Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole - Fluffy Bunny and the Progressive Media

During the week, the lovely Mrs. Claire and I baby-sat our friend's beautiful little girl overnight. She's at the age where she wants to know what everything is. She gets this curious little look on her face, points at something, and asks "wassat?" This goes on for most of the day, kind of like a Joe Biden foreign policy briefing, only she has a better grasp on retaining knowledge accurately. She also, like Joe Biden, has her favourite story books, and will swat away anything new that has too many words and not enough pictures.

One of these books was a simple enough tale about a fluffy bunny who loved carrots. This velveteen sybarite loved carrots so much he one day found he could no longer enter his rabbit hole. TLC would have been all over it, but fluffy bunny, in a moment of keen introspection, decided to cut back on the carrots, up his cardio, and he was fit as a fiddle in no time. Soon he was able to frolic and play with his friends again. Now, this may all seem innocent enough, but I'll bet my fluffy little tail that when she hits 12, the very same people who told her it was not ok to be bigger or different when she younger will make a whip-lash inducing value change and start lecturing her about how the fashion industry sets unrealistic standards of beauty by filling magazines with emaciated models, and that being heavier is just fine and dandy. By the time she is 16, these busy little fascists will have her dabbling in vegetarianism; Now they're telling her that bigger is not ok again, because McDonalds is evil, and people are too stupid know that eating there every day will make you fat and the government needs to get involved (did you know the same advocacy group who is suing many fast food outlets for using trans fats is the very same organization that forced and bullied them into using trans fats in the first place because they claimed it was healthier?).

Well, believe it or not, despite the fact that the morons at PETA call feeding your kids McDonalds "child abuse", our friend's little munchkin (gasp!!) has McDonald's from time to time, and guess what? She's healthy, active, and is an ideal weight. Do you know why? Because her parents aren't stupid. They know feeding their child fast food every week would make her sick, and they don't need the government to tell them so. Isn't that something? They don't need giant warning signs on the side of every kid's meal telling them that the cheeseburger and fries inside are high in fat and calories. Their functioning brains already know this, so McDonalds is a treat maybe once a month.

Another curious thing happened during the various readings of Fluffy Bunny. Little Karlee, on the third or so reading, began to flip the pages back and forth repeatedly. In a neat little flash of her cognitive development on display, she frantically pointed out that there were only carrots on the first and last page of the book. She might not quite grasp why fluffy bunny came close to appearing on Dr. Phil yet, but she was able to spot that something was wrong. Lots of carrots, no carrots, then just one carrot. Like the magically reappearing carrot, messages about food and body image will change as little Karlee grows up. They will be told by the same people - liberal educators, celebrities and the progressive media - and the message will always be garbled and changing with whatever is in vogue at the time.

Remember the guy from Supersize Me? A documentary filmmaker named Morgan Spurlock made a splash by going on a 30 day, 3 meal a day McDonalds binge. It was just the sort of propaganda tool the progressive food Nazi's needed to force McDonalds to put items on the menu that nobody wanted. McDonalds became more expensive, and even stopped the practice of super-sizing in some regions - an option, by the way, which was only offered to Spurlock 9 times out of his 90 meals. Seems to lend a certain irony to the title of his movie, don't you think? It also turns out that Spurlock's nutritional facts are under fire. In a rebuttal documentary called "Fat Head", Tom Noughton exposes that the numbers provided in Supersize Me don't add up. Spurlock claimed to have eaten over 5000 calories per day, a feat that was impossible based on what Spurlock consumed during the movie. Noughton did the math, and even with three supersized meals a day at Mcdonald's with dessert thrown in, he showed it's impossible to reach the 5000 calorie goal.

What few people know is that the impending lawsuit against McDonalds shown in Supersize Me failed, and Morgan Spurlock is refusing to release his famous "food journal" to prove his 5000 calorie diet claim. In addition, like the hapless and evasive McDonalds executives he harassed in his film, now Spurlock has lawyered up, and is not answering calls or requests for meetings.

But Supersize Me is just one of the many faux-exposes that the progressive establishment does best. It's post-reporting slight of hand that has become so polished and fine tuned by the likes of Jon Stewart that you if you blink, you'll miss how Stewart's decided what's a "media ready" scandal and what's worthy of belief.

When the President awarded a half million dollar loan to a failing company against the advice of council and warnings from the OMB, and even after he had provided them with a post restructuring 75 million dollar bankruptcy protection umbrella, Stewart hissed on The Daily Show that this was just part of the right-wing media's attempt to make a scandal where there was nothing to see. Really? This specific violation of the Energy Act of 2005 carries a 30 year jail term. That's not news?

Apparently not, but you know what is news, according to folks like MSNBC, CNN, and Jon Stewart? The conservative lobby of the GOP is waging a war on science! This old canard was dusted off for re-use after former Governor Jon Huntsman, in an attempt to try reviving his campaign after a dismal performance at the August 11th debate in Ames, Iowa, tweeted "To be clear. I believe in evolution... Call me crazy." Really? So do 76% of Republican voters. Who cares what a bottom of the pack candidate with a 2% approval rating feels about evolution? The federal government doesn't mandate policy on the teaching of evolution. It worked though, with cyber rags like the Huffpo, where callow old liberals go to die, declaring Huntsman a brave dissenter from bourgeois norms. The usually hilarious Mike Polk Jr. even chimed in, huffing "Jon Huntsman has sabotaged his Republican primary run and rendered himself thoroughly unelectable by acknowledging the existence of science."  Don't get me wrong, I believe Polk is probably the funniest comedian of my generation (click here, here, and here), but for someone who has blogged about how people are so easily led by the nose from the media, he was quick to jump on the Huntsman/science bandwagon, a story that has no genesis except for a banal tweet from a virtually unknown candidate. Huntsman also believes life begins at conception, so if you believe that Jon Huntsman is getting a bum rap because "he believes in science", then I am so very pleased to welcome all you liberals to the pro-life movement. Thank you for finally coming around. Ahhhh - but that doesn't fit into your neat little narrative, does it? So, you just leave it out. Just like you chose to ignore that President Obama vocally opposed gay marriage on the campaign trail because it conflicted with his Christian beliefs.

Like those who write books about Fluffy Bunny's carrot consumption, they feel no need to adjust the narrative to fit with the changing facts, because no one ever points out the train of logic's central fallacy. The media are also masters at the game of making people believe that they actually don't believe what the sensationalist media is telling them.

Little Karlee was quick to pick up on the subtle absence of carrots by flipping a few pages. She sensed something was off, looked at what little evidence was before her, and came to a conclusion based on the facts. How many people who believe the "War on Science" tubthumping ever took a moment to click their computer mouse a few times to check Governer Huntsman's record to see if Mr. "Call me Crazy" was at least consistent on issues relating to this belief (not that they're even relevant)? This is an election about the economy, and not one Republicans are ready to hand over to a guy who can barely muster enough excitement to grab more than 2% of the vote. Latte liberals have a lot more resources than little Karlee, but that only touches on the grander point.

Celebrities, comedians, and just about all of my liberal friends who think they are so much more clever than the rest of us love to beat the science issue to death, yet not one of them could tell me at what percentage Huntsman was polling before the Ames debate, or before his famous tweet even became an issue. That's because folks like Jon Stewart taught a generation of college students that it's better to be clever and ill-informed with a smug sense of superiority than to know where all those carrots went.