Mad Men 2.0

>> Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Certainly, the Internet explosion and the proliferation of news outlets have made uncovering untruths easy. In theory, this should deter institutions and individuals from employing outraged denial. Yet the opposite is true.

Thanks to so many news sources fragmenting the audience, almost no single source is powerful enough to enforce empirical truths against outraged denial. Indeed, for every objective blog that fact-checks a congressperson’s statements, three partisan blogs defend that lawmakers’ fibs. For every reporter who uncovers discrepancies between a CEO’s public speech and his company’s SEC filings, five PR firms exist to “prove” no discrepancies exist.

Thus we find ourselves in a perverse situation: As information becomes easier to obtain and cynicism rises, outraged denial by the 21st-century Mad Men becomes more pervasive.

Today, Tea Party protestors vehemently deny that patients will be given a choice of insurance provider under universal healthcare proposals that statutorily preserve said choice; Washington Republicans deny that the wealthy pay lower effective tax rates than middle-income earners—even as IRS data proves just that; Democrats deny that a filibuster-proof majority in Congress means they have any power to pass legislation; and the banking industry denies any relationship between billions in taxpayer bailouts and billions in lavish executive bonuses.
David Sirota


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