Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Don't Believe the Hype

Though Andrew Sullivan may still be in shock over what he perceives to have been an extremely good first night for the Democrats at the Democratic National Hoodwink...er...Convention, I feel that a simple warning is in order. Sullivan and others, both on blogs, in the news, on all sides of the political spectrum, are covering the rhetoric. Not the facts, not the substance, but the style. I'd venture that 80% of those in the Fleet Center are to the left of what could be considered "mainstream," yet Sullivan and others are congratulating, and will continue to congratulate, the Democrats for portraying themselves as "centrists" or "moderates." To some degree, this is ALWAYS done at a convention. The Republicans will do the same thing, but the coverage of the Democrats will consist of wags talking about "effectiveness of message," and Kerry's ability to "define himself" or "show his true nature." The talking heads will almost assuredly laud Kerry and the Dems for a great, positive convention where they will have given the American people a feasible alternative to President Bush. They will cover the rhetoric and leave the reality in the background, ignored because of its unfortunate tendency to undermine the veracity of the week long moderation message the Democrats will have spun. In contrast, the Republican convention will see the same talking heads explaining to the poor, ignorant viewer that "moderate Republican speaker A" is "actually at odds with most in his party" over generic policy X, or that though the President says this now, where is the evidence that he has ever done such and such. In short, the rhetoric of the Dems will be accepted at face value and will be heralded as reality, whereas the rhetoric of the Republicans will be identified as such and will be constantly challenged. So, we may all like the words that come out of the Democrats convention, but remember to ask yourself if their rhetoric matches their past reality. The media won't do it for you. The motto of my alma mater was never more applicable. "Acta non Verba." Deeds, not words.

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