Thursday, September 30, 2004

For the last month, we've heard that bloggers are the future of media, that the "old media" are dead, that Dan Rather signed the death warrant because he was too arrogant to check his facts. So The Guardian gives a weekly column to right-wing blog god Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds, and right off the bat he gives us two whoppers.

...many have concluded that it's impossible for a Democrat to win the south unless - like Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter - he has southern roots....

But why would that be? It can't be because southerners won't vote for people from outside the south. After all, they happily voted in droves for Ronald Reagan, a Californian transplanted from the midwest. Nor is it likely to be because of "traditional values", since southerners also voted for Bill Clinton, a Democrat whose commitment to monogamy was famously shaky.

Here's the 1992 electoral map. Here's the 1996 electoral map. Southerners voted for Clinton? Er, no, they didn't. Clinton won some Southern states (probably because he's, y'know, Southern), but the GOP dominated the South twice. In his two three-way races, Clinton won a majority (rather than a plurality) of the vote in the South only in his home state of Arkansas (twice) and in Louisiana in '96. (Source.)

...the south's commitment to traditional values is, like Bill Clinton's, less strong than many might believe. Dayton, Tennessee - home of the Scopes "monkey trial", depicted entertainingly in Inherit the Wind, and more accurately in Ed Larson's book, A Summer for the Gods, - recently sponsored a "Gay Day" after overturning local anti-gay legislation.

Did Reynolds even read his own link? Let's start at the end: Yes, county commissioners overturned anti-gay legislation -- but what they overturned was legislation

to ban homosexuals and have them arrested for "crimes against nature." ...

Although commissioner J.C. Fugate clearly explained his motion to ban gays in March, members of the panel have since said they thought their first vote was only to show support for state lawmakers banning same-sex marriages.

Very pro-gay of them.

And did the local government actually sponsor Gay Day? Hell, no -- as this story notes, it was put together by a local lesbian and a team of volunteers. (The story also makes clear that the county commissioners almost certainly overturned their own vote only because they were embarrassed by the bad publicity.)

If the gate-storming Rather-haters can't do better than this, I think we're going to need the old media a little longer.

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