Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

April 23, 2008

The Right-Wing Smear Machine

Filed under: media, politics — Tags: , — codesmithy @ 8:00 am

I’m nearly finished reading “Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics” by Glenn Greenwald. In the book, Greenwald explores how the right-wing effectively markets their candidates and how in reality these candidates bear little to no resemblance to the myths that are propagated about them. On the flip-side, the right-wing is successfully able to smear Democratic candidates with seemingly reckless abandon. The criticism of Democratic candidates is hardly substantive, it involves the endless droning about the same misinformation which is endlessly repeated. Even in supposedly more “respectable” venues, what in more honest days would be called “political gossip,” pundits vapidly ask whether or not such controversies would hurt the candidate in the various election contests.

One must ask: what purpose endlessly chirping and hand-wringing over manufactured issues serve? The discussion certainly isn’t enlightening. What it does aid is the repetition of the lie. Information transmission is not a perfect process. There are still people who believe Marie Antoinette said “let them eat cake” or Columbus proved the world was round. It is not because there is a lack of information to disprove these beliefs, it is the fact these untruths are endless repeated from a multitude of sources and go unquestioned. The power of the right-wing is in setting the agenda. They do this through the Internet (through sites like Drudge, etc.), Radio (Limbaugh, etc.), T.V. (Fox News) and subsequently disseminated through the “liberal” media, often wholesale. One can view how it works in the following video.

Brave New Films post.

There is no rising above this. If the Democrats are interested in winning this November they must insist on holding the Republican candidate to the same standard. This will be particularly challenging because of the way the establishment media is infatuated with John McCain. The only problem with the Democratic primary getting drawn out is that it gives more time for the right-wing smear machine to work without adequately responding as was evidenced in the ABC debate. Democrats need to pick a candidate who will win in November and this is becoming more difficult for either eventual nominee because the right-wing smears are being unmet.

At the end of the day, Democrats need to use their political will-power to put these issues on the table:

  1. McCain was fifth from the bottom in class rank, 894th out of 899.
  2. a sub-par flier, with limited patience for studying aviation manuals.
  3. Crashed his plane THREE times, before shot down and taken prisoner.
  4. Possible/alleged role in Forrestal fire?

The big one is number 4.

From the Daily Kos post:

McCain and the Forrestal’s skipper, Capt. John K. Beling, were warned about the danger of using M-65 1000-lb. bombs manufactured in 1935, which were deemed too dangerous to use during World War II and, later, on B-52 bombers. The fire from the Zuni misfire resulted in the heavy 1000 pounders being knocked loose from the pylons of McCain’s A-4, which were only designed to hold 500-pound bombs.’ WMR further reported, ‘The unstable bombs had a 60-second cook-off threshold in a fire situation and this warning was known to both Beling and McCain prior to the disaster.’

…crewmen aboard the Forrestal have provided additional information about the Forrestal incident. It is believed by many crewmen and those who have investigated the case that McCain deliberately ‘wet-started’ his A-4E to shake up the guy in the plane behind his A-4. ‘Wet-starts’, done either deliberately or accidentally, shoot a large flame from the tail of the aircraft.

In McCain’s case, the ‘wet-start’ apparently ‘cooked off’ and launched the Zuni rocket from the rear F-4 that touched off the explosions and massive fire. The F-4 pilot was reportedly killed in the conflagration.

‘Wet starting’ was apparently a common practice among young ‘hot-dog’ pilots. McCain was quickly transferred to the USS Oriskany (the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred). After the disaster, McCain was shot down over North Vietnam on October 26, 1967.

…informed by knowledgeable sources, including an ex-Navy A-4 pilot, the ‘wet-start game’ was a common occurrence. However, it is between ‘very unlikely’ and ‘impossible’ for the Forrestal ‘wet start’ to have been accidental. ‘Wet starts’ were later rendered impossible by automated engine controls.”

None of this has any of the respectability necessary to make it a mainstream story (yet). However, we need to ask: what was McCain’s role in the Forrestal incident? Did McCain wet start his A-4? Let’s not forget that McCain’s dad was an Admiral in the Navy at this time either. Did he have a role in a cover-up? These are the types insinuations that Democrats are constantly responding too. It is time to throw some mud back. However, unlike the right-wing lies, these issues are actually substantive under any rubric of a “character issue,” but they are not going to become an issue until there is a concerted effort to make them one.

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