Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Thursday, August 24, 2017

There Will Always Be a Stupid Tweet

Just want to make a quick observation about this series of tweets:

Barro is a smart enough guy that he understands why a ban on plastic water bottles might be a good thing. He's just irritated that someone used over-the-top rhetoric to criticize his original complaint. (Over-the-top because plastic water bottles create unsightly litter but aren't otherwise destroying the planet.)

The background here is that the Trump administration is getting rid of a ban on selling disposable plastic water bottles in national parks, and there have been some allegations that this is because a Trump appointee lobbied for one of the biggest sellers of bottled water.

Anyway my observation is that Barro's umbrage here bears striking similarity to what you might call the "Fox News strategy." No matter how dire the news is for Trump or conservatives generally, it is always—always—possible to dredge up some idiotic college professor or liberal activist to say something ridiculous. So Fox News will never lack for content that is embarrassing to liberals and that drives people to vote Republican. To me it seems crazy to pin this on "the Democrats" when really it simply reflects that in a nation of 320,000,000 people, it is not that hard to find someone to say something ridiculous.

And similarly, stupid tweets are an inexhaustible resource. To take the particularly stupid ones and use them as a cudgel against the Democrats is a strange thing to do. (I am not talking here about harassment or truly over-the-line tweets. When liberals engage in that kind of behavior, they deserve to be criticized and driven away from the movement and the party.)

All of that said... you can't deny that Fox is effective at what it does, and people like Barro (who is by no means a conservative provocateur) seem to resonate to the same frequency. So broadly speaking, we may have a problem, though I don't think it's the one Barro has identified.

UPDATE: It appears a succinct version of this argument played out on Twitter.