An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Misdirection for Fun and Profit

Paul Waldman has a good piece in Tom Paine on the Rove defense as an example key strategy for deflecting attacks. Below I'll take a few lines completely out of context for your reading pleasure:

Every administration has its share of scandals to deal with, and every one handles them in a slightly different way.

Step 1: It’s not really about us, it’s about them.

This is one of the fundamental divides between the two parties today, something Republicans understand and Democrats don’t: If the controversy is about you, you lose; if it’s about your opponent, you win.

Step 2: Lie through your teeth.

Step 3: Argue the semantics, or, it depends on what the meaning of “identify” is.

This is all beginning to sound familiar.

Step 4: It’s all partisan politics.

The press will dutifully play along by reporting the conflict in he said/she said, style, giving all claims—even blatantly false ones—equal weight, lest they be accused of “bias.” The public, seeing yet one more case of partisan bickering, lines up with whichever party they have more sympathy for, and the substance of the wrongdoing begins to fade away. The public may well glaze over—but only if the press plays their part in Republican spin.