Lying to Win

| 9/15/2008 2:05:31 PM

Tags: Politics, Election 2008, John McCain, campaign tactics, Slate, the Nation, Ron Suskind, New York Times Magazine, Andrew Sullivan,

McCain at Rally

Fact checkers have been all over John McCain lately, exposing a bevy of fibs, half-truths, and straight-up lies emanating from his campaign. Even Karl Rove, the king of political dirty tricks, scolded the campaign (and Obama’s) this weekend for going too far. But McCain’s troops have paid their critics little attention.

Why? Because lying works, according to Farhad Manjoo, writing for Slate. Manjoo calls facts “a stock of faltering value.” He says the increasingly fragmented media landscape “lets us consume news that we like and avoid news that we don’t, leading people to perceive reality in a way that conforms to their long-held beliefs.”

Blogging for the Nation, Ari Berman looks back at a 2004 Ron Suskind piece from the New York Times Magazine that noted the irrelevance of facts in the Bush administration:

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

The McCain camp seems to agree. Berman quotes the campaign’s response to stories about their truth-stretching: “We recognize it's not going to be 2000 again. But he lost then. We're running a campaign to win. And we're not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say about it.”

bennett gordon
9/24/2008 10:28:33 AM

Interesting report on the "Obama" lies. Too bad the author admits that any connection to Obama or his campaign is "pure conjecture on my part." Explosive!

9/24/2008 9:58:18 AM

@CF: wow, hilarious. Sorry...couldn't find the "about us" section of this Jawa Report site, but it sure doesn't seem very credible, what with its Star Wars references, editor "titles" of Editor in Chief, Sith Master, Admiral, and Pimptastick Blog Overlord (really??) and obvious complete bias. Try finding a credible source for your information before you post here. Additionally, I like that the potential mistruths in a YouTube video (jesus, everyone knows how credible and highly regarded YouTube videos are), with a long and shady alleged connection to the "behind-the-scenes" Obama campaign is compared to OUTRIGHT lies in McCain's own campaign commercials. "I'm John McCain and I approved this message." You don't have to search for that conspiracy!!! There are a lot of posts out there in cyberspace with ridiculous lies about Obama, too. Let's stick to the real issues.

9/22/2008 8:12:04 PM

Let's hold the sanctimony please. Here is a devastating study of how Sen. Obama's troops are lying to win, and it is much more troubling than the usual politics. UTNE and fellow UTNE readers, are you honorable enough to look at yourselves and absorb the ramifications of this investigation? "Hope, Change, & Lies: Orchestrated "Grassroots" Smear Campaigns & the People that Run Them"

9/22/2008 4:29:20 PM

Dear AMK: Sir,I am in total agreement with you yet, at the same time, I am of little faith at present. The ones shouting the loudest mendacities and absurdities are gobbling up all the oxygen. These folks are masters of deceit and of doublespeak; they inhabit a planet of corruption and power grabbing where the word "ethic" has been deleted. This campaign began like a bright shooting star that illuminated us with hope and excitement. Today, I am terrified that the real "forces of evil" may plunge us into an endless black hole! tututango

gary ashcraft
9/22/2008 12:48:51 PM


jessica _1
9/16/2008 11:17:19 AM

I find it unbelievable that the McCain camp uses straight-up lies (see: drilling offshore will reduce American gas prices in the near future) and, though the media exposes these lies, they continue using these issues in ads and speeches. How can people accept this? Regardless of who you support, do you support the government lying to its citizens, to win an election or for any other reason?? If so, I guess you do support four more years of Bush policy. Here's CNN debunking some of the McCain camp's lies:

col. a.m.khajawall [ret]
9/15/2008 3:26:33 PM

Dear concerned citizens of America and Mass Media of the U.S.A. As a concerned registered independent voter, forensic psychiatrist, disabled American I made my decision to vote after taking into consideration following joint tickets attributes and characteristics. 1. Has the ticket shown adequate calmness, coolness, and connectedness's under pressure to lead our nation [Presidential Temperament]? 2. Has the ticket shown sustained sound "Judgment and Caliber"? 3. Has the ticket shown adequate understanding of depth and degree to address the crucial challenges in their their purpose, policies, and positions [ Honesty, integrity and sincerity]? 4. Has the ticket sufficient "understanding and knowledge" of inside Washington workings [Experience]"? 5. Has the ticket reservoir resilience, wisdom, and vigor to address the present and future f our beloved "Great-grand Nation"? 6. Has the ticket enough joint foreign policy experience and exposure based on " Values, Virtues, Vastness, and " [American moral soul]"? 7. Has their campaign talk, slogans, ads, plans, and programs based on facts and are they free of fear, fiction, frivolous labels, unfair attacks, negativity, and impulsively? [No "imminent danger to national security and safety"]. 8. Has the ticket genuinely kept on message of country first and politics last and avoided copying [Message change"]? 9.Has the ticket message stayed away from Culture divide and war[ Disaster prevention ]? 10. Has the ticket resisted being surrounded, supported and surrogate's by divisiveness, distortion's, and destructive characters, [ Real patriotism VS shiftiness and shameless parrot-ism]? I have personally and professionally concluded that OBAMA-BIDEN ticket will lift and inspire our greatgrand nation back to its greatness within and restore our global standing with the use of maximum, firm international dipl