Mark Twain once advised that the art of lying had gone downhill because of so many rank amateurs having entered the field. Today, however, we hardly even consider it a skilled trade anymore. In political campaigns it was once left to the candidate and top campaign management alone. Today it is farmed out to consultants and to the media, the manual laborers of lying.
This is the age of specialization, where liars act on their own or in-pay to tell lies, but only some lies. In the Swift-Boating of John Kerry, Rush Limbaugh couldn’t originate the lie, he was too partisan; his job was to repeat the lie. To embellish and perpetuate the lie. To take the snap of the ball from an unknown lineman and run with it. Then the mainstream media report on the story that Rush Limbaugh is talking about.
So, you have three calibers of liars: the originators, the disseminators, and the repeaters. Each with a role to play and a job to do. After the Swift Boaters told their tale they quickly disappeared. Their job was done, it was time to disappear before public scrutiny tackled their argument and possibly caused a fumble. Rush then added emotional sophistry in an attempt to put a grand, evil-conspiracy flavor on it. Kerry wasn’t a hero after all and his war medals meant that Kerry either attempted to defraud the Navy or they were in on the conspiracy.
The print media, rather than go back to the source, simply repeated the story with the spin du jour. The rightness or correctness of the story was lost in the maelstrom of the lying tree. Okay, so Kerry’s toast, but the lying tree carries on unabated. I chose to write about this because I received a curious Email from RedState.com. I don’t remember why I signed up, probably doing research for an article, but I never unsubscribed because I like to look and see what they’ve got their Fruit of the Looms in a bunch about from time to time.
“Dear RedState Reader,
Barack Obama has repeatedly, in the past month, said John McCain favors being in Iraq for 100 years. This lie is so egregious, the nonpartisan Annenburg Public Policy Center called Obama's statement a "serious distortion to the point of rank falsehood." Likewise, the Columbia Journalism Review (not exactly a hot bed of pro-GOP sentiment) declared that the "press needs to call Obama on distortion of McCain's statement."
Nonetheless, a number of reporters from allegedly reputable news organizations have repeated Obama's lie without ever pointing out that it is, in fact, a lie.
In the past week there have been five major news stories doing this. Below are the names of the reporters involved. Please call or email the reporters below, point out to them that they quoted Obama's "100 years" lie within the past week failing to indicate that it is a serious distortion of John McCain's record, and ask them to set the record straight. You can find citations to their articles containing the unrefuted lie in this RedState post.
Reporters should not quote Obama's lie without also pointing out it is, in fact, a "serious distortion to the point of a rank falsehood."
I had heard the "100 years in Iraq" story and, to be honest, I didn’t think it was too newsworthy. It’s hardly a surprise to anyone that Sen. McCain favors the Bush policy. Sen. McCain has trouble with his own base for attempting to be pragmatic, so at this point he must put on the jack boots and drink the Kool-Aid. So I asked myself, where is the truth about this? I began my research with a Google search; I typed in “100 years in Iraq.”
Seems pretty obvious to me that he said it; seems what we have here is Swift Boating in reverse. The candidate remains silent about his statement and his minions do their part to discredit those who tell the truth by calling them liars. To have it accepted in the mainstream media, that this is a lie and a discredited story. But why? The story didn’t seem like a big deal to me, but then, I’m not an independent voter. To the Republican faithful there is nothing wrong with his remark. They see it as obvious: how could we leave Iraq when we still need to knock over Iran?
But, to the independent voter, the one who hasn’t made up their mind, the thought of millions of voters going into the voting booth, asking themselves, “A hundred years in Iraq?” or “Come home quickly?” That makes the Republican managers wake at night in a cold sweat. The truth then becomes a lie, a rank falsehood, a serious distortion. But there it is, on You Tube. So the Republicans use, what is called in advertising, the expert opinion. Don’t take our word for it, the Annenburg Public Policy Center and the Columbia Journalism Review said it was so. So, 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Crest and Kathy Rigby endorsed Stay Free minipads. She should know, right? Being an Olympic gymnast and all.
The facts speak for themselves: Sen. McCain said it. The lying tree's job is to make sure he didn’t say it in the press. To use a campaign of intimidation against those reporters who repeat the truth made lie. From US News and World reports:
Obama Claims McCain "Wants" Another 100 Years Of War In Iraq. Now why would they put quotation marks around wants? Ahh, there's the distortion. Obama claims McCain wants another 100 years of war. Not what Sen. McCain said and not what Sen. Obama said that he said. A person generating spin like that could easily moonlight by making corkscrews.
ABC World News reported that in a Lancaster, Pennsylvania town hall meeting, Sen. Barack Obama "ignored Clinton, but blasted McCain's Iraq strategy." Sen. Barack Obama was shown saying, "We can't afford to stay in Iraq, like John McCain said, for another 100 years." ABC added, "The suggestion being that McCain wants to keep the surge going another century, which is not exactly what McCain said. Pressed in a news conference, Obama denied he's distorting McCain's meaning."
Not exactly? Yes exactly, that’s exactly what he said. Whether we can afford it is a question that Sen. Obama was asking about exactly what McCain said. But the attempt was to infer the Obama campaign was distorting McCain’s statement by implying that the question negated the truth of the statement.
According to the Washington Times, Obama "said it is 'entirely fair' to say on the campaign trail that Mr. McCain would continue the war for 100 years because the Republican has not clearly defined success in Iraq and has given no criteria for troop withdrawal. 'For him to argue, which he has repeatedly, that any suggestion that we withdraw troops is surrendering, that implies that we will be there as long as he thinks it's necessary for us to be there,' Mr. Obama said."
To The Washington Times the story isn’t about McCain’s statement at all, but Obama’s fairness and McCain’s plans or lack thereof. McCain’s statement has vanished from the argument, let’s talk about Obama’s fairness instead. And then, from a Fox New’s Special Report, "the non-partisan group, factcheck.org, says Obama's claim that McCain wants 100 years in Iraq is a serious distortion to the point of rank falsehood. Challenged by reporters today, Obama refused to back down." McCain's campaign claims Obama "has been knowingly twisting McCain's words for as much as three months."
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