Two of the most recent ads from the Mitt Romney and Barack Obama campaigns have been labeled “false” by fact-checkers. You can check them out above. One would have to agree that no, President Obama has no intention to “gut” welfare and no, Governor Romney does not cause cancer. The campaign season so far has indeed been dirty with various accusations flying all over the place. There’s even been a discussion about who’s checking the fact-checkers when PolitiFact labeled Senator Harry Reid’s controversial statements about Romney’s taxes “pants on fire” even though there’s no way of checking whether or not the Senator’s words are true or false. I guess that the release date for the current Will Ferrell-Zach Galifianakis comedy The Campaign was timely.
The 2008 McCain-Palin campaign deteriorated completely into lies. As we stand now, there’s a 50-50 per cent chance that either the Romney-Ryan or the Obama-Biden campaign will be tempted to walk down their predecessor’s path. A recent David Lauter article in LA Times addressed the current lies and how the campaigns couldn’t care less. Statements from them that end the article only serve to illustrate how a) the campaign actually believes in their own bullshit like a cult believes in its David Koresh-like sermons, or b) they choose to lie through their teeth. Here’s what they’re saying, according to the article:
“They’ve gone from what started out as petty distortions and untruths to unbelievable exaggerations that diminish the office of president. I don’t think a world champion limbo dancer could get any lower than the Obama campaign right now.” (Eric Fehrnstrom, senior adviser to Romney).
“Mitt Romney won the Republican primary only by tearing down each of his opponents with ruthlessly negative campaigning. His campaign has questioned whether the president understands what it is to be American, attacked his patriotism, and is currently running an ad that a former president [Clinton] and authors of the welfare-to-work legislation have called a flat-out lie. When the Romney campaign finally reaches the high ground, we look forward to greeting them there.” (Lis Smith, spokeswoman for the Obama campaign).
I work for a newspaper (although this blog is not associated with it). I constantly hear from people, even educated ones, who seem to think that we make things up as we go along. They’d be surprised to learn the difference between real journalists and certain political campaign operatives.