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June 13, 2012 8:43 AM The Tongue Is Quicker Than the Eye

By Mark Kleiman

Pay close attention, class. The one moves fast

1. Mitt Romney criticizes Barack Obama for saying we need more police, firefighters, and teachers.

2. Mitt Romney gets roasted for saying that.

3. Romney surrogate John Sununu says remark wasn’t a gaffe, and defends it.

4. Obama campaign is all over Romney about wanting fewer police, firefighters, and teachers.

5. Romney goes on TV and says it’s “completely absurd” to charge that he doesn’t want more police, firefighters, and teachers.

This is part of a pattern. Mitt Romney is a chronic, pathological, utterly shameless, pants-on-fire (thirteen times so far), four-Pinocchios liar.

Kevin Drum thinks that the rules have changed – that even Presidential candidates can now get away with constant fibbing – and that Romney is simply smart enough to have noticed.

I’m not so sure. It’s possible that the press will start to report Romney’s lies as lies. That’s unconventional, but he’s asking for it.

Or perhaps some super-PAC will come along and run some spots on Romney’s mendacity. I doubt even low-information swing voters really like being lied to.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.

Comments

  • T2 on June 13, 2012 4:46 PM:

    " I doubt even low-information swing voters really like being lied to."
    oh come on...as long as the lie fits what they hear on FOX, they are good to go.

    But I think Kevin Drum is correct that the rules have changed. If you sneak a cookie out of the jar and momma sees you do it, and just smiles, then you'll sneak another. Then pretty soon you'll just start taking cookies whenever you want. The question Drum doesn't answer (although I know he knows the answer) is WHO is supposed to be watching the cookie jar??? It used to be the Press. It ain't no more. And WHY?

  • Mark-NC on June 14, 2012 7:59 AM:

    Kevin Drum is ALMOST correct. The new rule is that Republicans can lie with impunity. Doesn't work for our side.

    Why? Because WE care about lying and don't like liars. We come to sites like this to get the real story that explains what today's spin is - from both sides.

    On the right? the world is different. Repugnant Ones can lie at will and they know it. The radio personalities like Rush and Beck will back whatever they say regardless of facts as will the Fox propaganda channel. AND - when caught lying, their base writes it off as "everybody does it" or whatever it takes to win is OK with us.

    As for the press - if/when they work up the guts to point out the most obvious of lies - the right wingers pounce with the "Liberal Press" screaming. Works nearly every time.

  • Robert on June 14, 2012 9:57 AM:

    "It used to be the Press. It ain't no more. And WHY?"

    There is a complicated answer to this question and I am not qualified to present it. But the heart of the matter is that the MSM News organizations are now more than ever beholden to corporate organizations that on the one hand demand better returns on their 'investment' and on the other are more integrated into the plutocracy then ever before. Don't expect honesty and independence from people who are no longer independent and can't afford to be honest. Even NPR is desperately tacking to starboard.

  • david1234 on June 14, 2012 10:23 AM:

    I think the press's point of view is that if the Obama campaign will not point out that Romney is a liar, why should they? Republicans get away with lying because they know that the Democrats will refuse to make an issue of it.

  • N.Wells on June 14, 2012 11:43 AM:

    Here's the upcoming media coverage on Romney's lies when he finally tells a string of whoppers that even the press can't ignore: "Obama Lies Too". Fox will drop the "Too".

  • Another Steve on June 14, 2012 12:19 PM:

    @david1234

    Wrong. The MSM's point of view is that it's the Obama campaign's job to point out that Romney is a serial liar and then it's their job to report:

    "Obama says Romney is a serial liar. Romney, however, says that claim is just another example of the Obama campaign's desperate desire to change the subject from Obama's out of touch failure to create jobs despite being sole dictator of the nation for three and a half years. Where this story will end, no one can say. Back to you Wolf."

    "Thank's Candy, we'll have to leave it there. Coming up next: Obama, desperate and sinking or victim of his own incompetence? And the epidemic of human cannibal zombie bathsalt user attacks. Will they attack attractive young white women?"

  • Robert on June 14, 2012 3:47 PM:

    "Wrong. The MSM's point of view is that it's the Obama campaign's job to point out that Romney is a serial liar and then it's their job to report:"

    Bull Shit. Did the story on Watergate come out as a result of Teddy Kennedy hanging out in parking lots. You people who believe this 'media as umpire shit' ought to read some history. The press is there to keep every side honest not to 'he said/she said' the shit out of us. As for whether Obama should do more calling out of Romney's lies, Of course he should. But that does not explain or excuse the media's willingness to ignore Romney's lies.

