CSotD: You can quote me

An apt mood-setter from Pros & Cons (KFS): Whether we’re entering a new Dark Age or a new Golden Age depends on your point of view.

Let’s start here: One of the more deadly, underhanded techniques of reporting is to quote someone accurately.

Underhanded if you simply don’t like the person, in which case, even if what they say is intelligent, you can make them seem stupid by leaving in all the verbal tics — the stops and starts, the umms, and so forth — that are natural in verbal conversation but appear moronic in print.

Deadly when there is no need to be underhanded, because what they say is either ridiculous or reprehensible or both.

Reporters still have to find a way to make things clear without editorializing or using words like “bullshit,” but political cartoonists are there to editorialize, at which point the cartoons start to draw themselves.


For instance, when Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) sent out a Christmas card with a photo of his entire family posing with assault weapons, simply showing the card was problematic, because the people you hoped most to shock might well think it was delightful.

But now he’s handed Mark Murphy a gift with his ongoing refusal to condemn the Russian invasion and his lack of support for NATO. This particular quote seems to have come before the uncovering of atrocities in Bucha, but Massie is one of seven Republicans who voted against investigating those emerging war crimes.

Not only are the Republicans seemingly unwilling to criticize the members of the “Anti-Ukraine Caucus,” but, in an interview on Axios, their fearless leader Mitch McConnell openly declared his refusal to draw any moral line that, as a good party member, he would not cross.

All Ann Telnaes needed to do was quote him accurately and dress him up appropriately for the role.


JD Crowe faced a somewhat different challenge, because the quote is not from a racist politician but, rather, a fellow journalist covering a story about a woman who lectures on her older sister’s death in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, but is being shunned by schools that are afraid to let students hear about racist violence in the Civil Rights era.

Still, the quote is apt and makes a good argument, particularly since the context magnifies the horror of Dixie’s refusal to face its own past.


Assuming it is past, of course, and Rob Tornoe points out the selectivity of those who celebrate the parts they like and suppress the parts they don’t, though he has to imagine the dialogue for his depiction of hypocrisy.


Michael Ramirez (Creators) also invents this bit of dialogue, but the Republican National Committee invented the context: Ramirez was apparently taken in by a dishonestly edited video clip that the GOP — with the help of Fox News — circulated to further their ongoing insistence that Biden is unable to drink a glass of water with one hand, walk down a ramp without stumbling or spell “hamburger.”

Obviously, criticizing people for things they didn’t say and things that didn’t happen is an ethically dubious approach, but it becomes an issue when people choose their sources by where they stand. A recently published study showed that Fox viewers who were paid to also watch CNN became less vulnerable to partisan spin and fake news.

Which is one of those “belling the cat” solutions that works but is hard to accomplish, short of paying people as the experimenters did. As the sad documentary, “The Brainwashing of My Dad,” indicates, continued exposure to partisan media makes it harder to get even once-decent people to pay attention to opposing viewpoints.

Which brings us to our


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Dave Whamond)


(Bill Bramhall)

It’s not simply a problem of random gullible civilians.

Democrats may not find all the positions of the Squad palatable, but they are more apt to ignore them than to either reject or embrace them. And it should be noted that most of those positions “suffer” from idealism, which assumes that an overabundance of idealism is a flaw.

By contrast, not only, as Whamond points out, do GOP members have to accept that the January 6 events were not an attempted coup — and vote to suppress investigation of the uprising — but they also have to accept the Big Lie, which is no more a matter of interpretation than is believing that the world is round or that fish can breathe underwater.

And as Bramhall suggests, their refusal to renounce Dear Leader’s continued toxic, counterfactual pronouncements reduces their platform to a simple declaration of loyalty to the cult of personality.

Which might be a good thing, come election time, since what platform they do have calls for taxing the poor and ending programs unless they are re-authorized every five years. Senator Scott (R-Fl) includes Medicare and Social Security in those programs he’s willing to see terminated.

The closest GOP leaders come to renouncing the plan is to note that Scott speaks only for himself, which would be a good argument if they had another platform to roll out, and if Scott did not chair the GOP’s senatorial committee.

As it is, they’d better hope their supporters stay tuned to Rupert Murdoch’s fog machine, because exposure to the notion that Republicans want to end Social Security and raise your taxes doesn’t seem like a winning strategy.


You would think, too, that Republican efforts to end abortion would galvanize voters, particularly women, and that even those who decline to speak out publicly would behave differently in the privacy of the voting booth, just as they have behaved differently in the privacy of their doctors’ offices.

That’s not a sure bet or, as Paul Fell puts it, they wouldn’t be the hostages of extremist state legislators.

To which I would add this: If Roe v Wade is overturned or greatly modified, it will simply shift the burden to state legislatures, which will expose the effective conservative strategy of organizing on local and state levels while progressives focus on national offices.


As Pearls Before Swine (AMS) says, the ideal is not necessarily realistic.

However, while YMMV, I’d rather be thought a wise ass than a rat.

You can quote me.