WHEN PUBLIC OFFICIALS LIE, HOW MANY PEOPLE EVEN NOTICE?
By William Boardman
Some people don't believe in such a thing as objective truth. Other people don't care what's true or not true. And then there's the rest of us, trying to figure out what's real in the modern media maelstrom.
Take Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention,
just a snapshot, the truth problem in a microcosm, before, during, and after
Rick Santorum spoke.
Rachel Maddow was anchoring the coverage on MSNBC, Maddow is
avowedly liberal, but even more avowedly committed to getting facts right. She habitually asks her guests if she
got her facts right in stories they are knowledgeable about, something few
other newspeople do so consistently.
And she is scrupulous in making corrections when she gets something
In other words, Maddow is a reporter with real integrity and
here she is with her assortment of MSNBC talking heads getting ready to listen
to former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, and she predicts
that he will lie. Maddow predicts
that Santorum will specifically lie about the waivers that five governors
(including two Republicans) asked the Obama administration to consider in relation to the federal welfare rules
on work for those receiving welfare. http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/gary-herbert-brian-sandoval-welfare-waivers-romney.php
When the administration agreed to consider waivers, it made clear it would grant a waiver to the law's work requirements only on the condition that more welfare recipients find jobs than under current rules. To date, the Obama administration has granted no waivers. And the two Republican governors who joined in the original request, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Gary Herbert of Utah, are backing away from their initial position. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/policy/im-ofa/2012/im201203/im201203.html
In 2005 Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts joined 28 other governors who wrote a letter to Congress seeking broader waiver authority from the law than the Obama adminsitartion has agreed to consider. http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/mitt-romney-supported-welfare-reform-waivers-2005-letter-republican-governors.php
And Gov. Romney also supported a program that provided free automobiles to welfare recipients. http://bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/view/2011_1018mitt_defends_his_welfare_wheels_from_gop_outrage
But since early August
presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been running ads claiming that
the President is eliminating work as a welfare requirement with a racially
tinged explanation suggesting that Obama is pandering to his base.
One Romney ad in early August claimed that: "On July 12, President Obama
quietly ended the work requirement, gutting welfare reform. One of the most
respected newspapers in the country called it 'nuts'". Under Obama's plan, you wouldn't have
to work and you wouldn't have to train for a job". They just send you your welfare check. And welfare to work
goes back to being plain old welfare..."
Romney's claims have been widely criticized and debunked as
false by fact-checking organizations including CNN, the New York Times, Daily
Kos, ABC News, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, and
PolitiFact called Romney's claims "pants on fire" bogus, the Washington Post gave Romney four "Pinocchios" for maximum falsity, and the Annenberg Public Policy Center agreed. http://www.factcheck.org/tag/mitt-romney/ and