Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Direct Introductions

Something Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter said last night, on Olbermann’s Countdown program, got to me.

They were discussing Giuliani’s politicization of 9/11, and the huge disconnect between what first responders and core republican party faithful think of Giuliani’s post attack effectiveness. Many firefighters and workers say Giuliani blew it and did not adequately protect them. But in some sectors west of the Hudson, he’s the golden knight of 9/11.

Alter said,

“The only way the firefighters’ can get their message out is if Mitt Romney, or somebody else, decides to turn it into a negative ad. The media alone will not be able to convey the message that Guiliani did not protect the workers. It will have to be directly introduced into the political bloodstream by one of his political opponents, either in the primaries, or the general election.”

If that's not verbatim, it’s close. You can watch it here, at around 5 minutes in.

I’m afraid Alter is right. I don’t know why he believes so - Keith missed a chance at an interesting follow up question - but I think it goes something like this:

The people who support Giuliani don’t trust the media. It has no credibility with them. They want to hear from leaders evidence for their beliefs, not necessarily truisms. And... negative ads are titillating.

I’m the polar opposite. Anything I hear on a negative ad, regardless of the source, I discount. I question pronouncements from on high. I consider underlying agendas. I still trust in the ability of the 4th Estate to winnow some truth from all the chaff.

What's the big deal, you say? Nothing, except that I'm still occasionally startled by the apparition of the double-headed American beast.


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