When is the last time you read something in the blogosphere that was fair and balanced? I asked myself this question recently as I began to evaluate the comments to an assortment of articles. You won’t get far before finding someone say “He was obviously cherry picking the facts” or “She grossly misunderstood or mischaracterized the data” or “He accomplished nothing more than knocking down his own straw man arguments.”
Now, normally when I see these types of criticisms, I assume the reader is actually a little threatened by what is being said and therefore breaks out the “lets just defame this author’s ability to make reasonable arguments.” But the more I thought about it, the more I tried to recall the last time I read a piece that truly sought to lay out the pros and cons of a hypothesis. Most don’t even bother with more than an ironic meme and a few scathing sentences.
It almost seems as though *gasp* there is no science to our thoughts at all. But why should there be when intimidation and shaming work so well? I mean, aren’t all those memes changing your mind about things?
“You know, that silly kitten sweating under the sweltering heat of global warming and quoting from an ex lawyer is really making me second guess my stance on climate change. Why, that sarcastic and demeaning comment about Sarah Palin really makes me wonder if I should be a democrat so I can associate myself with cooler people like Hollywood actors.”
Sorry, but it isn’t quite working, meme factory. I’m not quite sure of your objectivity, Salon.com. I need more bias. I need more subtle slander and editorialized edicts.
So go ahead and pick your cherries. Throw them at your straw men as they scratch their heads over the countless interpretations of the latest poll. And most of all, if someone comes along presenting cold hard facts, dismiss them outright based on your judgment of their poor character and motives.
In closing, here are a few more good ones to use.
1. He’s just a racist, pure and simple.
2. Just another dummy with fuzzy logic.
3. This from the guy who (fill in the blank with hypocritical quote).
4. Left/Right wing nut job.
5. Anyone who thinks the way she does should be shot!