You are probably familiar with the Michael J Fox campaign ads being shown in support of Democratic candidates who are running against Republicans who voted against federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. If so, you’ve also read that Rush Limbaugh accused Michael J Fox of faking, going off his medication, or at least playing up his symptoms in the ad in order to elicit sympathy.
Limbaugh may be a monster, but he’s a calculating monster. The ad itself is very compelling. Would you want to be the person to tell someone in such condition that you’re politically opposed to research that may help them out? The best way to enable people to ignore the ad is to enable them to deny to themselves that Michael J Fox is as bad off as he appears, and Limbaugh understands that.
This is the same approach that the Bush administration has taken with Iraq. If you read the papers or watch the news, you know that Iraq is a terminal patient. President Bush, Dick Cheney, and friends keep telling us that people reporting from Iraq are liars and that the patient is on the road to recovery.
They’re not trying to win skeptics over to their side, they’re trying to refuel the deep well of denial that keeps their true believers from jumping ship.