Truth Coming Out Of Her Well To Pull On Her Boots

There's spin, and then there's lies.

During my hiatus, I'm staying "off Twitter" in the sense that I'm not interacting with it or posting to it except using sharing tools for my content (like this), but I'm still using it in my work, dipping into searches to take the pulse on the news of the day and such. I'm trying to build better habits around how I use it, such as opening a tab for a specific purpose and closing it when I'm done.

With that in mind, I have glanced at the reception the Horowitz hearing has been getting. 

This by Kevin M. Kruse is currently the top result for me under a search for Horowitz:


The right -wing response might best be summed up by a tweet that I'm not going to link/embed (as it's a small account) that says "Horowitz just destroyed the Democrat Party for decades. Now it's time to start arresting people."

On the surface, this might seem like a textbook example of how ~*both sides*~ can look at the same thing and cherry-pick it to get the exact results they want to see, and I'm sure it will be cast that way. The truth, of course, is always more nuanced., right? 

But I don't think the leftward response is necessarily lacking in nuance. The fundamental difference between the Democratic narrative and the Republican one, even as both involve a certain amount of spin and massaging the messaging, is that the Democratic one doesn't require anything to be all one way.

Democrats and progressives don't have to deny that there were problems with the FISA application -- that there are problems with the FISA program, period -- to support the factual message that the investigations that touched on Donald Trump's campaign were not a politically-motivated effort to derail his campaign for partisan purposes, a strongly supported conclusion of the Horowitz report.

The Republicans, as I discussed in a previous newsletter entry, are playing for keeps and for all of the marbles. If there are flaws in a process with an outcome they don't like, if it looks like there are flaws, then the whole thing is bad and wrong. If any part of a news story is good for them, that's the only part that's true. Remember "the leaks are real but the news is fake"? Being able to denounce leakers in the White House as deep state traitors was useful, but the substance of the leaks were damaging. Does it matter that if the contents of the leaks aren't true then it can't be confidential and there's no reason to believe it came from a privileged source? It does not. And of course, while the leaks are real the source are phony as well. 

So Horowitz is a deep state swamp dweller for repeatedly and clearly stating that the Republican Party's conspiracy theories are a bunch of bunk but he's also a righteous warrior of the truth who has destroyed the Democrats for decades to come.

The difference between the Democratic narrative and the Republican narrative, in short, is that to the extent that the Democrats spin, they are choosing which parts of the actual reality to emphasize as important, while the Republican narrative is that what is good for the Republican Party is true and what is bad is false.

As ever, Donald Trump holds a magnifying cosmetic mirror under bathroom lighting up to the Republican Party, making the clogged pores more visible and the whole thing harshly illuminated but not showing anything that isn't there when he blithely declares that any polls that are good are real (even if he made them up) and any showing a troubling trend are fake (even if he previously touted them). To him, all positive superlatives are synonyms. Great = perfect = true = real = appropriate. Bad = fake = hoax = impeachment = investigation. Good words apply to him and his endeavors, bad words apply to his opponents. 

He calls the media "fake" reflexively, preemptively, so that the default position for the public will be doubt and mistrust, unless and until he singles out a particular story or journalist as real and good and true. If the failing New York Times skews news in his favor, as they so often have done going back to the 2016 campaign and before... why, if a liberal rag that hates him so much has to say something nice about him, then you know it's got to be true, and what's more, it's probably even better than they're saying it is.

So what can we do about this?

Giving up in the face of it is the wrong move. It might seem hopeless to try to fight against a disinformation campaign that is so far gone as to be an alternate reality, whose proponents and adherents simultaneously don't care about what is actually true and manage to believe their hype anyway... but if we concede the fight is lost when it could have been won, we lose, whereas if we fight and it turns out the battle was hopeless we don't lose anything more.

There is no point in arguing with or debating against the forces of organized unreality, but that doesn't mean we have to cede them any ground. It's important to bear witness to the truth and to spread it, to discuss it. Don't counter the lies with point-by-point rebuttals that spend as much time centering and repeating the false narrative. Simply share the truth, ruthlessly and unapologetically. 

A lie may travel halfway around the world before the truth can put on its boots, but when the truth shows up it has two advantages: it's the truth, and it's wearing boots.

It's time to start kicking, neighbors.

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