I just wanted to stress again a theme that I've been going on about for some time now: the people who seem crazy and alien to us really are crazy and alien. They're not just stupid or obtuse. They really do think differently than us. Conservatives of all stripes. The "liberal" media. The right-wing media. Our President. They really are different from us, and their brains don't work as ours work. It's not that they disagree in their opinions; it's that they can't properly comprehend the reality around them, which then distorts their opinions.
This is a fact that we must internalize. These people don't just seem crazy. They are crazy. You are surrounded by crazy people. So stop shaking your heads in disbelief, forever wondering why they act so crazy, and do something about it.
And I'm only thinking about this right now based on a few posts that came through Atrios today. Like this absurdity about influential newsmen who seem to be at the Whitehouse's command. I've always found the Official Unofficial Press Briefings to be one of the most outrageous things. And most people don't know anything about it. The whole point of speaking anonymously was supposed to be so that whistleblowers could tell the truth without being punished by their superiors. It was intended as a method of last resort, when no other way to publish the information was possible. As a means to inform the public of secretive ways.
But our incompetent press corp has allowed the Whitehouse to use official leaks as a means for double-speak; as a means to misinform. Of getting things in the press officially, but without the accountability of an official statement. So they can go back and claim that they never said it, because it was officially off the record. How shameful.
And even worse, we're not talking about informal meetings with a few reporters over drinks. That I can understand. But we're talking about formal press conferences at the Whitehouse, where they are invited for the explicit purpose of hearing Whitehouse spin. But is it presented that way in the papers? Do they say "At a formal press briefing with a Bush official who Bush doesn't want us to name, blah blah"? No. They make it sound the same as if it's some hot tip that only they were privy too. Moreover, the fact that anonymity was necessary gives the impression that the reader is getting some confidential info that they weren't supposed to know about; rather than understanding that it's coming straight from the Whitehouse. It's all so disgusting.
And does anyone talk about this except us? No. Mention this to your conservative friends and they'll feel assured that you're lying or listening to conspiracy-mongers...and be confident that Clinton did the same thing twenty times over. But they won't defend the practice, because they surely find it as horrific as we do. They'll just deny the truth of it.
OUPB's In Practice
And don't forget that anti-terror-monger Richard Clarke once had his Official Unofficial Press Briefing exposed when it turned out that he had once said something good about Bush...off the record. His damning book had just come out saying bad things about Bush (the truth), and they were scrambling to counter the truth by show how untrustworthy Clarke was. So the Whitehouse gave permission and Fox went ahead and put Clarke on the record after the fact...as a means of attacking Clarke, for something he said unofficially in his official capacity in the Whitehouse. And it's all ok because the Prez gets to decide when someone is anonymous or not...yet the public isn't supposed to know that. Simply amazing.
And don't even get me started on the Novak-Plume thing...that still is under investigation. The idea of using reporter confidentiality to cover-up a crime is deplorable. It's one thing when the courts want a reporter's sources under normal circumstances, but in this case, telling the journalists was the crime itself! Robert Novak, Judith Miller, and the others were party to a crime (or perhaps attempted crime), and they're trying to hide behind their journalist credentials to hide the truth.
Rather than being the down and dirty muckrackers standing up to the powerful establishment, they're right down in the trenches fighting side-by-side to protect Bush and his men. Normally, tricking a reporter is a sure way for them to expose the identity of their source. That's just how it works. Woodward and Bernstein knew that and threatened to blow the cover of their sources a few times when they felt betrayed. But here we have our media protecting people who were abusing the media and committing a crime in the process. And the journalists are siding with their abusers!
And don't forget that this crime was committed by the Bush Admin using their Official Unofficial Leaks to attack a political foe anonymously. Again, misusing the powers of the press to misinform. And our media is so stupid that it thinks all of this is great, and haven't a clue what the problem is.
Anyway. That's it for now. As always, Atrios has a few other links about the outrageous crazy people who are so influential these days, but you can read those yourself. And remember, these aren't normal people who choose to act differently. These are crazy people who can't help themselves. I know, you like to blame people for their wrong-doing. But you just can't. If they understood what they were doing, they wouldn't do it. And if you don't understand that basic concept, then maybe you're not really a liberal.
People aren't evil, they just don't know any better. We must stop their bad behavior, but we must also understand it...no matter how much it injures our biobrains.