Jacobson Should Learn from Greenwald



When browsing through ‘legal insurrection’ I noticed a lot of things made me understand why this blog has become successful––it is well-organized and presented, and seemed to have a good method of choosing key-issues to go in-depth on, which is a factor I consider more important than having a consistent political voice. I didn’t find myself resenting the political viewpoints it represents, although they differ greatly from my own, but the methods of contextualization it uses I detest. To be clear, mis-contextualization is by no means a problem that is unique to Jacobson’s blog; it pervades the blogosphere and the traditional media spheres as well. But, as Jacobson noted, on the internet, particularly in the blogosphere, you’re preaching to the choir. However, my personal feeling is that in the interest of the journalistic desire to have your voice reach more readers, acknowledging that the less someone agrees with you, the more likely they are to view your argument as slanted or biased, allows you to present your argument––as Greenwald does––in a manner that has a certain type of reason and logic to it that even someone who disagrees with wouldn’t be totally turned off by.

Jacobson is far from this standard, as are few bloggers on either side of the political spectrum. As an example of how far he is from presenting his conservatism in a reasonable manner that could go beyond his target audience, let’s look at an article he published about the Obamacare “keep your doctor” claim. Jacobson’s post said that the statements were “The Central Obamacare Lie as Historic as This Presidency.”

Now, Jacobson’s blog post went up before NBC reported that the Obama Administration knew for three years that the “keep your doctor” promise was faulty. To be clear, I still wouldn’t quite call it a lie––it’s more of a half-truth, as the reorganization of the insurance and health care system will mean changes in networks, etc. that force people to switch doctors or providers in certain scenarios––but I certainly understand ACA opponents being angry with Obama for the statement. And after knowing that Obama knew how faulty it was, I’ll give conservatives the benefit of the doubt and allow it to be termed a full-on lie.

Jacobson had me. The non-party-allied, yet-still-somehow-more-sympathetic-to-democrats voice in my head was at least partially swayed by the reasonability of this criticism, and the fact that it was consistent with my beliefs around government transparency. But then Jacobson wades deeper into the muds of conservative pseudo-logic:

“It was more of a “lie” than George W. Bush’s statements regarding Iraq having WMD stockpiles, which were in reliance on faulty intelligence that most Democrats and others in the world believed too.”

By trying to contrast Obama with Bush here, Jacobson totally marginalizes anyone reading his blog who might be liberal or centrist, and probably even many moderate-conservative readers as well.

Whether you believe Bush lied us into Iraq or not, to present the simplification of the healthcare debate by President Obama as an equally-tragic lie as Bush’s belittles the effect the war has had, both economically and socially. The thousands of American soldiers lost, and the hundreds-of-thousands more of innocent Iraqi and Afghan civilians, will always be a greater disaster than Obamacare, even if it completely tanks and fails as a policy.

I won’t even bother addressing the assertion that Bush’s only motivation for being pro-war was “in reliance on faulty intelligence that most Democrats and others in the world believed too,” because to me, even the most hard-core conservative who believes Bush was behind Iraq for totally innocent reasons, can see that no matter whether it was a “lie,” the catastrophic effects are incomparable.


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