Who’s lying the most

11 Dec

political-lies-sizedWe’ve posted dozens of stories over the past couple of years pointing out the slow death of the Republican Party.

One of the things that mystified us the most was why the major press never looked at that and why.

The presidential campaign of 2012 was mostly covered as “he said-she said” which is lazy journalism in that it presents itself and doesn’t take any work.

No, we’re not moaning about others not seeing our view.

We spent years as professional journalists and to us it seemed clear.

The big story of politics 2012 was the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth.

Anyone who follows politics can’t miss that the GOP leaders have become ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

We don’t remember a campaign (national or local) where we’ve seen more lying going on.

While Democrats were hardly innocent, to us the Republicans were far more over the top.

Lies from Republicans generally, and Mitt Romney in particular, weren’t limited to the occasional TV ads, either.

The party’s most central campaign principles – federal spending doesn’t create jobs, reducing taxes on the rich could create jobs and lower the deficit – simply disregarded the truth.

They stuck to them because they think that’s what people want to hear and it will bring success to the party.

To us, this is the great unreported story of American politics.

If you as a voter are going to make an informed choice and hold politicians accountable, you have to know what’s going on.

And if the media says constantly that Democrats and Republicans are to blame – equally – then it’s doing a disservice to voters, and not doing what journalism is supposed to do.

Sure, political journalists hear these arguments all the time. Mostly from left-wing bloggers.

But now it’s coming from those that are bipartisan and moderate.

Newsroom’s today have to look out for the economic wellbeing of their news organizations, as well as their professional standing and vulnerability to charges of partisan bias.

The easiest answer – keep on with business as usual.

We’re not talking about columnists in the paper, we’re talking about political reporters, especially in TV.

Most reporters simply refused to blame one side more than the other.

Sure, most of them are young an inexperienced, especially in Hawaii.

But even the good ones didn’t call out either side for the lying going on.

The occasional fact-checking story may have made things worse rather than better.

One fact-checking story is not a substitute for coherent, serious reporting — and most of the time it just got stuck in the second segment of the show and there was no cost to a candidate of ignoring it, which almost all did.

We are neither anti Republican nor anti-Democrat.

We are pro-reality and believe voters should have a chance to respond in an appropriate way.

Politics will never really get better until the Republican Party gets back into the game, instead of playing a new one.

America needs a strong two-party system, and that means a strong, conservative Republican Party — but one with some connection with reality.

The rise of Tea Party influence on the GOP was a major turning point.

The tipping point came was the debt ceiling hostage-taking.

It was clear then that the Republicans would do or say anything to hurt Obama, even if it was bad for the country and false to core Republican values.

The GOP stopped being a conventional conservative party.

Maybe the Republicans learned something when the Democrats won soundly this year.

Probably not.

As for the press – it has the responsibility to use professional norms of accuracy and fairness and not let the reporter’s own personal feelings get in the way.

It has missed an incredibly important story that’s been developing over a period of time.

They slipped it in here and there, they buried it, but really don’t confront it.

Yes, there are concerns about advertisers.

There are concerns about being labeled as biased.

But what are they there for?

What’s the whole notion of a free press for if they’re not going to report without fear or favor and news organizations don’t report what its reporters, after doing their due diligence, see as the truth?

If they don’t do that, then you can expect a growing drumbeat of criticism that they are failing in their fundamental responsibility.

A reporter’s job is to report the truth. And sometimes there are two sides to a story. Sometimes there are ten sides to a story. Sometimes there’s only one.

Somebody has got to make an assessment of whether the two political sides are being equally careless with their facts, or equally deliberate with their lies.

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