Keller @ Large: Why Can’t They Get Their Facts Straight?

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 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.


Never mind.

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, 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?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

  • FireGuyFrank

    You’re right, Jon. Consider a disagreement with a spouse or significant other; does one bend the truth or manipulate details to suit the argument? Of course.

    Politicians do it for the same reason — to WIN. There are so many times in our lives that we think we are facing a win-lose scenario. In the current times, Democrats want to WIN on the economy because it means better chances of being re-elected. Meanwhile, Republicans want to WIN by defeating most of what the president and Democrats put forth just in case it would work.

    The latest “Jobs Bill” is not the first spending program, so Republicans and others have some history to support the argument that it won’t work. However, even if is passed as is AND it actually WORKED, by the time the effects were truly felt, it would beyond the election cycle next year. There is no energy drink for the economy.

    So we will hear more whoppers over the next 14 months. Folks, you may want to bookmark

  • Stephen Stein

    Quoting a part of the FactCheck article you failed to mention:
    “In March 2010, six House Republicans joined 211 Democrats to help pass a pared-down version of the bill, then called the HIRE Act. The $17.5 billion bill included a temporary payroll tax break to companies that hire jobless people.”

    “On Aug. 5, 2010, two Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine, crossed party lines and voted for a bill that included $10 billion for state governments to spare thousands of teachers whose jobs were imperiled by strapped state budgets.”

    So when Obama said this idea was supported by Republicans in the past, he was telling the truth. (More Republicans were in favor of these ideas in the Bush administration, when defeating a Democratic President wasn’t considered more important than helping the country.)

    • foamy

      And what you both fail to mention is that the House vote on the HIRE Act included 35 DEMOCRATS who voted against it, along with the 6 Republicans who voted for it. And to say that Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are Republicans is like saying John Silber was a Democrat. When people pull out those two names to promote “bipartisanship” it’s entirely laughable. And Tom – give me a break. No true Republicans are in favore of creating more public-sector jobs (or, to be more accurate, construction jobs paid for by our tax dollars)., or for another “Stimulus” package that’s doomed to fail even worse than that last one that was twice this size. This President and the last two Congresses have turned this country into “Regulation Nation” – and THAT’S why jobs aren’t being created. Period.

  • blackbear1

    I do hope the Denice family can see thru and stand up to any fake overatures the governor attempts to make to them. He has already shown a great deal of insensitivity and lack of character. He has also in a previous statment w/regards to the Police Officer killed in a shootout in Woburn by a man on parole who had life sentences said that we only seem interested in recriminations. That was a very poor first response to questioning the parole board. He just steadfastly refuses to acknowledge illegal immigration. I do not get how this man thinks. He is all for the “bad guys”.

  • Tom Kenny

    Not only is Stephen Stein correct in his statement about some Republican support, the President was correct in his statement in general. Many Republican voters are in support of a stimulus to create jobs. Unlike the House of Representatives, the public has a mind of it’s own and does not vote lockstep with whatever their leadership demands. Most Americans want an American victory in the economy and on job creation and are not just selfishly thinking of winning a political game. I fear, like most media now, the inclusion of an unsubstantiated Obama falsehood was trying to be fair and balanced. That is not always necessary.

  • mikey

    It appears to me that this countrys fiscal problems are beyond being resolved by either our president or the others seeking the presidency – we’re too far gone.

    For the most part, being a public sector employee certainly has its advantages in a downtrodden economy such as the one we’re currently witnessing.

  • emom

    Jon, how true, , This is the very reason so many do not want to vote for any of them, The simple hint of something TO GO TO BE TRUE, well for the most part that is true.. How many times do we hear a politician of some level tell us well , WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR STATEMENT, but in the end they fail to deliver., OH NO do not give me they under estimated how bad, or they DID NOT get the facts, Or they were LIED to.. YEAH heard those statements and many others, No new this and we plan this, and going forward we plan this. But one in office they ALL, and I mean ALL, state a far different garden of weeds, Like dandelions, rag weed, and poison Ivy & sumacs.. Their words spread like these weeds, as soon as we vote NO , they come back and change the wording to get us SUCKERED in to believe once again that its for our own good. WAIT WEEDS ARE NOT THERE FOR OUR OWN GOOD, WERE IS THE WEED KILLER.I have some spraying to do…. I find myself walking away form voting only because of the many LIES we hear,,, WHATS that you say.,, but there is no lies.. …. I find myself walking away form voting only because of the many LIES we hear,,, WHATS that you say.,, but there is no lies.. SURE there is, up front they tell us what we want to hear to capture our attention, solutions to all our problems, Once in office BAM the ultimate in lie’s, they go back on their words and change so many things and create what we have today. So are we totally surprised at what they will do, they are LIKE WEEDS and at this point they have overgrown their welcome, Its time we eradicate them before they completely take over.. Hey Jon by any chance do you have any INDUSTRIAL STRENGHT WEED BEGONE. WE NEED IT… LOL

