Unfriendly Persuasion

Media Matters swings into action once again. Do they really believe no one can see through their semantic trickery and rhetorical sleight-of-hand?

David Brock, the self-admitted prevaricator who is the proprietor of Media Matters, has apparently polished his act to the point where, instead of outright falsehoods, he can employ fancy rhetoric and misleading verbiage to fool those gullible suckers on the internet. Their latest jeremiad against Fox & Friends is so disingenuous, it could have come from the Clinton press office:
[Co-host E.D.] Hill noted that "Kerry and groups allied to the Democratic cause have spent nearly 25 million dollars on TV ads in the last thirty days ... 60 percent more than Bush." This is a false comparison. In the Kerry tabulation, Hill included expenditures by groups unaffiliated with the campaign, while in the Bush tabulation she included only Bush-Cheney '04 campaign expenditures.

That's a fair comment...as far as it goes. However, the media "watchdogs" fail to point out that of the 56,627 ads run by non-campaign organizations, all but 513 were run by liberal, anti-Bush groups. Does Media Matters really believe that not including the 513 makes the whole point biased and invalid? (See the USA Today article that lays it all out.) MM calls this a "false comparison", but the total figures hardly budge an inch whether the 513 is included or not.
In fact, a comparison of money spent by each campaign shows that the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign has spent $3.6 million more than the Kerry campaign on advertising...

A nice semantic tango and double-twist in MM's trademarked fashion--bombard the reader with statistics about something different, to divert attention from the subject matter. The mention on Fox & Friends was not about what each campaign spent, but rather the comparison of what the campaigns plus external groups spent--the true measure of what is impacting the voter. So why does Media Matters bring this up? Because it's the only statistic they can raise to make it look like Kerry is being outspent--when he isn't. They go on for several more sentences about this (remember, always have lots of text; most people only read headlines).

Then the Brock Brigade segues to a discussion of Kerry's campaign, and includes a quote from Carl Cameron about an introduction by Madame Kerry. As if to debunk the wording of that report, Media Matters goes on:
Heinz Kerry’s actual comment was that she has "gotten to know John -- not enough -- since I [she] was married nine years ago."

If MM wants to argue that the small talk between the F&F hosts did not properly characterize the quote, that's one issue (and a meager one at that, given the light comedic nature of such chit-chat). However, Media Matters places the above sentence immediately following the quote from Cameron. The use of the phrase "actual comment" is a ploy, meant to imply that somehow Cameron's report misstated what she said. We saw that report, and not only did it not misstate her words, it included the very clip that MM quotes! Would anyone have known this from reading the Brock breakdown? No. But it's Fox & Friends that's "biased", don't you know.

The paladins of propriety have one more trick up their sleeves. A few sentences down, referring to reports about protests at the upcoming GOP convention:
According to the FOX & Friends co-hosts, the reports suggest that some black-garbed protesters might intentionally try to confound bomb-sniffing dogs by wearing clothes with traces of gunpowder, or use marbles to thwart the work of mounted police officers.

No, it's not "according to the Fox & Friends hosts"; it's according to the protesters' own internet postings, reported not just on Fox but also in the New York Daily News. And no, the reports don't "suggest" it, they "report" it.

Perhaps the next Media Matters indictment will explore what the meaning of "is" is, because their shifty doublespeak and delusory "analysis" tread in the proud tradition of Slick Willy himself.

posted: Thu - July 15, 2004 at 11:45 AM       j$p  send