BOSTON (CBS) – Catching up on my reading yesterday, I had my first chance to do something I like to do after major political debates or speeches – check in with the folks at the non-partisan web site factcheck.org on the exaggerations, distortions, and outright lies that the distinguished leaders of our political class have offered up.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
As usual, the latest spasm of political spin, in this case Monday night’s Republican presidential debate, yielded a bumper crop of fertilizer.
Michelle Bachmann was outraged that Rick Perry had signed an executive order in Texas forcing young girls to receive “potentially dangerous” HPV vaccinations designed to prevent cancer.
But the order Perry signed allowed parents to opt-out of the vaccinations, which federal regulators and doctors insist are safe.
Mitt Romney angrily – and falsely – accused Perry of misquoting him after Perry noted Romney had compared the management of the Social Security system to a banker stealing from a client.
And Perry, factcheck.org notes, completely fudged job-creation numbers in Texas to make himself look better than President Obama.
Gosh darn those stubborn facts!
Speaking of the president, he’s been busy in recent days peddling his new jobs bill and repeating the claim that “everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans.”
But that turns out to be false.
For instance, the Obama plan wants to spend billions to prevent public-employee layoffs, but the last time a similar measure passed the House, zero Republicans voted for it.
The president and all his allies and enemies have one thing in common — they frequently cite and repeat falsehoods that reflect, at best, sloppiness and carelessness, and, at worst, outright dishonesty.
Why do they think they can get away with this reprehensible behavior?
Because we do it all the time ourselves.
We repeat gossip and rumor, forward garbage e-mails, and convince ourselves that falsehoods which fit our world view are actually the truth.
So I’m wondering – why would we expect the people who represent us to not reflect us in this way as well?
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