In an excellent blog post at Media Matters, Jeremy Holden reviews the incessant lies and disregard for fact-checking by the Romney-Ryan campaign, especially the lies about Obama’s so-called “apology tour” and Obama’s alleged elimination of the welfare work requirement.
Holden offered a tweet from a political reporter for the Boston Phoenix, which pretty much sums up the dilemma facing journalists:
Now what, indeed.
But Holden points out that The Washington Post—which employs Glenn Kessler as its fact checker, a fact checker who has given Romney “Four Pinocchios for months” but “Romney keeps saying this” —has its own problems with the truth, mainly because it continues publishing lies that have been fact checked by, uh, Glenn Kessler!
Among the culprits are Post columnist Marc Thiessen, who started that whole false meme about Obama and the security briefing (which caused John Sununu to call the President “lazy”). Kessler gave Thiessen three Pinocchios for that one.
But prominent among offenders at the Post, offenders who practice what David Roberts of Grist has called “post-truth politics,” is Charles Krauthammer.
The Post publishes many questionable assertions written by Krauthammer, but perhaps most perplexing is why it continues to publish his columns that include references to that non-existent “apology tour.” Just today Krauthammer wrote:
Four years later, mid-September 2012, the U.S. mission in Benghazi went up in flames, as did Obama’s entire Middle East policy of apology and accommodation.
I don’t know how a reputable newspaper can employ a fact-checker and at the same time publish columns with claims that the fact-checker has repeatedly shot down as false.
But then The Washington Post is not what it used to be.
Meanwhile, another “news” organization, Fox, has been pushing an “Obama lied about Benghazi” meme night and day. And I mean night and day.
With only the flimsiest of evidence (that’s enough for Fox, when it comes to Obama) Fox has featured folks like Rudy Giuliani, who said yesterday on Fox’s Three Stooges and Friends:
I think there is no question that the administration was covering up from day one.
No question. None.
Mike Huckabee compared the whole thing to Watergate today on “America’s News(!)room”:
Let’s just get blunt. No way to sugar coat this — We’ve been lied to. We have flat-out been lied to. They know they’ve lied…Richard Nixon was forced out of office because he lied and because he covered some stuff up. I’m going to be blunt and tell you this — nobody died in Watergate. We have some people who are dead because of this. There are some questions to be answered and Americans ought to demand to get answers and it doesn’t matter what the politics are.
Yeah, it doesn’t matter what the politics are to right-wingers on Fox, right?
This afternoon I heard Fox’s Megyn Kelly ask Andy Card, George Bush’s chief of staff, this breathtaking question:
If George W. Bush had been the president and had sent Ambassador Bolton out to tell the world that these were spontaneous attacks, not pre-planned [sic], all over a video, and then it became clear that the intel community knew something very different all the while, what do you think the reaction would have been by the press?
CARD: I think the press would have been up in arms about President Bush.
Up in arms my ass. After the 9/11 attacks, the press fell into the arms of the Bush administration, as did all Americans. It wasn’t a time to throw rocks at the president (that would come later when it was revealed that a month before the attacks Bush had received a “presidential daily brief” titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.,” a story that did not get wall-to-wall coverage on Fox of course).
Neither was it the time, immediately after the murders in Benghazi, to do what Mitt Romney did—with the aid of Fox “News”and before the bodies were cold—when he began criticizing Mr. Obama shamelessly. There would be plenty of time to see what, if anything, the Administration did wrong in Libya, but shouldn’t we have an investigation and get the facts first? Huh?
It may well be that someone in the Administration purposely mislead reporters about the nature of the attacks, but what is more likely is that there was, and appears to remain, much confusion about them. Let’s see before we call this a Watergate or an October Surprise.
Meanwhile, a real scandal, but one involving Republicans and voter fraud (isn’t that ironic?) has been revealed and Fox, which pushed night and day the phony story in 2008 about ACORN and voter fraud, is, uh, busy with other things.
From Media Matters today:
In fact this morning, Brian Kilmeade hosted a Fox & Friends panel discussion about voter fraud. In 2008, the allegation that ACORN submitted questionable registration forms was routinely referred to and condemned as “voter fraud” on Fox. (To this day, Fox treats misaddressed voter registration forms as “fraud.”) But this morning, Kilmeade and his guests made no mention of the fact that the Republican Party was just forced to fire a consulting firm for submitting potentially bogus voter registration forms; forms being reviewed by local law enforcement.
Nothing is a scandal on Fox unless it is a Democratic scandal, real or imagined. And that is why Republicans spend much time bashing mainstream journalism and don’t give a damn about fact checkers.