Over the past five years, our local paper, the Central Virginian has been following their parent companies commitment to low cost journalism using their stable of “free” writers for most of their guest editorials.
And its a brand of commentary that has “evolved” over the years; starting with the opinions of: Rich Lowery, the editor of the National Review, and Tony Perkins the President of the Family Research Council in 2012 – 2013.
Over these past two years, the tone of these syndicated pieces has shifted slightly with commentary from; “Dr.” Glenn Mollette, a Christian radio talk show host, and Lee Hamilton a former congressman, and current director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University.
While most of the CV’s readers would have little reason to recall any of these pieces, it should be noted that the CV’s disclosure of these writers’ affiliations has often left much to be desired.
Particularly in the case of Mr. Hamilton, whose pivotal role in the whitewashing of the Iran-Contra, and the 9/11 commission reports is never mentioned.
Based on his past history, it would be fair to say that these are the views of someone who believes that getting along to go along is more important than arriving at the “truth,” or even understanding the causes of the problem.
So it should come as little surprise to learn that most of his recent “editorials” were peppered with misleading and disingenuous claims, as were Mr. Mollette’s.
Commentaries that were never about addressing any problems; but rather designed to distract their readers away from any serious discussion, and they represent a novel form of journalistic trolling that pushes mixed messages onto uninformed readers.
It is a brand of journalism that is apparently not limited to reprinting King syndicate pieces. Their latest November 26th effort was a verbatim reprint of a 1,300 + word blog by Khalil Pfaff, about the Syrian refugee crisis.
And while this piece by this former resident of Bumpass was well written and insightful, judging by the content of many LTE’s and opinion pieces in other local papers, it is one of the few islands of sanity in an otherwise stormy sea.
Like Jim Hogan’s LTE the week before, where he expresses his concern by characterizing these same refugees as “… known to be terrorists by their actions,” along with the President “…trying to pit “D’s” against “R’s,” because he “…is sympathetic to the Muslim population.”
Given that bit of local flavor, one does have to ask if whether the CV’s motivation for printing this “rebuttal” represents anything other than a ham fisted attempt to preclude any further embarrassing commentary on this topic?
Something that will become much clearer over the course of the next few weeks as the CV hits the newsstands.
While the use of the term “concern troll” can be construed as using emotionally charged language to denigrate and demonize others who hold contrasting points of view. That is not always the case; not everyone with a concern is a concern troll – and not every concern is unreasonable
In environments where genuine groupthink dominates, such as; Red State applying the concern troll label serves to enforce conformity and punishing (or silencing) dissent. And even without group think in play, many find that dismissing an argument much quicker and easier than evaluating it.
The term “concern troll” focuses not on what the person is actually saying, but on some alleged agenda. And when misused, it is the perfect refuge for someone who has no counter to actual arguments: they simply ignore the points being made, allege some other position, and then accuse the other person of lying if they deny that that is what they’re really saying.
It’s done by using a combination of derogatory labels known as Snarl Words, that are used to dismiss any opposing point of view as having little importance or worth, without the slightest trace of guilt or even responsibility for their actions.
And it is how Hakuna Matata has become a nationwide problem free philosophy which seems to disproportionately affect conservatives.
The website, Rational Wiki describes how U.S. Senator Al Franken back in the days when he was a liberal comedian and pundit detailed the “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy“‘s use of snarl words and other forms of emotional appeal in his book
Where he specifically cites Newt Gingrich, Frank Luntz, along with Lee Atwater‘s political activities and conservative pressure groups’ reliance on their tactics to rush the 1994 Contract With America through Congress.
And it’s an idea which coincidentally, the House Freedom Caucus , is now trying to resurrect, where our Congressman, Dave Brat, one of 36 members of this group is presumably hard at work drafting a Son-of -Contract-With-America for the 2016 campaign.
Thus far their proposal for a new Contract on America consists of the following points:
- require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress;
- select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
- cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
- limit the terms of all committee chairs;
- ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
- require committee meetings to be open to the public;
- require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
- guarantee an honest accounting of the Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.
And like the original Contract, it will feature many straw man and ad hominem attacks, that more or less revolve around simply making up something (or someone) to attack, going out of their way to ignore any and all contrasting points on the basis that since those points were made by someone acting in bad faith, they need not be addressed
And with the House Freedom Caucus determined to bring their problem free philosophy to Congress, what could possibly go wrong?