Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jon Stewart Needs to Get the Hell Over It

Jon, I'm a big fan. Really, I am. You're one of the savviest critics of modern newsmedia out there.

But that said, Digby's right. Just because the Nazis came up with the "Big Lie" technique does NOT mean that using the label is somehow out of bounds. That's like saying that modern communists can't exist because they aren't Soviets, or that nobody lives in a yurt because they're not ancient mongols. It's absolutely ludicrous.

In fact, it absolutely plays into the very concept of the Big Lie. The whole point of the Big Lie is that it's a lie that is so egregious that people believe that it cannot possibly be false because nobody would ever say it if it weren't true.  You believe that a lie of that magnitude cannot exist, so you believe it must be true. But the same is true here. You're claiming that since nobody can possibly be as bad as the Nazis, nobody could possibly be credibly employing their propaganda techniques, and therefore must not be using those techniques. That's also absolutely ludicrous.

Look, however you want to call it, that's what the Republicans have done. They've lied over, and over, and over again, in every way and form and degree imaginable. They've lied about policies, they've lied about individuals, and they've lied about entire peoples, creeds, and religions. The public clearly believes that anybody in that sort of position of power couldn't possibly get away with it, so they assume there must be a grain of truth, even if embellished. And because of that, they get horribly manipulated over, and over, and over again by a pack of absolute bastards.

They've hit the point where they have absolutely no idea what Obama's even doing, or what the words "conservative" and "liberal" really mean anymore. They think Obama's death doctors are going to gun their parents and grandparents down in the streets, and that Obama's taxed them to within an inch of their lives when he reduced their taxes. But how can they possibly believe otherwise? The volume and size of the lies—not to mention the complicity of the media—makes it impossible!

Yes, Jon, that is the Big Lie technique. Maybe digby's right. Maybe it needs a new name. But that's what it is. And while I'm sure you enjoyed taking potshots at Steve Cohen, HE WAS RIGHT.

(Oh, and while I'm at it, the DC thing was ridiculously unhelpful, but that's an issue for another day that was covered quite well elsewhere.)


  1. Anonymous7:10 PM

    I read your post, and then read Digby (and some of the comments), and then I watched the actual clip from the Daily show. It seems both you and Digby are misrepresenting Jon Stewart's criticism of Cohen. Stewart concedes that the republicans are liars; it's Cohen's implication that they are Nazis that he takes issue with. This is consistent with the message of the October rally: once the invective starts, any possibility of meaningful discussion is over. And this is especially true when someone mentions the Nazis! See this:

  2. Godwin's Law is a critique of online debate. It's not a hard-and-fast thing. To totally rule out any comparison to the Nazi Regime is to ignore one of the most important lessons of that point in history: that sort of evil and delusion is within all of us. It is our duty to recognize it and stand against it when necessary, not to hide from the darkness within ourselves and our contemporaries by pretending that we're immune to all the things that afflicted them.

    And the October rally was ludicrous because Stewart's acting like a coward; he's pretending that both sides are precisely mirrored when they aren't, and claims that "everybody should just compromise" when said compromise would be harmful to both America and the people that live within it. Yes, he wielding irony, but only in the sense that Exiled mocked so effectively: by elevating self-aggrandizement and a foolish detachment over any desire to actually do something and believe something.

    (Which is sad, because as we saw with the first responder case, he can be quite effective when he chooses to put away the irony and DO something.)