Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Like Stealing ACORN From A Blind Pig...

Whether you were playing hooky because of the unseasonably warm weather, or maybe just busy getting your holiday preparations together, you may have missed Gallup's semi-annual version of the 'Naughty and Nice' list that was released on Monday. Gallup's 'honesty survey', released every year about this time, tracks which professions Americans think are the most honest and ethical, and which ones are considered... well, dirty.

It should be no surprise to anyone that nurses and police officers came off squeaky clean near the top of the list. Wallowing near the bottom of the list were used car salesman - right next to "Members of Congress." Only ten percent of Americans trust Congresspersons to any degree these days.

To say those results surprised us would be a lie. National politics in the U.S. this year went far beyond mere mudslinging. We'd compare it to two well-dressed individuals rolling around in a hog lot - except we feel we'd be insulting the cleanliness of the pig.

The more important survey, released on Tuesday, came from the firm Public Policy Polling. They surveyed Republicans in the wake of the 2012 election and found that "49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama."

Considering 52% of Americans thought the same thing in 2008, that finding might not be seem so bad − except that ACORN, the community organizing group for low-income Americans, has been dead and gone for over two years, after being driven out of business by right-wing extremists.

Those right-wing extremists are part of the closed epistemic right-wing world, consisting of stations like Fox "News", right-wing talk radio, and fanatical right-wing websites. For years, these propagandists have told their viewers and listeners that they have all the answers, while everyone else in the media is just lying.

Sadly, as we've warned many times before, the damage they've been doing to America isn't just to fill your crazy uncle's head with half-truths and outright fabrications.

Do you have a position on the Panetta-Burns deficit reduction plan? According to another PPP poll, one-fourth of America has a position on Panetta-Burns right now, which is amazing to us, since there is no Panetta-Burns plan. Zero. Nada. Doesn't exist.

Over at respected Wall Street magazine Business Insider, another poll was conducted to ask Americans what they think will happen to the deficit if we go over the mythical fiscal cliff. Forty-seven percent of Americans insisted that the deficit would increase if we go over the cliff - which may have surprised the experts, like the CBO and professional economists. They all know that if we go over the metaphorical fiscal cliff, the U.S. national deficit will go down.

Then again, the professionals - who actually understand the fiscal cliff - may not be surprised at all, considering how many Americans think our nation is headed for a literal precipice with all the discussion of a fiscal cliff.

This is why we continue to harp about the desperate need for standards and practices in the national media, even while some of our best known media institutions are gutting their staff as they bow to the whims of Wall Street.

It's easy for organizations like Fox, and the blowhards on right-wing radio, to keep telling lies to Americans and convincing them those lies are true - while hiding the all-too-disturbing truth.

What's difficult is thinking that the opinion of who is trustworthy in America has real value anymore - especially when the people determining public trust also believe in zombie community organizing groups and have real positions on fake deficit plans.

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