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Tony Pierce Has Got Me Defending Pajamas Media - Go Figure

| 47 Comments | 4 TrackBacks

There is certainly a lot of criticism floating around about Pajamas Media; personally, I see the business model and execution as sufficient and obvious areas where I'd take different approaches than Pajamas' leadership.

But there are now some pretty outrageous charges being floated (and echoed) concerning the notion that they are some kind of Washington-funded CIA disinformation campaign.

I hate charges like this, because they are irrefutable, reputation-destroying charges aimed at removing people from legitimate dialog, and no one involved in Pajamas deserves that.

Now Tony Pierce is an O.G. blogger here in Los Angeles, and while I read his blog a lot when I was starting out - which was an interesting mix of fantasy concerning his love life and cold fact concerning work, money, and life in L.A.

But now he's joined Joseph Mailiander and Juan Cole - who raised similar, more scurrilous (because more dangerous), charges against the ITM brothers in claiming that Pajamas might, just might be on the government payroll.

Now as far as Pajamas is concerned, I was there at the funding, so to speak. And I absolutely didn't see anyone from Washington D.C. in the room; there was no one there but Chernick and his lawyers.

It's certainly conceivable -if you watch too many movies - that a reclusive Los Angeles centimillionaire would be on the CIA payroll. But somehow I think the CIA tends to work through less colorful channels. because it's certainly more likely that a reclusive Los Angeles centimillionaire saw something that has investment possibility, fit into his view of the world, and had the potential to be exciting.

Tony Pierce could have spent 60 seconds with Google and found out who was funding Pajamas and what he was about. I'm not sure if it is a more interesting fantasy to think otherwise, just laziness, or a desire to stir controversy (and traffic).

But let's put a stake through the heart of this silly claim, and go on to discuss serious issues about blogs, the CIA, and the world in general.

4 TrackBacks

Tracked: December 6, 2005 9:36 PM
Excerpt: I'm half way through this Winds of Change: Tony Pierce Has Got Me Defending Pajamas Media - Go Figure by Armed Liberal. And it's a good read so far, Though I don't know I'd argue the same points or in the same fashion?
Tracked: December 7, 2005 10:34 PM
Excerpt: Is EGO on United States Department of Defense's payroll? Is Tony Pierce fond of conspiracy theories? [Via Pajamas Media Discussion Board.]
Tracked: December 8, 2005 2:45 PM
Excerpt: Winds of Change has a response to the Pajamas Media conspiracy theory posted by Tony Pierce here and that I wrote about here.
Tracked: December 9, 2005 3:00 AM
Excerpt: Notice: I *can* be petty. But unfortunately fortunately blessedly, I’m always under the conviction of you-know-Who. Driving in LA is always an adventure and I had one of those just moments ago. One of the banes of driving here is

47 Comments

Think they have already taken care of their reputation.

I worry that someone could close down or delay the blogs using technical means, especially during the election cycle.

I also wory that someone could brought suit against a blog seeking to stop the blog from operating. The Dems have used this tactic to shut up opponents. How would this effect blogs.

Of course, for True Believers(tm.) this will only be evidence that AL is secretly an employee of the CIA and trying to draw attention away from the REAL disinformation campaign with his own smoke-and-mirrors trickery. Wheels within wheels...

hey bro,

long time, first time...

first of all, if i would have meant CIA i would have said it... and i dont think it's CIA-sponsored. i think pretty clearly it fits into what the Science Board recommended to the DoD which is infiltrate blogs using reliable trusted websites, specifically international ones.

ive been blogging for a long time and im not typically into conspiracy theories but if you read last years Science Board report - at only 100 pages its a quick read, and an interesting one - they suggest going away from MSM and spreading the good news propaganda thru several channels including blogs, websites, emails, and chat rooms.

now i realize how kooky it may sound to say, ah-ha so THATS what they're up to! But come on bro, they fit into pretty much everything the DoD was told to invest in. I dont know any more "reliable" (their word, not mine) websites than LGF and Instapundit - do you? And if you were the DoD and you wanted to take them up on their recommendation - if not the Pajamas, then who? Seriously. Less-trafficked sites? I dont think so.

