How the GOP Protects Its Falsehoods
Robert B. Reich
"We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," says
A half-dozen fact-checking organizations and websites have refuted
USA Today calls the Romney campaign's claim that Obama has "funneled" money out of
Notwithstanding these refutations, the Romney campaign continues to make these charges.
Most political campaigns are guilty of exaggeration. Some distort the truth. But rarely if ever has one resorted to such bald-faced lies -- even after they're shown to be lies.
Presumably the Romney campaign continues to make these and other false claims because they're effective, swaying previous undecided voters Romney's way. But this raises a more basic question: How can these false claims remain effective when they've been so overwhelmingly discredited by the media?
The answer is the
The first is by repeating big lies so often in TV spots -- financed by a mountain of campaign money -- that the public can no longer recall (if it ever knew) that the mainstream media and its fact-checkers have found them to be lies.
The money is the result of a series of court decisions and regulatory changes, beginning with the
Several hundred million more is being gathered by political groups masquerading as nonprofits, such as the
The second means the
To be sure, the mainstream media hasn't always called it correctly. Initially it bought the Bush administration's claim there were "weapons of mass destruction" in
The third means the
Together, these three mechanisms are creating a parallel Republican universe of Orwellian dimension -- where anything can be asserted, where pollsters and political advisers are free to create whatever concoction of lies will help elect their candidate, and where "fact-checkers" are as irrelevant and intrusive as is the truth.
Whether all this helps the
The Romney campaign has decided it won't be dictated by fact-checkers. But a society without trusted arbiters of what is true and what is false is vulnerable to every lie imaginable.
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