Here’s today’s assignment: who the hell is Farhad Manjoo? That’s right, bloggers. I spent a lot of time trying to find his credentials online. I found he was born in 1978 and graduated in 2000 from Cornell, where he wrote for his college newspaper. He also wrote for Wired News and now So, the question becomes – why would a 20-something with apparently no advanced degrees in social science or political science be taken seriously by the mainstream corporate press?

Manjoo is much like the Tobacco Institute or the people they used to send around to show us film strips about “Readi Kilowatt” back during the Cold War. They are individuals who have developed a cottage industry as debunkers and denialists. And in a society famed for Know Nothings an anti-intellectualism, of course an opportunist like Manjoo would come forward.

Award-winning journalists are ignored or called conspiracy theorists. Ph.D.s are denounced by the droves. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s the sound of jackboots marching. The attack on the credentialed academy and the deference to the fly-by-night propagandist is a typical authoritarian model. What next? The youth corps tossing the truly credentialed down the stairs and out the windows at the colleges?

Why is Manjoo important? Because he serves the interests of W. Bush and Karl Rove and those who have perfected the art of “benign operations.” Why not go with a real expert – Kevin Phillips, the architect of the modern Republican Party, Nixon’s key strategist and creator of the “southern strategy.” He calls the Bush family “four generations of war profiteers” and stated that the Bush family couldn’t hold an election without a CIA manual.

We should think of Manjoo much like we think of Holocaust deniers. If you can find any REAL credentials he has, please let me know and I’ll post them.

4 replies
  1. Real History Lisa
    Real History Lisa says:

    Bob, have you seen any evidence that Farhad is taken seriously by the mainstream press? I haven’t even seen evidence that Farhad is taken seriously by the alternative press, much less the MSM.

    I’ve talked to Farhad by email a number of times, which is pretty wild, since I pretty much never have anything nice to say to him when I do. To his credit, he listens, and responds. But I’ve learned this from our many conversations: he’s not entirely logical. He’ll make strange leaps saying, well if you said x, you must believe y, when in fact, there’s no reason to connect those two things. So I’ve come to believe that part of the reason he writes what he does and believes what he does is he’s just missing the logic gene, or whatever it is that enables people to draw correct deductions from a given set of information.

    So I was not surprised when he wrote his anti-RFK article, dripping with sarcasm and demonstrating the very thing he accused RFK of doing – selectively choosing his evidence. Farhad has been persuaded by a team of people who argue that the exit polls were wrong. Never mind that several trained mathematicians say their argument is fatally flawed. Never mind that they reduced the data set and added a custom fudge factor to increase the margin of error, allowing Ohio results to fit into this increased region. Farhad buys it.

    Maybe he buys it because he’s a hired gun. But after talking to him at length, I think he buys it because he doesn’t understand the math, and the people who make that side of the argument are sadly more articulate than the mathematicians who shoot that to shreds. And not being logical himself, he cannot follow the logic of why they are wrong, so he’s persuaded by rhetoric.

    I heard also from someone at Salon that Farhad is an immigrant to this country. Nearly all the immigrants I’ve met and talked to at length have been fairly right wing, which surprises me. They are so happy to be here that they cannot stand anyone accusing our government of anything evil, because that would mean that possibly, they had made a mistake in coming here. They’ve bought wholesale into the Disneyland view of America sold in the media, the land of the free, home of the brave, and all that.

    Is that why Farhad is so blind to the evidence of deliberate fraud and so accepting of any argument, however mathematically flawed, which argues that the exit polls should be discounted? I don’t know. Hell, I’ve written at length about the CIA’s role in the media. It’s certainly crossed my mind that there’s more to the picture with Farhad.

    But having talked to him, I think he really honestly just doesn’t get it. And doesn’t want to get it. If you sat down and talked to him at length, maybe you could educate him. Maybe not. But it might be worth a try.

  2. Real History Lisa
    Real History Lisa says:

    Btw – check out his blog. Maybe this explains a lot. His blog is titled, “What I learned on Wikipedia today.” Wikipedia is as much as source of disinformation as information, in articles related to things like the Kennedy assassination and other ‘controversial’ events of history. If he’s a fan, that goes to my point that he’s maybe just not the sharpest tool in the shed.

  3. justice
    justice says:

    The right wing has created “experts” for years out of earnest immigrants. Remember Dinesh D’Souza, the wunderkind who wrote for a right wing mag at Dartmouth and then was promoted to the Reagan White House and then immediately into the American Enterprise Institute? He was trotted out to write books and appear on TV opposite PhD’s and other experts who actually knew something. He was the friendly brown face who could denounce affirmative action programs when a gray-haired white male would not be seemly.

    But this is not an “immigrant” problem. This is a part of the bigger problem with these right wing “think tanks,” populated by industry-sponsored propagandists.

    What are the credentials of half of the columnists we read in the papers? They continue to write, even when they are dead wrong on issue after issue! Even when they do no more than a few hours of research on a topic, calling their buddies in the right wing think tanks (who have glossy directories of “experts” on every topic imaginable that they give to journalists, many of whom are too lazy or too unconnected to go out and find the real stories).

  4. Real History Lisa
    Real History Lisa says:

    There’s an excellent new article in Vanity Fair this month that explains, in part, why there’s such a dearth of good investigative reporting. It’s really tough fighting your way through the maze of lies and disinformation, and most journalists have no interest in that. You can get the link over on my blog (click my name.)

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