Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Painful Status Quo

The miserable state of political discourse in this country is well described by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker through a review of Cass Sunstein's new book On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done. This, I think, is a fair assessment of the madness:
Sunstein himself has recently been the object of a right-wing disinformation campaign. As soon as word got out that he was going to be nominated by the Obama Administration to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the American Conservative Union set up a Web site on him. It was called stopsunstein.com.
. . . [F]inally, Fox News’s Glenn Beck got into the act, exhorting, in a Twitter message to his supporters, “FIND EVERYTHING YOU CAN ON CASS SUNSTEIN.” (In an interesting twist on group polarization, some liberal bloggers, who had initially not been keen on Sunstein’s nomination, decided at this point that it must be O.K.; as one of them put it, “If Glenn Beck and the other loons are against him, how bad could he be?”)

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