Further, these people are pro-propaganda. Simon himself admitted on Friday that Pajamas is in the propaganda business "We are indeed in a propaganda war and our primary target is our fellow citizens." wtf am i supposed to conclude from that?

BushCo has been caught corrupting magazines by leaking cia secrets, newspapers by paying off conservative reporters, television by creating prepackaged propaganda ready-to-air, and now foreign press by paying for secret articles to get run written by US military, and their own Defense Dept. gets a 100 page report last year to create a network of "regional web sites aimed at providing open source information..." and 10 months later Open Source Media sprouts up of Righty yes-men funded by a guy who has won a dozen Bush contracts.

so i'm all ears, bro. please set me straight and tell me how silly it is to connect these dots. and while youre at it explain why Tim Blair walked away from it once he saw it close up, and why they're covering US/Iraqi politics from Barcelona when they have two offices here in the states?

until last week i just thought Pajamas was a group of conservatives trying to give Huffington a little competition and im certainly not saying that everyone involved is aware of whats up - but i'm supposed to just sit here as they hire Judy Miller as their keynote and then read Simon proudly admitting that the American Citizen is the target of his propaganda?

Defense Science Board 2004 November report (pdf)

season's greetings,

Tony,

I could use the exact same chain of logic, and quote captured al-Qaeda documents, to charge with equal plausibility that you are on al-Qaeda's payroll.

So your concern is that an organization that has stated its purpose as propagandizing US citizen won't be taken as serious? What are you drunk...the only people you can blame for that is the folks at Pajamas and the Bush administration that has repeatedly been caught paying for good press.

Outrageous and nutty, both in one package Tony. I guess there are no moral limits in undermining your political opponents?

I'll connect the dots between that moral deficiency and the Stalinist purges if you want to see your "logic" in action.

Joe,

these arent captured docs, these are released DoD docs. and i havent handed over prime real estate on my blog to an organization funded by a "crisis management readiness" CEO who is in turn funded by BushCo. and i havent admitted to being in the propaganda game in the wake of a-nother propaganda scandal being revealed.

that seems to be the chain of logic youre missing. intentionally?

Madmatt,

see thats the funny thing. im not "concerned" at all, im simply fascinated that so many smart people, several of whom i respect could be so completely sloppy, foolish, and lack any creativity.

plus theyre going against what the man who they voted for said earlier this year which was "our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet."

anyways, im off to work, as Romey says, thanks for the vine.

but yes, Joe, when you get those captured docs, please do me the favor of putting a flattering picture of me next to the key phrases.

Tony, you forget that I was there when the first contact with Aubrey was made, I was there when the deal was struck, and there was nothing in that process that wasn't consistent with a bunch of starveling entrepeneurs chasing a wealthy investor, and negotiation that centered more about business and economic issues than about ideological ones.

The investor didn't reach out to us; we chased him. How is that consistent with the idea of the government pushing to invest in media?

A.L.

Guys:

This is simple logic. Simply because one person knows another, or is paid by another, does NOT automatically mean that person does the other person's bidding. People are funny that way -- they think for themselves.

Connecting strings of people with money and business relations together is an old game. Pick your conspiracy theory -- JFK, the Titanic, whatever. This type of connect-the-dots thinking might make for a great X-files TV show, but it is at best speculative and at worst ad hominem attacks just to keep from arguing merits.

So Tony, aside from the fact that AL is telling you that it wasn't that way, even if your facts are right your conclusion is pretty unfair to those concerned. And you conclusion is unjustified. As Joe pointed out, if you want to play this game we can have all kinds of fun with it.

But it's one thing to play with ideas kicked around on a blog. It's another to play with people's livlihoods. Personally, if I were you I would be uncomfortable calling somebody "paid off" -- not only does it insult the person (perhaps beyond repair), it also seeks to destroy their credibility in an arugment. I like opposing points of view. Why would I want to work in the gutter like this? If more people want to come play in the world of ideas, it's good for everybody, no matter their motive. Sometimes even paid-off stories can be true and important, right?

Another thing.

