Letters to the Editor

It’s the season of half-truths and political posturing | Letter to the Editor

Ah, the quadrennial political dance begins!

Partisans from the Republican/Fox News corner square off with those from the Democratic/progressive talk radio ranks to score the most political points with the folks who will really decide the November presidential elections: young and elderly voters, specific ethnic constituencies and political independents.

The opinion piece in The Beachcomber by Sen. Sharon Nelson (“Gamesmanship brings gridlock to Olympia,” March 21), countered by the letter to the editor by Anne Peck (“GOP is not the cause of polarization,” April 4) are great examples. Each quotes selective “facts” that support the talking points of their respective political positions, in the hopes of creating a persuasive political narrative and sway the undecided. It’s a time-honored American advertising, sales and electioneering strategy. Nothing wrong with that. The hard-core believers of the two major parties are so evenly divided that they need to do whatever they can to bring the marginally informed, wavering and undecided over to their side.

Get ready for seven months of endless political posturing, half-truths, statistical dueling and outright “pants on fire” fabrications.

Fortunately, there are a few reasonably objective fact-checking sources to help keep things straight. Websites like FactCheck (www.factcheck.org) and Politifact (www.politifact.com) have pretty good reputations for sorting the factual wheat from the rhetorical chaff, so to speak. Of course, hard-core partisans hate these websites, as well as any attempt at fact-checking by the local media. It blunts their talking points, dilutes their narrative and reduces the electability of their respective candidates. That’s bad for “closing the sale” to the marginally informed, wavering and undecided.

For that reason alone, it would be great to see more fact-checking by local media of political hyperbole that appear in their publications, including perhaps (dare I say it) The Beachcomber.

Finally, this might be a good time to recall the profound bumper sticker mantra: “Don’t Believe Everything You Think.” Perhaps adding, “and only the corroborated parts of what you hear, see and read.”

Let the games begin!


— Buzz Blick


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