News Media Reaches Down; Potentially Finds a Pair? Multiple Outlets Call Paul Ryan Out on Convention Speech Falsehoods
It’s early to be optimistic, but something beautiful has happened over the last few days: a politician running for office told a bunch of lies, and some media publications actually called him a liar, in print.
How cool is that?
For the less politically-minded of you out there, Paul Ryan is the guy Mitt Romney picked to be his running mate, which is super confusing because he shares a name with both Ron and Rand Paul, and Rand Paul also shares a name with Ayn Rand, the anti-government rape fetishist that Paul Ryan claims to be an ardent philosophical devotee of, except for the parts where she hates religion and likes contraceptives and abortion.
So Paul Ryan, the new Republican running mate. All those other people, not. We got it?
Onward: Paul Ryan, this VP hopeful, gave a speech on Wednesday in which he told a lot of lies.
It’s important to be clear that we’re not talking about half-truths, spin, misdirection, or any of those other words we use to mean “yeah, he basically lied to us, but he kept some plausible deniability so let’s pretend he didn’t mean to.”
We’re talking about lies. Provably false statements of fact.
This has, of course, been going on for months. Just this week I threw up my own hands on this very blog, saying that we were all just going to have to get used to a post-factual campaign. No major news outlets, beyond a few leftie blogs, seemed inclined to actually come out and say “guys, the Romney campaign is lying. These things just aren’t true.”
It’s not really surprising when somewhere like The Rachel Maddow Show‘s MaddowBlog puts out a headline like “Paul Ryan stands on a foundation of lies.” They’ve been on top of even minor falsehoods for a while now, aggressively enough that even I would categorize some of their “Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity” claims as petty, and picking on minor differences of perspective rather than bald falsehood. I expected them to beat the Paul Ryan convention speech like it owed them money, and they did.
Likewise, the Romney campaign has openly said that they don’t care what fact-checkers think, and PolitiFact has had enough egg on its collective face lately that their “False” rating for a few of Ryan’s convention speech claims won’t make a lot of ripples.
But a lot of people outside the far left and/or politics junkie circles read the Huffington Post (if only for the sideboobs), so their “Paul Ryan Address: Convention Speech Built On Demonstrably Misleading Assertions” carries some weight. It also looks back far enough to rap the Romney campaign for the entirely false claim that Obama ended the welfare work requirements, something they’ve mostly been getting away with so far:
It was just one of several striking and demonstrably misleading elements of Ryan’s much-anticipated acceptance speech. And it comes just days after Romney pollster Neil Newhouse warned, defending the campaign’s demonstrably false ads claiming Obama removed work requirements from welfare, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”
Jonathan Bernstein in the Washington Post editorial page goes further, leading his piece “Paul Ryan fails — the truth” off with the phrase “It was, by any reasonable standards, a staggering, staggering lie.”
Ezra Klein wrote an almost touchingly saddened piece (“A not-very-truthful speech in a not-very-truthful campaign“) looking back on his mostly-unsuccessful attempts to make an earlier “The true, the false, and the misleading: Grading Paul Ryan’s convention speech” column longer on “true” and shorter on “false,” in the interest of even-handedness.
And, miriable, Fox News contributor Sally Kohn described “Paul Ryan’s speech in 3 words” as “dazzling, deceiving, and distracting,” elaborating under the second heading that
to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.
Now, Ms. Kohn tends to play the role of the token liberal when she comments for Fox News, but they did run it, and that tells you something.
It tells you that maybe, just maybe, “one of the two campaigns for the Presidency of the United States is based heavily on outright lies” has finally become a news story.
I’m amazed that it took this long.