I've got a real problem with one blogger trashing another in this fashion. If I wanted to buy a bag of candy and walked into a candy shop, I wouldn't want to hear the owner slandering the other candy shop down the street. Not only would it give me the creeps, it'd make me want to go to the other one instead of staying here.

Tony's chain of logic amounts to this:

  • Show/claim that (pick your entity) has demonstrated interest in open source media/ blogs. If there's any history of said entities paying for good press (which means we're down to: any industry/company, any government, many NGOs), then that must of course be evidence for my specific charge you choose to make about any specific individual in connection with that entity.
  • Show a certain connection, possibly notional, between someone associated in some way with your target and (pick your entity). Really distant, implausible connections are fine. Once did some contract work or any branch of their government if that's your entity, was at a conference with someone, went to school with them... whatever. This, of course, proves direct control by (pick your entity) as an agent.
  • Support for a particular political view is also, of course, proof of a paid-up relationship. The actual details of that person's prior belief system or record of advocacy isn't important. I mean, let's not kid ourselves that this is about the truth.
  • Like we said, don't worry about the need for proof. Say it like you're raising questions, but do it in a way that makes the allegation really clear. If confronted with any inconvenient facts, disclaim that this was your meaning. Then repeat the allegation.
  • If confronted by someone with the complete set of facts at their disposal, pretend you don't hear them and continue to repeat their charges. After all, as Master Goebbels told us, if we do it often enough, people will believe it.
  • For added jollies and irony factor, do all of this and then profess outrage that the target of this unsupported conspiracy-mongering smear is a "propagandist."

This is not the debating approach of a rational or respectable individual.

Roger has - correctly - stated that promulgating the beliefs he had previously blogged about privately amounts to taking one side of a propaganda war (it would be more accurate to say POLEMICAL war) currently raging, for whom the American citizenry is the target.

This is, of course, Tony's M.O. and motivation as well. He just doesn't happen to have the slightest shred of decency re: how he expresses it, or respect for the truth.

Matt, remember how I was talking about the intrinsic malignity of a majority of today's Left...? Welcome to the latest exhibit.

But now he's joined Joseph Mailiander and Juan Cole.....

Joseph didn't post about Iraq the Model, Alex did.

Links here.

...raised similar, more scurrilous (because more dangerous), charges against the ITM brothers in claiming that Pajamas might, just might be on the government payroll.

Oh, puh-leeze. That "dangerous" joke is worn out. The Fadhil's had just returned from a gala party tour of the US which included a personal audience with Bush. How many other Iraqi bloggers have met with Bush, hmmm?

And now the Fadhils are Bathrobe Bloggers, as well. Figures in pretty well with Tony's theory, I'd say.

Form a gang and people on the outside are going to say all sorts of things...

Professor Cole has unravelled yet another piece of Joe Katzman's Zionist plot. One wonders whether AL is feigning ignorance or is merely a pawn...

As for PJ's supposed funders, one must take note that Jim Koshland has a very neo-conish sounding name.

----
I see the business model and execution as sufficient

Did anyone else get visions of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf while reading this?

first of all, if i would have meant CIA i would have said it... and i dont think it's CIA-sponsored. i think pretty clearly it fits into what the Science Board recommended to the DoD which is infiltrate blogs using reliable trusted websites, specifically international ones.

I'll jump in here since a modicum of Tony's comments and certainly the released DOD documents have some basis in reality.

First, an old maxim: Why buy the cow when you can the milk for free?

If you want to know what's really happening, all you have to do is ask. For instance, if you click on my name and go to my website you will see a lovely button on the side that says "Centcom" that will take you directly to the Centcom website where they regularly put up pictures and press releases regarding on going operations and analysis of Islamist statements.

In short time I will also have links to Defense link and a few other sites of interest. You may note on other sites the same links, including such places as Mudville Gazette who has some very nice buttons I intend to use with their permission.

