politics: August 2004 Archives

Dodgy Dossiers

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Becky Howard, a colleague of mine, was asking the other day about how she might publish something she's been working on, and publish it quickly, since it's relevant to the Presidential race. After talking about it a while, and coming up with nothing, she's decided to self-publish it on her website. Problem was that my first response was: well, of course, you blog it. Which would be the perfect solution but for the fact that Becky has no blog. Oops.

So my second-best alternative? I blog it. Becky, as some of you probably already know, is one of the country's foremost experts on plagiarism, and the essay in question is a close look at the process by which the Brits and the Bush Administration set about justifying our actions in Iraq. It also makes no secrets whatsoever about its own position: Plagiarism and Fraud in George W. Bush's Foreign Policy. Check the URL if you think I'm joking about this.

A taste, you ask? Well, all right:

It may not be easy to answer falsehoods with facts, but it is worth the effort.  That effort will have to be made by each individual citizen, through multiple means.  We cannot depend on a single medium—whether television, radio, film, print, or Internet—for our information.  Nor can we find a single reliable source.  The (inter)national emergency in which we find ourselves, an emergency rife with falsification and withholding of essential data, requires that each of us work energetically to gather, evaluate, interpret, and share information.  It requires, too, that we speak up, in whatever media are available to us—in our blogs, in the beauty salon and bowling alley, in public demonstrations—and encourage others to do the same. 

The thoroughness of the evidence she marshals in the article is worth the read, as Becky really works to pin down the timing of both governmental action, news coverage, and particularly the lack of coverage once the dossier was declared dodgy. There's no one passage that quite captures that thoroughness, and I thought the conclusion above offers a nice tie-in with Dan Gillmor's We the Media. I've been hearing about this piece on and off for a while now, and it's nice to see it finally available. Pass it along...

Blooks apart?

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QuadCity Times front page

I must admit to a bit of civic pride. I didn't find out about this until after it happened, but as it turns out, my hometown hosted both Bush and Kerry yesterday. I'm pretty sure that my dad would have met both of them, being the mayor and all, and I know that my mom was one of the invitees to the Kerry session, so I'll update this entry once I've heard more from both of them.

Interesting to me here, if you go to the Quad-City Times site and read the stories, is the study in contrasts between the two. Bush plays in front of a mob of people, shouting out half-truths (including the old Incumbent Fallacy: results are the only thing that counts), while Kerry meets with a group of leaders, and actually attempts a conversation. Little question, I suppose, which of these I personally find more persuasive. But then, I've been predisposed to find Kerry persuasive since, roughly, 1998.

Finally, I tried to ignore this. Really, I did. How weak is it that they can't even space a 3-word headline properly? The worst thing about it is that it's not as though they don't have access to something like Photoshop, which allows you to keep a particular font height while compressing the letters horizontally. I mean, really. It looks like it says "Woflds, Blooks Apart." Drives me nuts, that does.

Update: Davenport appears prominently in the NYT as well, and they even quote my father. Unfortunately, they also make the mistake of identifying him as a Republican, even though local politics in D'port is supposed to be non-partisan. Made it sound as though my pop cared who decided first to come to Davenport, which was part of the NYT angle ("who's stalking whom?"). Ah well, that's small potatoes, all things considered. The contrast above made its way into the two photos, though. Kerry is shot at a distance, through the silhouettes of people, and he's talking to the woman seated next to him. Bush looks slightly askew, having to reach (and almost losing balance) to shake somebody's hand. You can see the photos here, at least until the article's condemned to the archives...



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This page is a archive of entries in the politics category from August 2004.

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