Mitt Romney Brazenly Lies and the Media Lets Him Slide


Mitt Romney Brazenly Lies and the Media Lets Him Slide

By Arianna Huffington

Mitt Romney’s brazenly dishonest ad is far from the garden-variety truth stretching we’re used to in political campaigns. It is so breathtakingly cynical it should cause us to question whether a candidate that would put it forth is fit for any public office — let alone the presidency. Along with being deceitful, the ad is also a challenge to the media.

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Mitt Romney’s brazenly dishonest ad is far from the garden-variety truth stretching we’re used to in political campaigns. It is so breathtakingly cynical it should cause us to question whether a candidate that would put it forth is fit for any public office — let alone the presidency. Along with being deceitful, the ad is also a challenge to the media. It’s like when a toddler looks right at you and slowly and deliberately spills a glass of milk. The child wants to see the reaction. It’s a test of boundaries. If there’s no reaction, then the message is that it’s okay. That Mitt Romney hasn’t been forced to apologize for this ad, that he hasn’t been forced to fire the team responsible for it, isn’t just a failure of Romney’s — it’s a failure of our media culture.

flickr image By TalkMediaNews

Last week, a lot of media attention was devoted to latest GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich using the word “humane” in a debate answer about illegal immigration, suggesting we should avoid policies that tear families apart. Will erring on the side of humanity sit well with “family values” voters?

There was another big story — the brazen dishonesty of former frontrunner Mitt Romney — that received a lot less attention from the media. Instead of obsessing over whether an element of humanity might disqualify Gingrich with some Iowa voters, the media would be better served focusing on whether out-and-out lying should disqualify Romney with all voters.

The lie is found in Romney’s first television ad, run last week in New Hampshire. The ad shows President Obama saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” What the ad doesn’t tell you is that this was from 2008 — and that Obama was quoting an aide to John McCain at the time. Here is the full Obama quote: “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.'” (The full speech can be found here.)

This is far from the garden-variety truth stretching we’re used to in political advertising. This is so breathtakingly cynical it should cause us to question whether a candidate that would put it forth is fit for any public office — let alone the presidency.

This ad isn’t about the economy — it’s about character. Or at least it should be. Instead, for those in the media who bothered to cover it, it led mostly to a discussion about campaign tactics. Usually the media loves to play up these “character moments,” and here was a moment that really did reveal a candidate’s character. Yet, with some notable exceptions, the media punted.

Our own Jason Linkins superbly covered the ad and the reaction to it here, but the story deserves to stay alive. As Jason wrote, “people in the political media just don’t take well to calling people liars, probably because if they did, they’d spend so much time doing that that people might get cynical or something!”

Of course, as Jason points out, what actually makes people cynical is seeing obvious lies not called lies. That Mitt Romney hasn’t been forced to apologize for this ad, that he hasn’t been forced to fire the team responsible for it, isn’t just a failure of Romney’s — it’s a failure of our media culture and highlights the role it has played in the degradation of our political system.

Instead of a national conversation about what sort of person would approve such an ad, what we mostly got was just another “he said/she said” episode. The Obama camp attacked the ad, and the Romney camp responded. “There was no hidden effort on the part of our campaign,” Romney

Submitters Website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Submitters Bio:

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. She is also co-host of “Left, Right & Center,” public radio’s popular political roundtable program, as well as “Both Sides Now,” a weekly syndicated radio show with Mary Matalin moderated by Mark Green. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that has quickly become one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2006, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.

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About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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