Posts Tagged 'Fact checking'

Just the facts

It started a few days ago.  That nagging feeling that nobody cares about the truth.  Or worse yet, simply insist that the truth is merely a fiction.

My friend Ralph sent me, for the second time, a regurgitated missive blasted to his friends in cyberspace intended to terrorize the mindless among us.  Warning us that Obamacare would tax the sale of our home, he ignored the actual law and chose to sensationalize and grossly overstate.  No matter that I had previously told him, accompanied by references and facts, that he was seriously off base.  Better to spread the falsehood in the sacred effort to rid us of Obama and that awful healthcare abomination so mindlessly upheld by that liberal pinko, Justice Roberts.

Jay Ambrose, a regular columnist in the Ventura Star, spent the better part of his Wednesday message telling us that fact checkers were predominantly leftists pushing the liberal point of view.  Better to ignore them.  Better to accept the lies than to trust anyone who might be armed with the truth.

In response to the twisted logic applied by Paul Ryan as he endeared himself to the Tampa convention goers, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse turned the challenge back on the fact checkers, saying they bring their own “thoughts and beliefs” to the process.  “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” Newhouse said.  Better to accept everything the candidate says.  After all, he’s cute and his mother loves him.

The long dead John Sununu arose, as he tends to do every four years, to defend the Romney ad that accuses Obama of gutting welfare reform by illegally granting waivers to states that ask for them. The TV ad claims the Obama administration has adopted “a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.”  The plan does neither of those things.  Abetting this, some would say racist, claim that folks could avoid looking for work, stay home, drink beer, fart a lot and get checks for doing so, Sununu almost had a cerebral explosion defending his right to call Obama a liar.  Substantiating his claim to veracity, he invoked the names of Rick Santorum (there is no global warming and conception begins at the moment of erection) and Newt Gingrich (the earth is flat and I didn’t inhale when I was cheating on my wives.)

I thought I had escaped from this onslaught of slime to the sanctity of the Cinemark Theater in downtown Ventura to watch Robot and Frank (don’t bother, it’s still searching for a plot).  As part of the now ubiquitous pre-feature film advertising deluge, Glenn Beck’s face appeared on the screen inviting me to spend time with him while he made unbiased fun of himself, both political parties and the election.  The very same Glenn Beck who just recently promoted the lie that the Democratic convention will host a Muslim “Jumah” prayer service while rejecting a Catholic cardinal’s offer to lead a prayer.  Glenn has it almost right, except that the Muslim service is in a city park and is sponsored by a non-profit claiming no allegiance to either party.

Much as it hurts me, I admit that both parties own a significant share of fibs, distortions and big, fat lies.  It is informative, however, to gauge the relative veracity of both of them.  Simply put, who’s the biggest liar?  To that end PolitiFact.com, a Pulitzer (Commie bastard) winning organization, has a list of Pants on Fire awards for lies that haven’t even a Captain Crunch grain of truth.  Check it out.

Does it matter? Is anyone paying attention?  More importantly, are those undecided voters (aka wimps) swayed by the barrage and complexity of the falsehoods?   For to every lie there is also the claim of truth.  To those who think we need to do something about global warming, there are those who cite the doubts voiced by the miniscule minority who have their heads in their ass.  To those who say there is a growing and unfair disparity between the 1% and the 99%, there are those tricksters who say that jobs will trickle down from more tax cuts for the wealthy.  And to those who say trust us, there are those who remember George, Dick, Donald and Condoleeza.

The other night, Barrel 33 hosted my buddy Jim and I to happy hour martinis.  We come from opposites ends of the political spectrum yet find some way, maybe an even invigorating way, to argue politics.  Somewhere in the conversation, Jim said “I think I’ll just stick my head under the covers until the election is over.  It’s giving me a headache.”

I know that Jim won’t do that.  And neither should you.  Stay focused on the clear choice broadcast  by the parties.  You can be an America-firster dedicated to lower taxes, dramatically reduced support for those less fortunate, a larger military budget, decimated school budgets, growing intrusion of religion in our lives, and a one-size-fits-all definition of morality.  Or you can be the exact opposite.

And that’s a fact.


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