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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/31/12

Romney World's Freedom from Fact

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In an earlier America, you might have expected the New York Times to phrase that opening sentence differently, i.e., "you can disagree with everything said by Maddow and Schultz and still support their right to say it." Now, journalists using accurate, albeit harsh, language is an excuse to shut them up.

Stanley further dismissed MSNBC's reporting on the Republican convention as "counter-programming, not coverage," adding that "all that arch sarcasm and partisan brio may rev up the cable channel's fans, but it constrains -- and stains -- NBC News, its corporate sibling." In other words, she's wants the execs at NBC's HQ to crack down.

Yet, what is a journalist supposed to do when one political party or one candidate decouples almost entirely from the real world? Presumably, the Times' TV critic would have journalists simply nod their heads and pass on lies as truth, all in the name of some twisted notion of "objectivity" which denies the existence of objective fact.

However, even some of the Times' reporters were chafing under the endless lies and distortions coming out of the Republican convention. In a "Check Point" column, Michael Cooper cited a litany of fact-bending moments in vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's acceptance speech on Wednesday and Romney's on Thursday.

"The two speeches -- peppered with statements that were incorrect or incomplete -- seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign, one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside," Cooper wrote.

Among the misleading statements in the speeches, Cooper noted that Ryan omitted that he helped kill the deficit-reduction recommendations that he blamed Obama for not enacting; that he sought the same $716 billion savings from Medicare that he faulted Obama for seeking; and that he shared the blame for the political impasse that led to last year's U.S. credit downgrade while pointing the finger at Obama.

Cooper's article also cited many false or misleading claims in Romney's speech, such as assertions that Obama's policies had "not helped create jobs"; that the President had gone on an "apology tour" for America; and that Obama's Medicare cuts would "hurt today's seniors" -- although such claims have been repeatedly debunked.

Revisionist History

But the speeches by Romney and Ryan were even more divorced from reality than those specifics would indicate. More broadly, they presented a revisionist history of the last three-plus years during which Republicans supposedly had united behind President Obama to solve America's economic crisis.

For instance, Romney said...

"Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. That president was not the choice of our party but Americans always come together after elections. We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than what divides us.

"When that hard-fought election was over, when the yard signs came down and the television commercials finally came off the air, Americans were eager to go back to work, to live our lives the way Americans always have -- optimistic and positive and confident in the future. That very optimism is uniquely American."

But what Romney omitted was that even as the yard signs were coming down and the TV ads were ending, the Republican partisanship was just getting started. Despite the fact that the nation was facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression -- after eight years of a Republican presidency -- the Republicans marched in virtual lockstep to block or frustrate Obama's programs to fix the economy and to get Americans back to work.

Indeed, the two acceptance speeches could be viewed as the culmination of the Republican strategy to sabotage Obama's presidency from its very first moments. Ignoring the painful hangover from George W. Bush's Republican reckless policies, Romney and Ryan instead blamed Obama for almost everything that has gone wrong, including Ryan faulting Obama for the shutdown of a General Motors plant in Wisconsin which ceased assembly-line production before Obama was sworn in.

For his part, Romney asserted in a syrupy voice...

"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn't something we have to accept.

"Now is the moment when we CAN do something. With your help we will do something. Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, "I'm an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!'"

Hostage-Takers Win

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
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