 1%). She is giving out the impression in her overall comment, the point of her entire piece, that we Americans have been experiencing for a while now significant increases in our overall food expenditures, but that is both statistically not true at the macro level and, in my family's case, at least, definitely not true at the micro level.

As for her follow-up comment, you claim she did not use ellipses, even pointing me to the very FB posting where she does. Look at it again, Morgan. This is what actually appears in that FB posting you linked to: "The article noted that 'an inflationary tide is beginning to ripple through America's supermarkets and restaurants…Prices of staples including milk, beef, coffee, cocoa and sugar have risen sharply in recent months.'" What would you call those three little dots that appear after the word "restaurant"? In fact, when you go back to that article and read the entire sentence in its entirety, leaving in that part Palin excises with her use of the ellipses, the sentence reads: "An inflationary tide is beginning to ripple through America's supermarkets and restaurants, threatening to end the tamest year of food pricing in nearly two decades." And what she conveniently left out here is a comment that directly contradicts her very claim that "food prices have increased significantly over the past year or so." That's what's disingenuous about the whole thing. And it doesn't really matter that Palin's not a journalist. Integrity in citing sources in their context applies to all of us. Palin just failed that test.

Huck said...

Also, Morgan - Relative to the point about elitism and snobbery, what should I then make about your commenting on my (correct!) spelling -- the very first thing you chose to post here? Does that make you an elitist snob? Though I don't believe you intend to be snobbish, I would think that kind of comment, even to try to make a point about how you think I would react to a misspelling by Palin, is much more snobbish than questioning whether someone like Palin's incuriosity about certain things or her apparent lack of knowledge about SCOTUS decisions is snobbish. I would caution that disdain for smug and dismissive intellectual elitism not venture into the realm of disdain for intellectual engagement and critical thinking. Not everyone is a genius, even though some people are. And all of us do and say stupid things at times. There is nothing elitist in pointing any of that out. There is also nothing wrong with or elitist about vying over abstract concepts and ideas. The danger is that tarring intellectualism generally with the elitist label can disincentivize smart kids from humble backgrounds from going to a school like Harvard, Stanford, or Yale. Kids, especially from humble, working class backgrounds, should never feel ashamed for choosing Yale over the local community college or state university. But my fear is that this "elitist" meme perpetuated by some "real America" conservatives has just that effect. And I have to admit that it infuriates me, too, as someone who came from a very humble, working-class background -- the first in my family's generation to have the chance to go to college, much less an elite one, by the merit of my abilities -- to have to contend with the notion that my accomplishments which led to my career as an academic are so looked down on. There IS such a thing as an anti-elite elitism. And it's just as ugly as the other kind.