Tuesday, July 19, 2005


A good long while ago the Poor Man had an excellent post about what drives people to listen to Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, the National Review, Powerline, Newsmax, etc., and to continue to listen to these people despite being lied to consistently over the course of many years.

For a great many people, the problem simply has to do with not wanting to feel like a huge chump. Now, in a rational world, a desire not to feel like a huge chump would not motivate people to continually get chumped over and over by the same set of people. However, we recall here that the easiest (though not the best) way to avoid feeling like a chump is to simply ignore all evidence that one has been chumped.

Part of the genius of the ConWeb is the constant encouragement they give their readers/viewers/listeners to simply ignore and/or forget the obvious and myriad ways in which they have been clearly chumped by the ConWeb. It's a great system, but one would imagine it would be somewhat fragile.

What if, for example, an issue were to arise that was so important to the ConWeb that its luminaries were forced to beat their audience over the head with the fact that they were being chumped, even in real time?

Well, apparently at least some sizable percentage of this population posesses powers of chumpification that exceed anything I could have ever imagined. Consider if you will this embarrassing fact from a recent Gallup poll - in 2003, 91 percent of people thought that whoever had outed a CIA operative should lose his or her job. The number now is still a large majority - 76%. But what happened during the last two years to change the minds of those 15%?

What happened, of course, is that the media outlets these folks listen to have succeeded in convinving these folks that in fact the outing of a CIA operative for partisan political gain is no big deal. And really, not only have they convinced these folks to feel this way, but they've convinced them that they felt that way all along. My guess is that you could not find a single person who would admit to having changed his or her mind on the question, yet we see clearly in the numbers that millions of people have done just that.

After this scandals comes to its conclusion, no matter what becomes of the scandal, it will be highly likely in my mind that these 15% of Americans will never accept that they have been chumped. Just like the folks that still insist that the U.S. really was winning the Vietnam War until lily-livered liberals secretly took the starch out of Nixon's underwear, or those who will still swear on a stack of Bibles that Watergate was just some cheap Democratic frame-up, the minds of these people are impervious to fact.

Come to think of it, I guess those are probably all pretty much the same people.


1 comment:

RBP said...

Question: John Roberts - Chump or not? (I know off topic, but I just watched the official announcement)
Quick reaction from tv pundits - he'll be confirmed. My own personal feeling is the "gang of fourteen" will not hold this guy up, but it's early yet.