When Fiction Becomes Fact, Confusion Reigns

This election season will be remembered as the most scurrilous in America’s history. It has sunk so low that today’s local newspaper leads with an attempt to separate campaign “facts” from fiction. “Fact checking” has become a subset of American media as the lies shower down upon us.

In any political campaign, you expect some deliberate misrepresentation. Politicians do not necessarily restrict themselves to being honest and fair; they say what they must to get elected. But I can’t recall a campaign in which so many deliberate lies were fabricated and disseminated.

I am sure the fact checkers will find that both sides have abused the truth. They must do that to deflect charges of bias. But, surely, no unbiased observer would deny that the lies overwhelmingly come from the Romney-Ryan campaign.

Just this morning, for example, Mitt Romney issued a statement accusing President Obama of apologizing to Muslims in response to their murder of America’s ambassador to Libya.

No such apology occurred. So Romney invented it.

In a Salon.com article today, Steve Kornacki sets the record straight. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“It’s disgraceful,” Romney’s statement, which was released late Tuesday night, read, “that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

That’s not at all what happened, of course. The actual chronology goes something like this: As anti-American protests inspired by a crude Terry Jones video began gathering steam, the U.S. embassy in Cairo – and not the Obama White House — put out a statement condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

The obvious intent was to cool the passions of the protesters. As Marc Ambinder explained, it was “exactly what Americans inside the embassy who are scared for their lives now and worry about revenge later need to have released in their name.”

When a despicable individual makes a lewd film about a major religious figure and promotes it on You Tube, no decent person applauds. Certainly not President Obama. And when America’s enemies make this an excuse to incite attacks against the nation’s foreign embassies, nobody is more outraged than the president. As soon as he learned of the Libyan attack, President Obama promised the United States would “work with the Libyan government to bring to justice” those who killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans at the Benghazi consulate .

“Make no mistake. Justice will be done,” he said

To guard against further attacks, Obama ordered “all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe.”

And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton immediately responded with this statement:

I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.

Salon’s headline describes Romney’s reaction to the Libyan tragedy as “shameful,” and I would call that an understatement.

But it’s par for the course in this putrid campaign.

I have to wonder why the Romney-Ryan campaign would make blatantly false statements that can be easily refuted. What do they hope to gain from it? The only people who would believe such patent falsehoods are already irrevocably anti-Obama.

I assume the objective is to spread confusion and get voters so turned off that they throw up their hands in exasperation and stay home on November 6. If the propagandists can create the impression that it’s useless to try and sort out the issues, perhaps Americans won’t realize how much they have to lose if they elect Republicans to Congress and Romney to the White House.

Even when the lies are exposed and the accusations against the president refuted, the Romney-Ryan propaganda machine might succeed in creating an overall impression that President Obama is to blame for everything that goes wrong in this crazy world of ours.

Click here for Steve Kornacki’s article.

Click here for a review of Ryan’s lies.

Click here for more on the offensive film.