Now, the truth is, I have occasionally linked to stories from both Centcom and Defenselink, among other places around the web. It appears that, shockingly, they can see who linked to their sites because shortly after a link I provided several weeks ago, I received a very nice email from a public affairs officer asking me if I would be willing to put a link to their site as a permanent part of my side bar. No money was offered or asked for in this transaction. Of course, I'm not a big site, but several other sites I visit that have more readership also have these links and actually indicated in posts that they had received similar emails.

And, several of these sites are occasionally linked to or commented on by other larger sites.

What does this mean? As I noted, the DoD does not have to pay for free milk or participate in some conspiratorial like secret funding of websites to implement this plan. And, frankly, I think the recommendations of the Science Board aren't some freaky OMG government conspiracy but very viable recommendations based on a COMMERCIAL model. Case in point, I have also received requests for free linkage from such places as an international text messaging company who was hoping to convince Iraqis and soldiers in theater to contract for their product. They did not offer me any money for this advertisement either but appealed to my care of soldiers to provide some connectivity to their loved ones.

A nice marketing gig if you can make it work. I did not actually apply the linkage because I did not like the answers regarding the program's cost and viability. But, I am sure that some other sites actually took them up on the offer giving them cheap (ie, free) advertisement for their product. You will also note that this site has linux, moveable type and other linkages on it that I am thinking are given for free (no payment) by this site in exchange for using their product.

In short, its an excellent marketing campaign that does not require a huge budget beyond a designer to create appealing icons and buttons and somebody to email requests to specific sites (most of which have their email addresses prominently displayed) or put simple programming in their materials to automate the linkage. With the number of sites and the compounding linkages of those sites from other sites, even if some of that is incestuous to small groups, grows exposure exponentially.

In short, its internet marketing 101. Since the government has insisted on instilling civilian programs in government departments, why is anyone shocked that they would do such a thing?

Further, as noted, while it does not preclude any such possibility of the DoD actually funding or paying for some site that appears to be "civillian" in nature, why would they when again, the milk is free, they have their own websites (or other government websites like VOA) and people are quite willing to link for free because they want to address the content of those other sites or find it interesting?

Finally, I suspect that Pajama media is no such thing as a covert DoD operation because it makes little sense for the military to pay for something, just because its aggregated and centralized when they were already getting pretty decent and friendly exposure from most of these sites which did already link to one another in an informal concept of pajamas media.

However, if Pajamas media is really a covert DoD psyop operation funded with government money, my only question is: Where the hell is my check?

Well, Tex, I guess that means I'm outed then. After all, I'm also the one who introduced Omar & Mohammed to Spirit of America and started the chain of events that wound up with them in the White House (and I never even got any cuff links!!). Seriously - I did. After reading about them and the work Kerry Dupont was doing to get them laptops on Jeff Jarvis' blog, I chased Kerry down and made the connection.

Now I can tell you with absoloute and conclusive certainty that I am not now, and have never been employed in any capacity by any intelligence or other agency involved in military or security affairs (I did get lunch bought for me when I'd done some force-on-force training with LAPD officers, but that's about it). There are people who read this blog who have known be for ten or fifteen years who can vouch for that.

Now it's certainly possible - in a Hollywood screenplay sense - that the brothers were an opportunity trailed by me by ultraclever intelligence operatives. But damn, man. The odds on anything coming of that are just so low they make Lotto tickets look like sure bets.

It's also possible - in the same sense - that after hearing Roger and Charles talk about this reclusive rich guy they'd met at some charity event, that my reaction to kick them in the shins until they called him was somehow programmed into me in my sleep.

But I really don't think so.

And since I am the guy who was - literally - on the scene, I'll suggest that I speak with a little more authority about these things than most people.

A.L.

Why anyone extended the courtesy of metered conversation to Tony Pierce is beyond me?

Technical nitpick:

Millionaire: $1,000,000
Centimillionaire: $10,000
Hectomillionaire: $100,000,000

Reference here

Outted? You miss the point, which was that the idea that the highly public, white-house visiting ITM party boys are in some "danger" because people wonder if they're paid shills for the Occupation or free-lance shills is ludicrous. All any Iraqi in the insurgency has to do is read their blog, for pete's sake, and draw their own obvious conclusion.