    • roudydowdy

      I love you emom and your caps lock key

  • tsal

    It’s why I rarely listen to what a politician says, more often listen to how he/she says it, and always watch his/her record. I hope there is a lot of fact checking on Perry in the future. Bachman takes a lot of heat for pulling facts out of the blue but IMHO she can’t hold a candle to Perry. He just plains scares the heck out of me.

  • emom

    So lets see, explain how in the world The GOVERNOR & the last 3 PRESIDENTS gain access to their offices, and have done not a darn thing to help it people, protect us and assured us the promises they told to us during their campaigns, how do selectmen manage to swindle us with their sweet talking charms and yet FOOL us, by pulling the wool over us and we then re-elect them for yet another term, If we as Americans don’t like such practices then WHY do we get DUPED into another promise less gold plated lie.. I mean their brand of the truth is nothing more than a lie, IS IT NOT. I mean NO NEW TAXES , should mean no new taxes, OH but it did,, OOPS we got duped and they just raised the old taxes,,, OH but wait it’s a new larger tax so it’s a new tax, We hear they plan on creating jobs, YEAH RIGHT, and what brand of skunk beer are you sipping,,,, Gee is our children lied about something and we caught them in that lie,, OH BOY we would whoop their hinnies Yet we believe the lie and let it slide, WRONG… a lie is a lie,, and we all know most LIE like RUG. Sorry but its true. SO once again I wonder who will get in to office in the next elections, GEEEEEE I WONDER… a pack of lying cheating , careless out for collateral and that golden purse.. OH wait it’s a fight to be in the chocolate factory.,,,,, AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH. Go lick a wall. Better yet, stick your lying tongue on that cold pole, see who comes and saves you .. Bunch of adults crying wolf and we suckers believe them..

  • mwils

    People believe a lie because they want it to be the truth or they are afraid that it might be the truth.

  • Sue Runyon

    False equivalency here – both sides do NOT behave similarly. It’s undeniable that the right side of the aisle is currently much less truthful and is MUCH, MUCH more dishonest now that Democrats are. If you read the factchecking sites, they call out the Republicans much more often for their blatant dishonesty. The worse chain emails that are out there are ALL from the right. It’s not equal, and anyone in the press who alleges that it is shouldn’t do so!

  • Sue Runyon

    And wasn’t honest about what Obama said – everything that he’s proposing HAS BEEN supported by Repubicans in the past – some of them were supported by Republicans in years past, not in just the past 2 or 3 years, but all of the kinds of things he’s proposing, they’ve supported!

    In fact, a healthy proportion of what Obama’s proposed in his almost 3 years in office has either been a former Republican proposal, or tailored to meet their demands! The idea that Obama was pushing was that the Republicans don’t have any legitimate justifications for opposing what he’s campaigning for.

    • Joe

      Your response is a perfect example of what Jon’s saying: “everything that he’s proposing” … “some of them” … “all of the kinds of things he’s proposing” … “a healthy proportion” — these kinds of statements are indefinable, unassailable and indefensible all at the same time and may as well have been stated by the very politicians we’re talking about.

      What are your sources? What is a “healthy” proportion?

      Just the facts, please

    • tsal

      You are absolutely correct

  • Why Do They Do It? | Greediocracy

    […] Keller of WBZ in Boston offered up his explanation in his “Keller @ Large” commentary for Sept. 15. It was prompted by our coverage of the recent Republican presidential […]

  • Martin Gotwalt

    Few truly ready notifys on this scene, saved to specials .

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