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All the President’s Spokesmen (and women)

All the President’s Spokesmen (and women)

Party apparatchiks sticking relentlessly to message in the face of mockery.

Obama spokespeople Marie Harf and Jen Psaki have come in for a certain amount of ridicule lately, as well as Josh Earnest and Jay Carney before him. But I admit to a sneaking sort of awe of what they do, although it’s not a good sort of awe.

People are fond of saying that Harf or Psaki are airheads, for example. I beg to differ. What they are—and what all on that list are—is loyal party apparatchiks with a fair amount of facility (some more than others) at keeping their stories and talking points straight, firing off a flurry of glib words to get those points across, and sticking relentlessly to message in the face of some difficult questions and no small amount of mockery and potential embarrassment.

They are buoyed and driven not only by personal ambition, but also by their dedication to whatever they think their party and their boss stand for, so much so that they believe that manufacturing spin and telling some lies in the service of that spin are noble callings. This accounts for their triumph over any lingering shame they might feel. As with Winston Smith’s interlocutor O’Brien, they not only say that 2 + 2 = 5, but they come to actually believe that on a certain level it’s true as soon as they decide to say it.

It also takes a certain amount of skill to learn so much information each day in order to get the administration’s stories straight and to rattle off the responses without getting rattled. And if the responses are lies, coverup, and/or spin, so much the more difficult, because it’s harder to keep a pack of lies straight than it is to tell the truth. Yes, they get better at it over time, and some people have a special facility for it. But I still believe it isn’t easy just to keep up with the sheer pace of information overload.

Does this mean I have sympathy for their plight? Not really. I don’t even think they see it as a plight; I think they consider they’ve got a fabulous job in the service of a wonderful president, doing wonderful things. A little ridicule rolls off their backs. Although I did always see something in Jay Carney’s eyes—or did I imagine it?—some mild sense of shame that I haven’t spied in the physiognomy of any of the others. Perhaps it’s just that I remember this:

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Not A Member of Any Organized Political | February 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm

I think this applies to the party fraud. Hat Tip to Rags in a thread downstream.

‘Theodore Dalrymple: Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

The Big Lie is a well-recognized tactic. It is intended to be corrosive to public discourse.

So are you saying that they’re crazy as well as evil, or that they’re evil because they’re crazy?

Their tactic is a common one among Liberals, say something so ridiculously inane that the listener is baffled into astonished silence.

Relentlessly sticking to an absurd message is not a sign of desperation, it’s a necessary step in the process of brainwashing people. They have a compliant and willing press. They’ll just keep saying it and saying it and saying it until people with sense give up trying to point out the absurdity. At that point, the absurd message is promoted to a found truth, forever to be referred to as such within the greater movement.

In politics, a noble lie is a myth or untruth, often, but not invariably, of a religious nature, knowingly told by an elite to maintain social harmony or to advance an agenda. The noble lie is a concept originated by Plato as described in the Republic.

Useful idiocy taken to it’s highest level. Artistry, really.

I’ve been watching Russian media closely lately. And yes, they do take the prominence of ladies like Harf and Psaki as a proof that Americans are dumb (a common stereotype, but, hey, try to prove them wrong). They also called that Harf is the new Psaki awhile ago when Harf was called to sub for Psaki once – or something like that.