Now the US admits paying for favorable stories in the Iraqi press. Surely it's unthinkable, OUTRAGEOUS! to wonder if they do the same on the internets.

It's not all about you, although your immediate focus on yourself and what you know is typical of pro-war Americans. Try to step outside the bubble and see what other people see.

Marc,

I was there when the deal was struck, and there was nothing in that process that wasn't consistent with a bunch of starveling entrepeneurs chasing a wealthy investor, and negotiation that centered more about business and economic issues than about ideological ones.

How many VCs did you three talk to? Who suggested the call to Aubrey? How do you know that was the first contact?

Are these Chernick's own funds? Whose funds are they?

And I absolutely didn't see anyone from Washington D.C. in the room; there was no one there but Chernick and his lawyers.

This seems naive to me. Is that the way you would expect the Pentagon to act?

How do we know that Chernick is not a cut-out and PJM an unwitting front?

I think Tony's conjecture is insightful and answers questions of funding, business model, lack of business experience by the founders, logistics, and queasy launch.

He has a very Occam's friendly theory.

Jerry -

About 15 VC's, about 7 - 8 meetings from New York to SF to LA.

Aubrey was mentioned by Charles as a possibility in a meeting, and I pushed for the contact.

And no, Jerry, I didn't expect there to be an open line to DC during our negotiations, but I have made more than enough deals with enough people acting on their own behalf - and with enough people acting on other's - to have a pretty good flavor of what the different tone of those negotiations is like. Mr. Chernick was negotiating on his own behalf.

Of course, he could have been one of the key conspirators in a shadowy cabal actually running the country, but then again he could have been a giant lizard who hypnotized me into believing he was human as well. Each is about as likely as the other.

A.L.

Having made the introductions for a few of those VC meetings, I can corroborate at least part of that process, including the discussions that ensured when Aubrey first appeared on the scene.

One the other hand, I am in fact a large green space lizard, and since I'm openly in a deal with the CIA's venture fund, I'm also likely an agent of influence for somebody or other.

Thanks to tony and jerry for some of the sillier s*** to cross my desk this week, and that's saying something.

ensured s/b ensued. PIMF...

I'm just a reader but whenever I read 'hey bro' from the opposing viewpoint I get the 'feeling' I'm in for some heavy duty condescending BS, at which time I think to myself what an asinine way to present an argument whereby leading me to the conclusion that the opposing viewpoint can only come from a feeble-minded point of view.

Anyway, how is it possible that the CIA provides 'secret agents' posing as Iraqi bloggers working on behalf of BushCo while at the same time the CIA is conducting its own operational war against BushCo?

No make sense.

The jig is up, Marc. Time for you to come clean about Project Deep Blog, and don't bother with the flimsy "VC meeting" cover. We know all about the ties to Bill Casey... the secret Studebaker Starliner... Simon's razor tipped fedora... even the water fluoridation "initiative."

I dunno. Pajamas sure is flush with mainstream CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP!

Tony (er, tony) had a good ride at first, sucked up to the the web powers, posted pictures of Glenn with fawning praise on Glenn's birthday. Then, as his blog audience tired of his ego-centrism and periodic vulgar rants, his financial situation stagnated, his book didn't get pumped, his love life stalled and his age kept making the drift less like to change any time soon, he started getting angry -- someone else's success was not just unfair but obviously the result of nefarious play. How many times, blog readers, has he said that he's the best writer he knows, that the big names can't write their way out of a paper bag, ... on and on. He's mad. His love-life fantasies continue -- cute when he started, clinical at his age -- but the fantasies have spread and, if plausible enough, have the added advantage of the ultimate payoff: attention again, hits, 'flow,' back to the garden when everything was still possible.

Work it, tony.

Now the US admits paying for favorable stories in the Iraqi press. Surely it's unthinkable, OUTRAGEOUS! to wonder if they do the same on the internets

Why stop there? How do we know Tony Pierce is not being paid by the DNC? How do we know Oliver Willis is not being paid by George Soros? Oops, bad example. Funny thing is these charges - idiotic as they are - may have had more if they were peddled by someone intelligent. As it is, it just sounds like the delusional ravings of a conspiracy nut.

