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David Roberts @drvox
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Oh, look, a) the right made a bullshit charge, b) earnest journalists spent hours fact-checking it, c) it turns out to be bullshit, d) not a single person on the right will drop it, e) it will be effective anyway. Welcome to politics 2018. bostonglobe.com/news/nation/20…
This "Pocahontas" crap w/ Warren is a perfect test case for tribal epistemology. The challenge is not determining whether it's true. It's clearly not. The challenge is making the fact that it's false *matter*. Will its truth value play any role at all in Warren's political fate?
Imagine two worlds, identical in every way, except: in one, the charge against Warren is true; in the other, it is false.

Now, think about how the politics play out in those two worlds. Is there any difference at all? Is the truth value of the claim connected to anything?
If you believe, as I'm beginning to, that there is no difference b/t those worlds -- that the truth value of political claims no longer bears any relation to their political effects -- well, that's I mean when I bang on about "post-truth politics."
People always ask what we can do about it, and I don't really know. On the right, I don't think there's any real constituency for truth any more. I doubt there's a single person using the Pocahontas bit that *cares* whether it's true; that's beside the point. It works.
Journos don't seem to know what to do beyond these earnest fact checks, which only to serve to spread the smear.
The only thing I can really think of that might work is if an attack like this were met with immediate *scorn*. Not earnest, harrumphing rebuttals, but scorn. Contempt. People who use this attack won't be dissuaded by refutation, but they might be by social censure.
But then the Q is, scorn from who? Social censure from who? Journalists see that, rightly or wrongly, as not their place - they feel duty-bound to treat all claims as made in good faith. Dems? I wish. They're still mostly scared of their shadows, pathetically easy to gaslight.
These are schoolyard bullies, basically, full of belligerence & bravado but, like all bullies, cowards. They will stop doing this crap if doing it gets them (figuratively) swatted upside the head. Factchecking *will never have that effect*. Ever.
The question is, swatted by who? Every institution that might have some ability to constrain the lunatic right has allowed itself to be played by their whining victim shtick. We're watching it happen all over again, w/ Facebook & Twitter, right before our very eyes.
The left doesn't scorn opponents. Instead, in a pathetic attempt to impress ... who, exactly? ... *it scorns its own*. Thus we see AOC scolded & lectured by a dozen (white male) lefties for misstating how unemployment works ... even as the president is hosting QAnon wackos.
It comes back to the same unsavory choice: if you're playing in a game & there are no longer any penalties for breaking the rules ... do you try to fix the game? Or do you start breaking the rules too, doing whatever is necessary to win? The left seems unable to embrace either.
And so -- to bring this unplanned, wandering thread back home -- let's watch how the "Pocahontas" thing plays out. In being so false, racist, & *silly*, it's a kind of ideal test case. Can the right still jerk all of US political culture around, at will? We shall see. </fin>
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