Tea Party darling and Iowa delegate to the US House of Representatives Steve King has refused to publicly debate Jim Mowrer until the Democrat’s campaign stops running a “misleading” advertisement against him. According to the Sioux City Journal, King withdrew from a Sunday debate on Iowa Public Television over a television ad that alleges he voted against increasing the minimum wage and for increasing congressional compensation. King denies that he ever “voted to raise his pay or get free health care. “When Mowrer comes clean, I’ll clear my schedule for Sunday and debate him,” King told the Journal. Until then, voters can just sit tight and work with the information they have.
Miracle Mike Sebba sent me this beautiful graph with the caveat that it might be fake, and sadly it did not really air on Fox News. By “sadly,” I guess I mean “fortunately,” since in theory we are against misleading people. That’s why we’re so angry at Fox. The image above, with its y-axis reversed and crammed into the bottom half of the graph, is a fake issuing from the bowels of the internet. Don’t read too much of that Reddit thread, lest you encounter people who argue that it’s still a downward-trending line “even if you flip the numbers,” plus people who, after they know it’s fake, continue to decry Fox News for airing it. The point is that Fox News tricks people, even if you have to trick people into understanding that.
As a lazy, dishonest person, I appreciate the value of shame. Take this blog: were it not for the literally several of you who expect a post each weekday, I would probably wake up early and excuse myself from writing almost every morning. Fortunately, I find time in the day to do that anyway, but my point is that shame is a powerful motivator—for me, at least, and I suspect for a lot of other people, too. One of the aspects of conservative orthodoxy I actually agree with is that our contemporary culture exerts dangerously low amounts of shame. I totally disagree with conservatives about where that shame should be placed; we still exert way too much shame on gay people and immigrants, for example. That’s valuable shame that could be more effectively directed elsewhere. Maybe, as Thomas Edsall suggests in the Times, we could redirect our shame at people who make obviously false and/or misleading statements to the general public. Earlier generations called such statements lies.