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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Right Wing Blogs and "Blurring" the Truth

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/13/08 12:49, Edited: 04/14/08 14:30

by Dave Mindeman

I usually peruse some of the right wing blogs every day... not because I believe in self mutilation, but because I just like to see what they are up to. And most of the time it is misinformation.

Just as an example, here are some excerpts from posts about the Tax Rally at the Capitol on the 13th -- notice the numbers:

Seeing somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 people show up at the Tax Cut Rally yesterday, in spite of the frigid weather....
--Wright County Republican Blog

Crowd estimates were the same as last year (7,000), surprising given the weather....
--Posted by Lassie at True North

Global Warming???? Not so you could tell in Minnesota today. That still has not stopped several thousand people from showing up on the Capital Mall for the KTLK Tax Cut Rally.
--Ladies Logician Blog

Now, here is the number mentioned at MPR:

Nearly 1,000 people rallied at the State Capitol against higher taxes.
--Minnesota Public Radio (First sentence of story) 4/13/2008

Now, I realize that crowd estimation is not an exact science by any means -- but the difference between 7,000 and less than a thousand is pretty substantial. I also found it interesting that "Lassie" used the phrase "estimates were the same as last year"..... coincidence???

I guess it really doesn't matter how many people were there... even a thousand people makes a point; but the pattern of exaggeration and misinformation is constant and makes it difficult to have a rational discussion about issues.

Here is another case that I came across recently:

The writer of the Ladies Logic blog went into a rant about Coleen Rowley's Huffington Post article about the discussion of police tactics for the Republican Convention on the Chris Baker Show.

I took note of these particular statements:

I invited Coleen Rowley on the show but so far she has not responded.
--Response from Chris Baker via Ladies Logic Blog

I suspect that Chris will be waiting a long, long, long time for Coleen to respond to his invitation. Just call it a hunch.
--Ladies Logic

Now, I know Coleen Rowley and I checked with her about this. She emphatically stated that nobody from the Baker show had tried to contact her at all. So, of course they would be waiting a long time for her to respond....the invitation was never made.

I e-mailed the Ladies Logic blog to inform them of the "misunderstanding" and she responded (cordially, I might add), that she would check again with the Baker people. She sent another response stating that they stood by their story.

This blog you are currently reading, is not a "breaking news" type blog. Personally, I deal with analysis of the news and its political figures. I try to be as accurate about those policy issues as I can -- I sometimes mess up, but I do try to check to make sure the statements made have a factual basis.

We all have agendas we want to promote....blogs don't have to hide that fact; they are not news organizations. But, in a world of conflicting views, it would be nice to trust that the statements made have at least some "truth" behind them.

Right wing blogs blur that line of "truth" too much. It discredits their point and is grossly unfair when they attack individuals with those distortions.

UPDATE: Good discussion of this very topic at the MPR Newscut Blog.

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