Why Colonel Sartoris?

Allow me to explain the puzzling title. Colonel Sartoris is William Faulkner's greatest character. He exemplifies those values that his society cherishes, namely tradition, patriarchy, courtliness, and courage. Though modernity's slow march tries to strip him of these things, Sartoris continues to live as he always has, knowing that "the past is never dead. It's not even past." He seeks order in the honorable folkways and mores of his forbears. Let us not forget his example.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NYT: Giddy over GOP Gaffes

So the lead story on NYTimes.com is "Attacking Democrats, but Not Without Errors."  I was a little intrigued.  One of the things that has always bothered me about debates is that there is no fact-checker at them.  Candidates often spew whatever partial fact they can recall in their semi-conscious, spotlight-drowned state.  So candidates often mangle facts, and there's no objective source to call them on it.

Tonight, we had no such process in the actual debate, but we did have the trusty watchdog media, the lion of the press, the alpaca of the print, the New York Times to point out factual errors that the Republican candidates made during the debate.  I searched the website, and I found no instances of where the NYT had before reacted to a partisan debate in such a manner.

I would not find this noteworthy, though, had not Rachel Maddow (everyone's favorite press bullwatchdog) not led off her (and the official msNBC) commentary on the debates with her own fact-checking of the supposed Republican reifications.  msNBC was the only channel I could find that had the Republican debates on, and thus Maddow's analysis, airing immediately after the debates' showing on its only channel, should bear particular scrutiny.

I have never seen the media engage in such a vociferous fact-checking of the candidates' figures.  Ever.  I fight my right-wing tendency to chalk criticism of the Right up to "liberal elitism," but these particular stories, more than anything, would support such a view.

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