14 Comments
Feb 7Liked by Parker Molloy

I've been suspicious of those few-words, ellipses-riddled movie blurbs since I was a kid, and I'm feeling so vindicated right now.

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Feb 7Liked by Parker Molloy

Good newsletter today, Parker.

That technique Stefanik used is a further advancement of the "Unwinnable Question" that Republicans have been weaponizing for years, most notably with the legal wild goose chase that ended with Bill Clinton getting impeached for a bj.

For those unfamiliar with the journalism trope of the "Unwinnable Question," it's classic context is in the guise of a "reporter" springing this question on a politician at the most inopportune moment: "When did you stop beating your spouse?"

If the politician immediately retorts "I've never…" the hack jumps in with "So you're still beating your spouse?" Of course, almost every other answer the politician gives has context - and therefore, can also be immediately weaponized against them. Even if a politician or other public figure stays mute when that kind of question is tossed at them, the asking of the question is often used to smear them.

Hence, why it's called the "Unwinnable Question."

The only kind of media folks who ask such questions are trash. It's an ambush technique designed to generate heat, but never light.

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Insightful stuff as always, Parker. The weaponization of bad-faith omission or distortion of context seems an almost unavoidable outcome in our information-oversaturated, rapid-fire media environment. It doesn’t help at all that mainstream media, far from considering it part of their job to explicitly identify bad faith argumentation and actors, are actually more than happy to be lead around by the nose by these people. One would think that “not being a sucker” would be a matter of professional pride for media elite, but that sense seems all too dull for most.

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"both sides need to figure out how to live in peace with neighbors they don’t necessarily like"

Sure, you can say that's simplistic, but it's also true that it's the only thing that has ever worked for conflicts like this throughout all of human history.

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I love this article, and I agree with everything in principle.

But. The thing about the specific catch phrases--"From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" and "Globalize the Intifada"--is that, every Jewish scholar I know (which, admittedly, is not all of them... but it's a lot) argues that, historically, these are statements made in the broader context of killing Jews and dismantling the state of Israel.

Another point I've seen about this is that of an analogy by way of "Blue Lives Matter": of course the people saying it deny it has anything to do with extrajudicial killing of nonwhite people, but it's still viewed as racist by pretty much everyone else, because the targets of the statement say that it's racist and I believe them.

There is a very, very long history of those two statements targeting Jews. So if Jews say the statements are rooted in antisemitism, I believe them.

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