  • T2 on June 14, 2012 3:48 PM:

    pretty funny, Another Steve. and unfortunately true.

  • Robert on June 14, 2012 4:01 PM:

    This just in from Bennen: NOT ONLY IS THE MEDIA NOT CALLING ROMNEY ON HIS LIES, THEY ARE USING THEM TO ATTACK OBAMA

    What happened to Nemschoff Chairs?
    By Steve Benen - Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:43 AM EDT
    Earlier this week, President Obama sat down with a reporter from an NBC affiliate Iowa, who asked the president to explain why a local company had closed "as a direct result" of the Affordable Care Act. Obama said that was almost certainly not true, causing the Romney campaign to pounce -- it was proof the president didn't understand how "Oba,acare" is "hurting small businesses."

    So, who's right? I'll give you a hint: it's not Romney.

    The company is called Nemschoff Chairs, and it makes medical furniture. Did it the company close? Actually, no -- as Jonathan Bernstein noted, Nemschoff Chairs is moving from Iowa to Wisconsin, not closing up shop.

    Did Nemschoff Chairs struggle as a result of the Affordable Care Act? Strike two -- Greg Sargent talked to the company's spokesperson, who completely contradicted Romney's version of events.

    It turns out that the company didn't close because of Obamacare at all, according to a company spokesperson. What's more, the company sees lack of demand as the key problem -- a lack of demand that is partly due to the drive to repeal or modify Obamacare, not to the implementation of the law itself. [...]

    Obamacare's implementation had nothing to do with the decision, Mark Schurman, a spokesman for parent company Herman Miller, tells me.

    "We never said health care reform is the reason we're closing and consolidating that operation," Schurman said. "We never said it's the result of the health care reform legislation."

    This is especially inconvenient for Romney -- the company spokesperson not only debunked the GOP claim, he also reinforced Obama's argument about the economy. Worse, Nemschoff Chairs' said the Republican effort to kill the Affordable Care Act is causing "uncertainty" that's undermining business.

    Wait, it gets even better.

    Glenn Kessler dug a little deeper and found what caused financial troubles for the company in the first place.

    [C]utbacks in federal government spending -- precisely what Republicans such as Romney have demanded -- led to the closure of the Nemschoff facility in Iowa, not the health care law.

    Romney thought he'd finally hit a goldmine: a small business in a swing state that closed its doors because of Obamacare. Instead, we see a company that suffered as a result of government spending cuts, and moved its business for reasons that have nothing to do with health care reform.

  • Milt on June 14, 2012 4:37 PM:

    I have heard or read the following terms used by the mass media or by the Democratic Party when referring to Romney and the Republicans: fib, misreport, misstate, exaggerate, deviate from the truth, fallacious, erroneous, unfounded, apocryphal, factitious, fabricated, invented, insincere, disingenuous. When are they going start using the correct term: lie? The Republicans and their mouth pieces have no problem. Enough of being polite.

  • CONNIE OBER on June 19, 2012 1:33 PM:

