Reply to: Could Pundits Not Receiving Government Funds Please Stand Up?
Greg Beato has a couple of interesting posts about Maggie Gallagher (and he links to SourceWatch :) )
His second post brings something that's been stuck in my craw lately. Like many pundits and propagandists, Gallagher likes to refer to herself as an expert. In her latest defense, she even attempts to group herself with "researchers and scholars."
There seems to be a paradox in the right wing's attack on the media and academic establishment. On the one hand, movement conservatives (MCs) need to cloak themselves with the appearance of scholarship and the traditional notion of what constitutes an "expert" to establish credibility. On the other, there seems to be a deliberate effort to undermine the very notion of expertise, which is considered "elitist."
I suppose if one is trying to hoodwink the public, confusion is a good tactic. And in any case, MCs have little choice because many of their ideas would otherwise be ignored and their media personalities dismissed as cranks.
But as a long-term strategy, it seems self-defeating. As the public's trust in institutions and experts erodes, it becomes more and more difficult to win people over and earn their trust. It's the same, growing problem advertisers are facing - the more fog you release to blur the distinction between fact and fiction, the more difficult it becomes to get a message across.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we've passed a point of no return, where the trust that binds a society together begins to fray to the point where it's impossible to put together coherent public policy. Unless the media begins calling a representative of the "Institute for Marriage and Public Policy" a "nut" instead of a "scholar," I'm pessimistic that the trend will reverse.
Reply to: From "Disinfopedia" to "SourceWatch"
As a long time admirer of your work, I do worry that the new name is a bit soft. I know you can't please all of the people all of the time, so fair enough if you've come up with SourceWatch after a lot of thinking. But, for what it's worth, the name change sounds ironically like the kind of doublespeak you are always warning against. Why? Because "source" almost sounds like it implies "legitimate". I know that this is far from what you intend, but think about it semantically (or rather, about its connotations). It resonates with words like "origin", "foundation", "font", "spring", "birthplace", and so on. Think source-code, re-source, re-source-ful... I know that these words are accurate from a denotation point of view, but looking at connotation they are all a little too nice. I guess you considered (and rejected) "SpinWatch", "Spinpedia", "Lobbywatch" etc.? Anyway keep up the excellent work. It has been fantastic to see the way the CMD and Disinfopedia/Sourcewatch have thrived in recent years.
Reply to: Secret Marriage Contracts
Today's Washington Post story describes two federal contracts Gallagher received related to the Bush marriage intiative; a $21,500 contract with Health and Human Services and a $20,000 one with the Justice Department (detailed in [dis:Maggie Gallagher|the SourceWatch article on Gallagher]). So the total is $41,500.
Reply to: Secret Marriage Contracts
In the interests of being fair and balanced like some news shows claim to be, It was only $21,500 NOT $41,500. Honest mistake I'm sure. We need to maintain fact at all times or we become like those that we ar trying to stop. Thanks for the story!! :)
Reply to: Who Do You Trust?
Its complete nonsense to think that there is any such thing as "corporate social responsibility." There may be the occasional co. that is honest about this, but as long as the capitalism as constitued remains defined by the "bottom line," it will all just be hyperbole of the worst kind, benefiting those who have most to gain, in most cases, as usual. "If we accept what they are giving us, we deserve what we get."