"Connecting the dots" is something children do. Making accusations about anyone's integrity because you "have a hunch" they might be doing something immoral is something even most children can be taught to understand is wrong.

Usually there's something in such strident accusations that's inherent to the accuser. Let's all speculate on what Tony's hiding. How does that feel, Tony?

Okay, I was going to save this for later but...

I am a sooper secret agent. WOC has linked to me several times in the past because I pay them in sooper secret money. I have only done this five times so that my cover will not be blown (also, the sooper secret agency is notoriously slow at reimbursing expenses)...

Some day, Pinky...I will rule the world.

FYI..on the CIA charges of ITM, as a regular reader, I can tell you that those charges showed up there long before the brothers ever showed up at the white house. frankly, I find it interesting that the very people who screamed about the outing (alleged) of Valerie Plame, a desk riding analyst of the CIA, who are so dismissive of the danger to men who actually live in a war zone where other men frequently charge people as being "collaborators" right before they cut their heads off, is so hypocritical, I can't even believe I just saw that treated in such a dismissive manner.

And, I want to know, with all honesty, if they were receiving CIA payments and they are verifiably living in Iraq, they still would have been in danger and you all still would think it is okay to out actual agents in a dangerous situation just so you could prove your "evil Bushco" theories?

The fundamental idiocy here is one we get from lefties a lot: The idea that the validity of what you say depends on who you are. The idea that if I say the sky is blue, and you convince yourself that the CIA paid me to say it (or, to use lefty logic, if you convince yourself that I haven't proven the CIA didn't pay me to say it), well then you've got "proof" that the sky is some other color.

That's not just a little bit wrong; it's definitively wrong.

This stuff is ridiculous in so many ways it's hard to know where to start.

Tony's thesis is even simpler than the thoughtful analysis above.

BushCo = Anything Capitalist or Right Wing or Pro-Iraq War.

Pajamas Media falls under one or more of those categories.

Therefore, BushCo = Pajamas Media.

I had posted about this story on my blog here and Tom responded in the comments. His argument was that his theory is arguably possible.

As I pointed out, yes, it is possible that his conspiracy is true, just as it is possible that in the world of possibilities that Tom describes, Tom is being paid by the DNC.

You miss the point, which was that the idea that the highly public, white-house visiting ITM party boys are in some "danger" because people wonder if they're paid shills for the Occupation or free-lance shills is ludicrous. All any Iraqi in the insurgency has to do is read their blog, for pete's sake, and draw their own obvious conclusion.

Now the US admits paying for favorable stories in the Iraqi press. Surely it's unthinkable, OUTRAGEOUS! to wonder if they do the same on the internets.
=============================================

Yep. It's outrageous...unthinkable, that the US is trying to win a war without firing bullets or dropping bombs.

But what's really outrageous is the fact that if you start from the assumption that all news stories or Iraqi blog posts favorable to the United States were paid for by the CIA, you've immunized yourself from any proof to the contrary and constructed an unassailable fortress of your own preconceptions.

Actually, you are seeing capitalism at its best - keep generating that 'buzz' and trying to drive traffic to your site. It only becomes an issue if you think anyone will actually believe his claims (BDS sufferers excluded).

If you don't like Tony's marketing plan, ignore him and it.

You better shut up about the floridation initiative if you know what's good for you IH.

Umm, not to burst anyone's bubble, even the biggest blogs are mere pimples on the ass of the MSM.

Blogs just don't have enough audience to make a difference at this point. This is a tempest in a teapot.

Look, blogs DID lead the way on the Rathergate story, and good for t'em on that, but the vast, vast majority of Americans simply have no idea what a blog is, nor any interest in reading them.

I think if the CIA and DoD wanted to disseminate propaganda, thay'll keep doing it just as they do now...through the laziness of the MSM.

So, lemme see if I understand this correctly: tony's premise is if a blog's statement is correct, it is actually incorrect because someone might have ponied up money for it? That's a logical fallacy. Why spend so much ink on it when a simple guffaw is sufficient?