    WHEN ARE THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY GOING TO WAKE UP? ROMNEY SAID SO HIMSELF, THAT HE COULD LIE HIS WAY INTO THE WHITE HOUSE AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HE'S DOING. HE COULDN'T TELL THE TRUTH IF IT HIT HIM IN THE FACE. ALL HE CARES ABOUT IS HIMSELF, NOT THE POOR, THE HOMELESS,THE SICK OR THE HANDICAPPED. THIS WHOLE ELECTION HAS ONLY BEEN ABOUT HIM, NOBODY ELSE COUNTS. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD VOTE FOR SOMEBODY WHO WANTS THE WOMEN AND THE POOR TO DISAPPEAR? ROMNEY IS A SELF-CENTERED JACKASS AND WORSE. EVERYTHING IS OBAMA'S FAULT. WELL IT'S NOT, GEORGE BUSH, THE JERK, STARTED THE WARS, COLLASPED THE INTIRE ECOMIC SYSTEM, DISTROYED BUSINESSES, ALL FOR THE SAKE OF HIS DADDY. HIS DADDY'S A CROWARD JUST LIKE HIS SON. START SOMETHING AND THEN GO HIDE SOMEWHERE SO SOEONE ELSE GETS THE BLAME. BUSH IS THE ONE WHO SCREWED UP AMERICA. MILLIONS OF OUR TROOPS DIED JUST SO HE COULD MAKE HIMSELF LOOK GOOD IN FRONT OF DADDY. IS HE THAT GULLIBLE? HE NEVER EVEN TRIED TO GET BEN LIDEN. HE JUST RAN OFF AND HID. ROMNEY IS SUCK A FAKE. YOU CAN SEE IT ON HIS FACE.HIS WIFE COULD AFFORD TO STAY AT HOME AND RAISE HER 4 BOYS, THAT WAS YEARS AGO. NOW IF A WOMAN DOESN'T WORK, PEOPLE PUT THEM DOWN ABOUT IT. YOU CAN NOT AFFORD TO LET ONE PARTNER STAY AT HOME WHILE THE OTHER ONE WORKS. STUFF IS WAY OUT OF SIGHT, YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY A LOAF OF BREAD. ROMNEY--- WHERE DO YOU GET OFF CALLING JOHN F. KENNEDY A JACKASS? HE WAS ONE OF OUR GREATEST PRESIDENTS EVER. AT LEAST, HE KNEW WHAT THE TRUTH WAS AND FOOLS LIKE YOU HAD TO KILL HIM. I WAS JUST 6 YEARS OLD WHEN HE DIED, THAT'S PRETTY YOUNG TO REMEMBER SUCH A HORRIBLE AND HISTORICAL THING. ROMNEY, YOU'RE THE ONLY JACKASS IN THIS WORLD. STOP SHOWING YOUR ASS AND GET HONEST FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE. IT'S TIME THE PEOPLE STOP BELIEVING LIES AND GET TO THE TRUTH FOR ONCE. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GO BACK AND READ YOUR HISTORY BOOKS AND FIND OUT THE TRUTH. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TELL US WOMEN TO STOP USING BIRTH CONTROL, GET REGULAR CHECKUPS FOR CANCER,ETC. YOU ARE NOT GOD, YOU JUST THINK YOU ARE. KEEP YOUR STUPID IGNORANT OPIONS TO YOURSELF. WE FOUND FOR OUR RIGHTS JUST LIKE THE BLACK PEOPLE DID. YOU HAVE NOT RIGHT AT ALL TO TELL US WOMEN WHAT TO DO WITH OUR BODIES. MAYBE IT'S TIME, WE WOMEN STARTED TO TELL YOU MEN HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODIES. YOU GO GET A PAP TEST DONE, A MAMOGRAPH, A BONE DENESITY TEST DONE EVERY OTHER YEAR. YOU LAY FLAT ON YOUR BACK ON A COLD TABLE WITH YOUR BODY SHOWN TO WHOEVER WANTS TO SEE. NOW DAYS, THE DOCTORS HAVE A INTERN DOING THE TESTS. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? LEAVE WOMENS BODIES OUT OF POLOTICS, THAT'S NOT THE PLACE FOR VERY PERSONAL THINGS TO BE DISCUSSED ABOUT ON TV OR ANYWHERE ELSE. GO HOE, JERK, TO YOUR CADILLACS, CAR ELEVATOR, YOUR SO-CALLED BUSINESSES, WHO DID YOU RIP OFF TO GET THIS FAR IN POLOTICS ANYWHERE. WE DON'T NEED YOU, BUSH LEFT THIS COUNTRY IN BAD ENOUGH SHAPE AS IT IS. OBAMA HAS BEEN WORKING VERY HARD TO GET THINGS GOINNG AGAIN AND HE DESERVES THE RIGHT TO FINISH IT. WITH HIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE, THINGS ARE ALOT BETTER. JUST BECAUSE HE'S BLACKDOESN'T MEAN HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE'S DOING. AT LEAST, HE'S TRYING TO DO SOMETHING FOR THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY, THAT'S ORE THAN WHAT YOU EVER DID, YOU LIKE TO FIRE PEOPLE TO UCH TO HELP THEM.

  • d brown on July 15, 2012 9:00 PM:

    The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, because the vast masses of a nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad.

    The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them more easy victims of a big lie than a small one, because they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell big ones.
    Such a form of lying would never enter their heads. They would never credit others with the possibility of such great impudence as the complete reversal of facts. Even explanations would long leave them in doubt and hesitation, and any trifling reason would dispose them to accept a thing as true.
    Something therefore always remains and sticks from the most imprudent of lies, a fact which all bodies and individuals concerned in the art of lying in this world know only too well, and therefore they stop at nothing to achieve this end.
    ~ Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

    Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it .
    ~Adolph Hitler