There are none so blind as those paid to see only what they want to

I really, really shouldn’t read Oliver Willis. While he’s usually good for some laughs, sometimes I fear the stupidity might be contagious.

Now, to assure myself that I haven’t succumbed yet, I’m going to cite a concrete example.

Yesterday, Cousin Oliver (a nickname in honor of Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch, one of the most annoying characters in television history) put forth his “thoughts” on Judge (soon to be Justice) Samuel Alito and blogs. Ollie just blithely states that Alito needed to be stopped from assuming the bench, but never bothered to spell out why — not even a cursory link to a previous piece where he or someone else made the case against him.

But that’s just the appetizer.

He says that the Democrats need to stop seeing “blogs as an ATM and not yet a part of their message machine.” Apparently he missed the wet, sloppy kiss Massachusetts’ senators gave the blogosphere when they tried to pull of a filibuster on Monday.

But the really, really fun part of the meal is when he draws his conclusion:

Why? For the same reason the national Democrats have been getting rolled – they’re fat and dumb and playing the game by the rules of the ancient.

Mr. Pot? Mr. Kettle is on the line.

Look back just one entry on Mr. Willis’ site, and you will see him virulently denouncing an invitation to a GOP fund-raiser. Ollie is incensed that people would even consider using Jesse “Shakedown” Jackson as inspiration for a pinata.

But the funny thing is, it was a scam. A gag. Utterly bogus.

Let’s see. Oliver Willis works for Media Matters, Media Matters (funded by convicted felon George Soros) proclaims itself as a media watchdog, looking for lies, misrepresentations, incomplete stories, and signs of bias in the press — as long as it’s from the Right. Ollie is one of their prize employees.

And he himself got rolled on this one. Even more delightful, he posted this at 3:30 on Monday afternoon — most likely while sitting at his desk at Media Matters. He fell for a lie while getting paid to expose lies.

One of the earliest lessons I learned was that the more a story seems to fit your own beliefs, prejudices, opinions, or preconceived notions, the more you need to check it. Because it’s human nature to accept that which supports you, and to suspect that which contradicts you. It’s the core of most scams — tell people what they want to hear, and they’ll be more likely to believe it. It’s a truism that our opinion of someone’s intelligence is often influenced by how much they agree with us.

In one area, though, I have to give Ollie credit. He didn’t pull a Kos and try to bury his mistake, like the infamous “screw them” incident. He owned up to it — sort of. He now says that it “may be a hoax.”

Cue the “fake, but accurate” meme in 3, 2, 1…

While the watchdogs slept
Did Kennedy Molest Alito's Wife?

22 Comments

  1. OregonMuse January 31, 2006
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