Two leading members of the lyin’ bastards club
Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have been accused of telling TV viewers blatant untruths about Barack Obama.
The candidates deny their TV commercials are deceitful and dishonest but both ads selectively quote the president to make it appear he is saying one thing when he is saying another.
The advertisements have been widely scorned for crossing a line from a longstanding practice of political campaigns pushing the truth to its limits, over to misrepresentation. One ad appears to show Obama admitting he will lose next year’s election if he talks about the economy. The other has him calling American workers lazy.
Romney’s campaign ad is airing on TV stations in New Hampshire, which holds its primary in January. It shows the president saying: “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” But Obama’s words were from his 2008 campaign, and he was quoting a statement by a strategist for his Republican opponent, John McCain, who was the one on the back foot over the economy.
Perry’s ad shows a short soundbite of Obama saying: “We’ve been a little bit lazy I think over the last couple of decades.”
The ad switches to Perry saying: “Can you believe that? That’s what our president thinks is wrong with America – that Americans are lazy. That’s pathetic.”
But a viewing of Obama’s full statement shows that he was saying the US government had been lazy in attracting foreign investment.
Darrell West, director of governance studies at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution in Washington, said that Romney and Perry had gone further than previous campaigns in misrepresenting the truth.
“Those ads are blatant misrepresentations,” he said. “They are much more egregious than what we’ve seen in the past. Typically candidates have tried to be close to the truth because they know journalists are paying attention, but with all the problems of the news industry politicians have concluded they can get away with murder…”
But West acknowledged that politicians are less concerned about being exposed by reporters. “Politicians think that the news media have completely collapsed, based on the financial crisis, and so they are acting as if there’s no accountability and they can say whatever they want,” he said.
West makes a great point about American journalists having as little integrity as Republican candidates. Since their employers are either corporations controlled by Republicans or clown who consider news as entertainment – or both – there’s little encouragement for any of them to point out any of the lies or liars.