Attacks on Obama vs. attacks on McCain

I’ve been reading a lot about politics this year, although my sources range from relatively neutral to “in the tank” for Obama. But even so, I’ve noticed that the attacks on Obama seem to be far crazier than the attacks on McCain. It’s hard to say whether this is true since the sort of sites I read tend to highlight the crazy attacks being made Obama, and I guess I don’t entirely know where the crazy attacks on McCain are coming from. (I read dailykos.com which definitely had some questionable things, but still not as bad as what’s being flung at Obama)

So I watched a segment of the Daily Show last night with interest, a segment where John Oliver went to Obama and McCain rallies and found people saying crazy things. Here it is:
As I was watching, it struck me that indeed the attacks on Obama were crazier. Let’s break down each one by true/reasonable, grain of truth, and not true:
on Obama: If he is elected, we will have terrorists in our country. Didn’t say he was a terrorist, so she could be saying he won’t defend our borders, which is a reasonable concern. grain of truth
on Obama: He’ll put a turban on, go in the White House and “we’ll all be shot”. not true
on Obama: He’s a Muslim, we don’t know enough about him. He is not a Muslim! not true
on Obama: It would be a takeover of our country, he doesn’t understand the radical Islam perspective. Close to saying he’s a terrorist, but this is a valid concern. grain of truth
on McCain: Idea of McCain becoming president is terrifying. This is pretty vague… grain of truth
on McCain: The conservative turn the country would take is scary. “Scary” is subjective, obviously, but McCain is obviously a conservative. true/reasonable
on McCain: The pick of Palin scares the living daylights out of me. Again, too vague to be true grain of truth
on McCain: Palin has proven to be most ineffectual and unintellectual woman out there. Hyperbole but there’s a valid concern in there grain of truth
on McCain: McCain’s out of touch, doesn’t know about Twitter, Flickr, Youtube. Probably true but not a totally valid concern grain of truth
on Obama: Been tied up with a lot of “groups like that” like ACORN. Technically true, although I have a feeling if they hadn’t suddenly cut the interview this would have gotten crazier true/reasonable
on McCain: Pals around with Keating Five people. “Pals around” is a bit iffy but he was one of the Keating Five… true/reasonable
(skipping two incomplete thoughts, one on both sides)
on Obama: Scared to death of him, have thirteen grandchildren, there will be no America left. Um, OK. not true
on McCain: Have a ten year old daughter who’s grown up with war, would like her to have four years of peace. Borderline but McCain is definitely more hawkish than Obama, and he supported the war in Iraq where Obama didn’t true/reasonable
on McCain: Roe v Wade would definitely be “under threat”. Seeing as McCain now supports overturning it… true/reasonable
on Obama: We have to realize killing babies is out of line. Inflammatory language, but at least there’s an issue behind it true/reasonable
(skipping McCain should have left the party when he’s still having fun, because I don’t understand)
(skipping Obama: “show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are” because it’s not specific enough)
on Obama: isn’t living in a realistic world when it comes to his Islamic views again, didn’t say he’s a Muslim, and a valid concern true/reasonable
on Obama: if he becomes president, America as we know it is gone. not true

So, to summarize in table form:

Attacks on Obama Attacks on McCain
true/reasonable 3 4
grain of truth 2 4
not true 4 0

Obviously it’s impossible to do this objectively, but I did my best. Innuendo was flung around at McCain, but no one said anything like America would be destroyed if he was elected.

2 thoughts on “Attacks on Obama vs. attacks on McCain”

  1. I’m not sure that saying the country will be scary and saying the country will be gone are really all that different; or rather, they’re very different ways of using language, but they’re not really different attacks.

    Like

  2. The more frightened you are, the more desperate you are, the worse the language and the more inflammatory and false the attacks.

    Like

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