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Reality Check: Linda Douglass the Magician’s Assistant

John on August 12, 2009 at 11:55 pm

We’re responding to the White House response with a Reality Check site of our own. More on that below, but first I want to say something about Linda Douglass and the White House “Reality Check” site.

Linda Douglass appeared on Howard Kurtz show on CNN. He asked her why she decided to respond to the Naked Emperor News clip. Here’s what she said:

YouTube Preview Image

Here’s the meat of her response:

[T]his was a bunch of clips that were taken out of context with a headline that said the President wants to eliminate private insurance. Well that is the absolute opposite of what he’s talking about…They took pieces of soundbites from different periods of time. They put a chyron on the screen…to go along with these soundbites that they’d cobbled together. And our point is that he’s saying exactly the opposite

First, she’s laying it on pretty thick that these clips have been (gasp!) edited. Uh, yeah, and guess what, Linda. Someone edited that clip you did too. It also contained soundbites to make a point. So what?

What Linda’s really trying to do here is help her boss shove a rabbit, or better yet a fish, back in a hat. She says there’s something “fishy” about those clips without ever really identifying what that is. But no matter, she wants us to redirect our attention…Don’t look over here at those old clips, America, look over here at these shiny new ones!

But a bad assistant just ends up drawing attention to the trick. To be blunt, Linda Douglass is not very good at this. That’s not necessarily a slam either. In fact, given that she was a reporter for most of her career, maybe it’s something of a compliment that sleight-of-hand doesn’t seem to come naturally to her. Howard Kurtz notices too and spends the end of his interview asking her what it’s like to go from reporter to paid flak.

Second point, if you want to see the trick, don’t pay attention to the assistant. Watch the magician.

To make the trick work, Obama has to misdirect the attention of at least half of America with talk about “choice and competition.” And let’s just admit that Barack Obama is a very good magician. He’s so good he doesn’t need a wand, just a teleprompter and a few thousand union guys willing to get in people’s faces and “punch back twice as hard.”

But here’s the thing…In the end it’s still just a trick.

Obama doesn’t have any real magic. If recent polls are any indication, Americans are beginning to get that. And thank goodness the thrall America has been in is waning. It’s a good thing that people aren’t easily fooled by a charismatic orator. It’s a good thing that Obama’s (and his party’s) latest trick — trying to turn concerned citizens into a seething mob — seems to be backfiring. Not good for Obama, but good for democracy.

But we don’t have any magic either. What we do have is the truth and some spare time. With that in mind, we’ve created a response to the White House response. We borrowed the style from the (public domain) White House site. But the content is quite a bit different. We’re calling it VS Reality Check. Have a look and don’t forget to check out the FAQ page. Send it to a few people you know so they can hear another perspective as well. But don’t bother sending it to – we already turned ourselves in.

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Category: Politics |

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