That said, I am going to pirate the succinct observation, "they are irrefutable, reputation-destroying charges aimed at removing people from legitimate dialog," because all-too-often I see the pattern.

This is the problem with propaganda. Even if it were effective in the short run, it ends up being counterproductive. When it comes to light that positive news and commentary has been bought, it calls into question other positive coverage.

While I don't agree with most righty bloggers, I doubt most of them, if any, are bought and paid for. But I can't say today that it would be the least bit surprising if some were.

How much of an audience did Armstrong Williams really have? And how influential was that audience? While even the biggest bloggers don't have that large of a readership, many beltway reporters, talking heads, opinion-makers etc admit to being regular readers. If you could buy lots of favorable coverage for cheap, and in the process perhaps enlist some bright people to find some new justifications to gird your talking points...just saying I wouldn't be surprised.

Were I a supporter of the president, I'd be offended that the administration's actions cast reasonable doubt on the motives those who genuinely support him. And I think this is a good example of separating support for the goals you find worthy from reflexive support for whatever tactics are used to accomplish them.

Heh. You know, the funny part is that Juan Cole is the only one of these bloggers I can think of who is definitely on the government payroll.

So I'm a millimillionaire? Sweetness! Tonight, we eat steak!

"VC Meeting"

John Kerry's dog was there?

Word Problems

#40 Matty:

"Propaganda" -- I suspect you (Matty) are taking the first word to mean something like "stuff bought and paid for to push a viewpoint", or possibly "stuff pushed by a power bloc to suit its aims" -- there is also a connotation of creating uncritical acceptance in the listener through frequent repetition, a la Herr Goebbels. But the original root has to do with "propagation" -- to cause to spread -- to extend to a broader area or larger number. No particular evil there.

Regarding the problem word "propaganda", in #12 Joe Katzman wrote:

Roger has - correctly - stated that promulgating the beliefs he had previously blogged about privately amounts to taking one side of a propaganda war (it would be more accurate to say POLEMICAL war) currently raging, for whom the American citizenry is the target.

This is, of course, Tony's M.O. and motivation as well. He just doesn't happen to have the slightest shred of decency re: how he expresses it, or respect for the truth.

Both these words have some problems; they sort of come pre-twisted; and both are applicable across a range of meanings.

"Polemic" and related forms, favored by Joe Katzman? Its roots are from the Greek polemikos, hostile, from polemos, war. So the implicit model for that term is that an argument is a warlike conflict, rather than a Lewis-and_Clark exploration. A heated, or heat-prone, exchange.

And what's the fabled "first casualty in wartime"? Losing the truth to win a shouting match is a constant risk with that model of argumentation.

I'm going to take the chance of getting a little abstruse here. Bear with me if you will. There's a relevant point that Bartley makes in his The Retreat to Commitment, and one I really ought to blog about at some length -- I'll paraphrase and interlineate my thoughts and his to keep this short:

He notices, and I can confirm, that a very popular form of having arguments involves throwing up a claim or a syllogism, having it refuted, and the end result being no change whatsoever in the stance of the claimant.

He points out that if the refutation is sound, and the stance of the claimant is unchanged, the claim or syllogism could not have been a core belief.

I say that this presupposes that both people are really on a level playing field, and are genuinely doing their best to be intellectually honest, and are capable of same, and share enough referents that they can tell when they really do agree about what constitutes proof (and thus refutation).

Hard to do that (explore together) when you're fighting a war. And yes, the double meaning there is intentional.

PS: I see WoC as a place that's noticeably less warlike than many blogs. I continue to be pleasantly surprised by that.

Uh oh! If supporting the Iraq war is propagandizing the US electorate, I must be guilty. I want to be a part of the noble, righteous critics, with their subtle probing... cause everyone else must be those pernicious CIA disinformation plants! Arghh! Take that fascists!

Even Dennis the Menace isn't claiming it's a CIA plot.

I was on the CIA's payroll before it was cool.

Seriously, have you folks read Tony's blog before? This is typical of his idiotic rantics. What else did you expect?

(Complaining that Tony Pierce doesn't make sense is a bit like complaining that Michael Moore is fat -- DUH!)

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