Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words


  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.



That's the way you do it

That's the way you do it

You've heard of the "controversy" about the new Bush/Cheney TV ads. "WTC survivors" are all over the press with complaints about the use of a couple of fleeting images of the post-collapse rescue efforts at the WTC. Well, see John Hawkin's item--no, make that scoop--at Right Wing News: 9/11 Family Members With Axes To Grind.

From the early reports you would think the families were all horrified by the Bush ads. It turns out that this is another instance of the malcontent-with-a fax-machine phenomenon. Five of the outraged have gone public with gripes against George Bush in the past couple of years, two work for a union that endorsed Kerry, and one of those two campaigned for Kerry. That's the way you dig behind the processed news, and I wish I had done it.

I have only two things to add to Hawkin's fine job. First, this is a typical PR tactic of the Left. The more trivial the complaint, and the more you make the offense one of taste and emotion while still implying that some moral stricture has been breached, the harder it is to make a defense, especially if you believe that facts and logic matter and humility is a virtue. One has to deconstruct the charges to show how silly they are, and that is tough in a TV sound-bite. I say silly advisedly. One of the outraged complained in Salon that Bush is "an action hero" who "when this country was under attack . . . was drinking milk and eating cookies with second graders". What did I say about facts and logic?

Second, Bush really came into his own with his leadership in response to Islamic terrorism, specifically when he grabbed a megaphone to express solidarity with the rescue workers a few days after the bombings. It really is fiendishly clever to try to claim exclusive use of that story and to hobble Bush's legitimate attempts to remind us of the strengths his record.

The report on tonight's ATC on NPR included opposing statements, some analysis of the denial-of-use ploy, and an inkling--nothing more--of the outrageds' less than pristine motives.



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