“Do your research?” seems to be the latest fashion on internet comment threads for trying to undermine sombody’s contribution without actually being able to write a rebuttal or construct an argument challenging what they have offered. It has replaced “Do the math,” or the rather silly “Do the science,” but like them only shows the person using it is sadly deficient in rhetorical skills.
I came across an article today which employed the “do your research” technique without actually using thise words. It was about the appointment to the US Supreme Court of Justice Kavanaugh, and the attempt to block his elevation by a woman named Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the judge of sexually assaulting her over 30 years ago at a student drinking party. Blasey Ford could not remember the date or location of the alleged offence, nor could she produce any witnesses to back her allegation, in fact those she named as witnesses denied any knowledge of an offence having taken place. As the US Supreme Court is not important to us in Britain this story serves as an illustration of how people on the internet, on TV and Radio news and in the newspapers try to manipulate opinion.
In an article titled “Ford Wins Credibility Battle but Not The War” the author argues that tratification of Kavanaugh’s appointment should have been blocked because Blasey Ford was a more credible witness. Using the usual liberal / left wing trick of stating his opinion as if it is an uncentastable fact he cited Kavanaugh’s answers to three questions put to him by senator Joe Kennedy (yeas one of The Kennedy’s but not one of The Dead Kennedys,)
The three questions and Kavanaugh’s answers were:
Kennedy asked Kavanaugh to swear before God and country to a series of questions he was about to ask him.
Kavanaugh agreed to do so.
First, Kennedy asked Kavanaugh if he had sexually assaulted Ford. Kavanaugh responded with what he perceived to be evidence that he did not do it. It was a Democratic conspiracy to destroy his reputation.
Next Kavanaugh was asked if he had violated Ms. Ramirez. He answered with more of what he considered proof that he did not do it. Again, it was an allegation orchestrated by the Democrats.
Third, he was asked if he had exposed his penis to a third woman. Again, Kavanaugh offered what he considered evidence that he did not do this act. Namely, it was a conspiracy made up by a porn actress’s lawyer.
The problem with Kavanaugh’s answers to Sen. Kennedy is that a truthful answer would have been a simple yes or no.
Had Kavanaugh looked Kennedy in the eyes and answered no, I would have graded him as equally credible or more credible than Ford. He did not. I believe Dr. Ford and not Judge Kavanaugh.
How does this relate to “Do your research?”
What the writer is asking us to do here is believe his version of the exchange instead of doing our research. Kennedy’s questions, taken out of context and without reference to what had been said previously still do not lead an unbiased person to concur with the author’s opinion. In fact Kavanaugh had already denied the allegations many times, and in rhetorical terms he is refusing here to dignify the most lurid version of Blasey Ford’s accusation with a denial. It is moot to suggest Kavanaugh failed to provide proof that he did not perpetrate the acts he is accused of, in legal terms it is impossible to prove a negative and therefore the burden of proof rests on the accuser.
Christine Blasey Ford, a Democratic Party activist, a vociferous critic of Donald Trump (who appointed Kavanaugh to the supreme court, an appointment that was seen as hugely damaging to the Democratic Party, and a feminist, did not report the assault at the time it is alleged to have taken place, or mention it for thirty years as Kavanaugh rose through the ranks of the US judicial system to its pinnacle. That in itself, and the timing of her accusation should arouse suspicion about her credibility. But to liberals, interested only in disrupting the Trump presidency it doesn’t.
And had the author done his research, he would have known that Blasey Ford, far from being the credible adversary in this case, was, according to classmates, not the shy ingenue she and her supporters claimed but an enthusiastic party girl and something of a raver. In fact the college yearbook for that year makes an oblique reference to her reputation. So while it is likely that someone did once push their genitals in her face at a party, it is also understandable that she might have trouble remembering who and at what party.
Such cheap tricks are how politics is played now. If only people who say (or imply,) “Do your research,” would first do their research.