In a move of such metacritical complexity that it may threaten the space-time continuum, the New York Times reports that a Pew Research Center survey found that stories about the so-called Ground Zero Mosque constituted 45% of straight news on cable and radio. I personally look forward to the day when the Times is composed entirely of news reports on statistical surveys of the contents of the news, and Combat! blog can comment on them. Overall, the GZM story accounted for 15% of total newspaper, television and radio coverage, an entity that Pew amusingly refers to as the “newshole.”
In this era of internet journalism and, I dunno, social networking and stuff, it’s easy to just get one side of a story. Were it not for my ironic readings of Tea Party Nation newsletters, Ross “Defense of Racism” Douthat and World Net Daily, my understanding of world events would be entirely dictated by the New York Times and Andrew Sullivan. That’s hardly a balanced scale, and I suspect that my weighing of certain issues has been less than accurate as a result. But say what you will about the internet—seriously, say whatever the hell you want—a little digging will usually give you the mirror image of what you just learned. This Friday’s link roundup is chock full of instances when the internet refutes itself, exposing the stupidity of the self-published and smugly answering the rhetorical questions of the stupid. We’ve also got Juggalos so, you know, buckle up.
Let’s quickly make a distinction about the word “perfect” above: I don’t mean “good politics,” so much as “politics untainted by any element of government.” The Ground Zero Mosque—located two blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center, and therefore separated from that hallowed ground only by the Ground Zero Chinese Takeout Place, the Ground Zero Strip Club and the Ground Zero Dunkin’ Donuts—will be built on private property. No governing body, from the City of New York City to the executive branch of the United States, can actually stop it. Yet politicians across the country have announced their opposition to its construction as if they could do something about it. One suspects that it’s precisely because they can’t.
Yesterday, Sarah Palin risked the loyalty of her constituents by announcing her opposition to a planned mosque at Ground Zero, via Twitter. She’s since deleted that post, for reasons the foregoing article makes obvious, but here’s her original tweet:
Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.
“Refudiate” is, of course, not a word. It seems to be a concatenation of “refute” and “repudiate,” or just a one-letter typo, although Palin’s subsequent defense (see below) suggests the former. The commentariat regards her use of “refudiate” as a gaffe, and they’re having a pretty good time with it. As is often the case, though, Palin is stupid like a fox. It’s a good thing “refudiate” is in that tweet, because it distracts from the rest of it—and you know what that means. When meaning tries to hide behind language, and also when the Combat! blog headline has “close reading” in it, it’s time for another Close Reading.