Thursday, October 28, 2004

Nordlinger Rules

A great Impromptus column today. It starts with:

They're beauties, the media, aren't they? Aren't they performing . . . well, just about how you'd expect, in the final days of a campaign? I'm surprised Dan Rather doesn't have to say, "I'm Dan Rather, and I approve of this message." You bet he does — approves, that is.

For years, my line has been, "Conservatives make either too much or too little of media bias." Some make too much of it, it is true. But I think the more common error is to make too little of it. It makes a huge difference. How can it not? Even with the proliferation of media, including conservative outlets, over the last few years.

Evan Thomas, the Newsweek editor, cannot be gainsaid: The advantage to Democrats of media bias is enormous. Thomas is to be applauded for his honesty.

Democrats like to dispute this, of course — dispute that media bias is prevalent, and that they are its beneficiaries. I think they should just be grateful.

My aunt said something that tickled me. She said, "I watched the news this morning, and didn't hear much about the election. I figured it meant that Bush was doing well."


He finishes up with a series of e-mails from readers and their experiences with campaign buttons. Here are a few:

Friends, this is the saddest one. I almost hate to print it, but here it is. Made me sort of angry.

I used to wear a "Vietnamese-American Against Kerry" button until someone on St. Mark's stopped me and delivered a monologue on the Bush police state. When I brought up the real police state that my family lived in (including the re-education camps), he brushed that off and blathered on about Bush and the sorry state of the U.S. I decided to stop wearing the button because I couldn't take the blind idiocy.


"Jay, I live in the East Bay suburbs of San Francisco — Walnut Creek, to be exact. The Kerry-Edwards clipboard patrol is often soliciting donations at the local supermarket. I ignore them, except this one time. A very young, very pretty college-coed type asked as I passed by, 'Will you help defeat Bush with a donation?' I replied, 'No thanks, but I am glad to see some younger citizens getting involved in politics.' Since I'm over 50, I felt it was an okay remark, without condescension. Her reply was quick and chilling: 'Bush's concentration camps will be filled with the Jews, then the blacks!' Her eyes had become dark flint and her expression was pure malevolence. For only the third time in my life, I was left utterly speechless. [The letter-writer does not say what the other two times were.] I shook my head and walked slowly to the car. What in G*d's name had been poured into that young lady's head? Did she even know what she was saying?

"I'm voting (for Bush) like my life depends on it, and sending the NRA another donation."


"Jay, the Democratic party is the home of the drama queens of politics. The button-wearers — despite being surrounded by wearers of the same buttons — are showing their 'courage,' defying the henchmen of Ashcroft. It's almost sweet, in a pathetic way."


"Mr. Nordlinger, your irritation reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw this summer in my tony liberal neighborhood in St. Paul, Minn. The bumper sticker read, 'Another Family for Peace.' The arrogance, the vanity, the moral exhibitionism made me want to go home and make a new bumper sticker that read, 'Another Family for War.' At least that might start a few conversations, not end them.

"In turn, this calls to mind Chris Rock's take on people who give themselves credit for holding to basic principles of good behavior. 'These guys say, "I don't beat my kids." Whaddya want? A cookie? You're not supposed to beat your kids!'"


Friends, pay special attention to the last line of this letter:

Mr. Nordlinger,
At my place of business there are probably three of 30 who will vote for Bush. We three try not to antagonize the majority with our clear thinking, but they know where we stand. One of them asked me after one of the debates whether I was still going to vote for Bush. After answering her in the affirmative, I asked why she wouldn't vote for Bush also. She answered that she would not vote for Bush "even if [her] life depended on it." "I know," said I.

No comments: