Friday, September 12, 2008

Tell Me Lies...

The mainstream media is stepping up and calling a lie a lie. has pointed out this week "distortions" and misleading ads coming from the McCain campaign (they haven't used the term lie that I know of). This goes back to the pattern I first pointed out at the Republican Convention when I felt like I was suddenly transported to George Orwell's 1984 where the Republicans were trying to sell me on doublespeak like if you want change, vote for the 72 year old, 30 year Republican senator. OK. Now that's subjective. He can call himself a maverick if he wants to. He can say he and Sarah Palin represent change and it's really a matter of opinion. But what is coming out of the McCain camp this week is blatant, out and out lies. Not mere stretching of the truth, not "well, you could look at it that way". Just bald faced lies.

The lies are coming out so fast and furious, it's hard to keep up. Maybe that's the strategy? Hit 'em with so many lies they can't debunk all of them. Well, I think it may be backfiring. Not with the base, of course. The base will make excuses for Senator McCain and Governor Palin no matter what they do. But, Independents and potential cross-over Democrats surely cannot be as stupid as the McCain camp hopes they are.

Here are just a few of the lies and some mainstream media reactions. Not HuffPo, not the DailyKos. But, mainstream reporters are finally calling the Republicans on their dirty campaign tactics.

FactCheck.Org- McCain ad saying Obama is belittling Palin is characterized by FactCheck as "goes down new paths of deception" (strong words for a staunchly independent source).

FactCheck.Org- McCain Ad about Obama funding sex education for teenagers "misleads.

FactCheck.Org-McCain-Palin ad distorts our finding.  In this ad, the McCain campaign even distorted the findings of FactCheck.Org.

Now, in fairness, FactCheck has called Obama on an ad this week, too.  And I've seen distortions and exaggerations in Obama ads.  The staying in Iraq for 100 years for example.  The $5M is middle class joke that McCain made.  But, I honestly think the McCain campaign is relying on the "they all do it" to continue to pump the  airwaves with more and more over-the-top blatant lies.  FactCheck.Org is an excellent resource, BTW.  Bookmark it and check out both sides ads as you see them.

Here's what the press is saying this week.  These are just short excerpts.  But, I've linked to the full articles. And this is not all I could find. But, it's enough to show that (hopefully) someone will hold both sides accountable to telling something that at least resembles the truth.

Paul Krugman in an Op-Ed piece titled Blizzard of Lies:
Did you hear about how Barack Obama wants to have sex education in kindergarten, and called Sarah Palin a pig? Did you hear about how Ms. Palin told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks” when it wanted to buy Alaska a Bridge to Nowhere?

These stories have two things in common: they’re all claims recently made by the McCain campaign — and they’re all out-and-out lies.
Why do the McCain people think they can get away with this stuff? Well, they’re probably counting on the common practice in the news media of being "balanced" at all costs. You know how it goes: If a politician says that black is white, the news report doesn’t say that he’s wrong, it reports that "some Democrats say" that he’s wrong. Or a grotesque lie from one side is paired with a trivial misstatement from the other, conveying the impression that both sides are equally dirty.
E.J. Dionne, Jr. in Tiptoeing Through the Mud

The campaign is a blur of flying pieces of junk, lipstick and gutter-style attacks. John McCain's deceptions about Barack Obama's views and Sarah Palin's flip-flopping suggest an unedifying scuffle over a city council seat.  The media bear a heavy responsibility because "balance" does not require giving equal time to truth and lies. So does McCain, who is running a disgraceful, dishonorable campaign of distraction and diversion.  But Obama bears responsibility, too: His task is to remind Americans that the stakes in this election are far higher than the matter of who said what and when about Palin. He isn't doing that.

McCain has shown he wants the presidency so badly that he's willing to say anything, true or false, to win power. Obama can win by fighting for what he believes. What he can't do is wait for the media to call McCain out -- although they should -- or expect voters to know he'll fight for them when they are not yet sure that he's willing to stand up for himself.
Charles Babington- AP News (not exactly a liberal organization, BTW)- McCain's claims skirt facts, test voters.

The "Straight Talk Express" has detoured into doublespeak.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a self-proclaimed tell-it-like-it-is maverick, keeps saying his running mate, Sarah Palin, killed the federally funded Bridge to Nowhere when, in fact, she pulled her support only after the project became a political embarrassment. He accuses Democrat Barack Obama of calling Palin a pig, which did not happen. He says Obama would raise nearly everyone's taxes, when independent groups say 80 percent of families would get tax cuts instead.
Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain's skirting of facts has stood out this week. It has infuriated and flustered Obama's campaign, and campaign pros are watching to see how much voters disregard news reports noting factual holes in the claims.
Jay Bookman- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution- Palin Lies could lead to Bridge to Oblivion
Sarah Palin is out on the campaign trail, this time in Ohio, still repeating the lie that she rejected federal funding for that infamous bridge in Alaska.
Palin — with the full backing and support of the McCain campaign — is doing herself longterm political damage with this ploy. The American people are watching her repeatedly lie to them, day after day, and watching her do so with no apparent compunction. This is her introduction to the national scene; this is when her image is being cemented into the public mind.
 And her image is increasingly that of a guiltless liar.
Andrew Sullivan- The Daily Dish- Lies, Damned Lies and Sarah Palin

Unless, in fact, this election is about Palin. And it has to be. She - along with the Iraq war - is the embodiment of McCain's claim to presidential judgment and experience. If she is a fraud, and has been proven a demonstrable liar in ways that a competent campaign would have vetted six months ago, McCain's campaign is over, and deserves to be over. As is the election. I don't see how we can know anything until she has answered a series of obvious, factual questions from the press corps about the truthfulness of her various statements in the public record.
Cherry Creek News- Sarah Palin- Serial Liar?

Despite a solid debunking, the McCain-Palin campaign continue to traffic in falsehoods about the Alaska Governor's short tenure. According to the AP, "The governor (Palin) has cut back on pork-barrel project requests, but in her two years in office, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. And as mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million." >From the day he nominated Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AZ) to be his vice presidential running mate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his campaign advisers have been repeating the lie that Palin opposed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. (In fact, Palin repeatedly expressed strong support for the project.) ThinkProgress has been keeping track of these lies and compiled them here. 


kc bob said...

I can't stand the negative ads out there.. hoping that more people will see through it than not.

Anonymous said...

speaking of setting the record straight, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander... in the interest of fair and balanced, of course :)

Brian said...


Thanks for the link. But, internet rumors is not really what this post was about. I was speaking about official communications from the campaigns themselves and ads with "I approved this message" on them.

Obama was (and is) creamed by internet rumors, as we all know. The McCain campaign should not be held accountable for this any more than the Obama campaign should be held accountable for the rumors swirling about Sarah Palin.