[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Saturday, 2012-08-18

A criticism of journalistic ignorance

Filed under: Journalism,Politics — bblackmoor @ 10:41

This is not a political blog entry. I don’t care what your politics are, and I’ve no interest in convincing you to adopt mine. The topic today is not politics, but political journalism.

Richi Jennings (who seems like a nice guy, and whose tech-related articles I typically enjoy) posted an article on Forbes, “Paul Ryan stimulus budget: What would Ayn Rand say?”

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI): Is he a libertarian or just another budget-busting politician? And does he or does he not support government fiscal stimulus?

Um… wait. What? What the..?

First, Paul Ryan is obviously not a libertarian. You may as well ask, “Is he a Klingon?” Uh, no. Clearly not.

Second, Ayn Rand despised libertarians even more than she hated communists. So why would anyone seek Ayn Rand’s opinion on whether someone else is or is not a libertarian? That makes no sense.

Granted, the article is basically a summary of what various pundits are saying about Paul Ryan (and what they say is equally nonsensical), but that doesn’t excuse this bizarrely nonsensical introduction.

I pointed this out to Richi Jennings. He replied,

Lest we forget, the point of OTOH is to sum up what a range of voices are saying on an issue. Whatever your own particular point of view, some of the voices are bound to be ‘wrong’ ;-)

Suggesting Ryan might be a libertarian or that Rand might approve of him if he were is not ‘wrong’, with quotation marks. That implies it’s a matter of opinion. It is flat out blatantly incorrect. “Mars orbits the Moon” kind of incorrect. “Chickens built Stonehenge” kind of incorrect.

People who don’t know the difference between objectivism and libertarianism, and which one Ayn Rand promoted and which one she despised, shouldn’t be using those words in a sentence. You may as well say, “Is Ryan a nihilist? What would Albert Camus say?” (The point being that Ryan is obviously not a nihilist, and that Camus was rather famously not a nihilist, either.)

Here are some other equally nonsensical headlines:

“Is Paul Ryan a dinosaur? What would David Wozney say?”

“Is Paul Ryan a moon of the planet Jupiter? What would Cyrus Reed Teed say?”

“Is Paul Ryan a 19th century geologist and naturalist named Charles Darwin? What would Pat Robertson say?”

Follow-up: Richi Jennings has modified his intro to say, “But is he a libertarian, an objectivist, or just another budget-busting politician?”