On Monday, the Washington Post ran an article about how Internet rumors are effecting Barack Obama's chances in the upcoming general election. Since they chose us as the means to present their story, the local paper picked it up yesterday and ran it on their own front page - but they also ran the real story beside it. Additionally, they had an editorial about the whole thing, and a number of letters to the editor. (Ah, the digital age, where you can receive letters from everywhere the same day ...)
I won't repeat the story. If you haven't heard it yet, you can click the various links. Both stories are a bit long of course, but you really have to read both. (And if you're asking - I did look around the Washington Post's website to try to get the story straight from them, but couldn't find any link to archived stories. I'm sure it must be there somewhere, but they sure don't make it easy to find.)
Yes, I did say "sadly" back there, the fact that they could practically make up a story like this in order to advance their agenda is well beyond "disappointing". Okay, I don't read the Post - and after this I'm certainly not going to start - but I have heard some of their stories quoted on radio and television. And while I recognized that they were basically one-sided, I still figured that they must have some amount of journalistic integrity ... apparently I was seriously mistaken.
Equally sad is that anybody believed them. We're not exactly some little hicktown, we do get cable here. We've heard all about these rumors - as much from television as anywhere else - and the real facts. Personally, it wouldn't matter to me if Obama was a muslim - in fact, I would probably be more likely to vote for him if he were, but that's me. The fact he's black, and his father was a muslim - he didn't choose either one of those, it doesn't tell me anything about his character. Like most people, I want to vote for someone I can believe in, and race, sex, religious affiliation, and age really don't mean anything. (Not that I'm claiming most people in town are like me - that would be really boring - but we're not living in the stone age here.)
Worst of all is those people who not only believed the story, but somehow believed they could do something about it. I'm sure that by now all of those people mentioned on College Street who didn't already have an unlisted phone number have changed that. And those letter from Columbus and from Washington? Completely incredible.
So here you have a liberal, big-city paper telling their readers pretty much what they want to believe - is there no critical thinking left in this country?
I guess I'll never understand politics. There's two groups of people - no, not the Democrats and the Republicans, but the true believers and the rest of us. The "party faithful" their called, they believe what they want to believe, and think they can win everyone else over based solely on the strength of their convictions. And then of course, anyone who doesn't agree with them is short-sighted or downright neanderthal. Well, sorry, some of us need more.
Then again, there's a lot of people locally who were "on the fence" who would now have made up their mind. Yes, that's right, thanks to the Washington Post the odds of people in Flag City, USA voting for Barack Obama have gone down substantially. With friends like the Washington Post, who needs enemies?
(I know some of you are saying "Okay Steve, so after those nice words earlier, you're voting for McCain because of some hatchet job by the Washington Post not even related to Obama as a person." Wrong, on both counts. I made up my mind some time ago, this has no impact on how I'm going to vote. You see, I'm a Libertarian, I'm voting for Bob Barr, but he's not going to win locally either - short of some miracle.)