Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Baracknophobia: "The Irrational fear that behind the mild-mannered persona, Barack Obama is intent on enslaving the white race... The sickness manifests itself as rumor, most often in the form of the only email your grandmother has ever successfully been able to forward."

Yes, well, substitute "grandmother" with "mother" and that's my experience. The first time I heard any of the crazy rumors about Barack Obama, it came from an email from dear old mom. I don't know what hurt more -- that my mother actually was seriously worried about the claims, or that all the wisdom I tried to pass on to her about avoiding internet hoaxes and rumors was lost.

Last night the Daily Show aired a montage of the smears that the Internet, the mainstream media and my mom have pushed upon us:

The only smear I hadn't heard before was at 5:45 into the video. It's Fox News comparing a Barack Obama speech to a Mario Cuomo speech. The two speeches had three words in common: to, of, we. The Fox reporter asks "is that plagiarism there?"

Never mind the fact that the two speeches aren't even vaguely similar. Never mind the fact that both candidates use typical political rhetoric. It's the Fox technique that deserves analysis. Ask a question rather than stating a fact. "Is that plagiarism there?" Or as The Onion put it, "A Statement Followed By A Question Separated By A Colon: An Effective Journalistic Technique?"

Of course, if Fox News makes a false statement, they could be accused of slander, but they can't be accused of slander for asking a question. Sounds tricky, but let me try:

The Mainstream Media: Can They Be Trusted?
Fox News: Just Stirring Up Trouble?
Fox Reporters: Are They Retarded?
All Fox Reporters Have Assholes: Is That Where They Pull Their Stories From?

The formula is easy to master, and raising the specter is all it takes to hook the average viewer. Then repeat the innuendo over and over again. And that's how the media diverts our focus from the real issues.

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