Search This Blog

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Fact-Checkers Howl, but Both Sides Cling to False Ads" -

Maybe THE most important issue for future elections:  How to provide some accountability for truthfulness (or a lack thereof) to the American electorate?

Fact-Checkers Howl, but Both Sides Cling to False Ads -

'via Blog this'

"In his very first television advertisement last year, Mitt Romneyhighlighted the nation’s dire unemployment crisis, its record number of home foreclosures and the rising national debt, and showed video of President Obama delivering this arresting remark: “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”  There was one problem: the quotation was taken so wildly out of context that it turned Mr. Obama’s actual meaning upside-down. The truncated clip came from a speech Mr. Obama gave in 2008 talking about his opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona. The full quotation? “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’ ”, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking Web site, rated the advertisement “Pants on Fire,” its most deceptive rating possible, but it achieved what the Romney campaign had hoped: people started talking about the sluggish economy and how Mr. Obama’s campaign promises had fallen short. And it set the tone for the campaign that followed, which has often seemed dismissive of fact-checkers.
“We’re not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Neil Newhouse, the Romney campaign’s pollster, said this week during a breakfast discussion at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., that was sponsored by ABC News and Yahoo News. He said that fact-checkers brought their own sets of thoughts and beliefs to their work, and that the campaign stands behind its ads. 
Every four years there are lies in campaigns, and at times a blurry line between acceptable political argument and outright sophistry. But recent events — from the misleading statements in convention speeches to television advertisements repeating widely debunked claims — have raised new questions about whether the political culture still holds any penalty for falsehood. 
Brooks Jackson, the director of, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, said that at various points this year both sides have blithely gone on repeating statements that were found false. “They don’t care,” he said, “because it gets votes.” The increasingly disaggregated media ecosystem, the diminished trust in traditional news organizations and the rise of social media had made it easier than ever to inject questionable assertions directly into the media bloodstream — and to rebut them.
But while there is arguably more fact-checking now than ever — and, thanks to the Web, more ways to independently check what candidates and campaigns say — verdicts that a campaign has crossed the line are often drowned out by dissent from its supporters, who take it upon themselves to check the checkers...(cont.)"
*A version of this article appeared in print on September 1, 2012, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Fact-Checkers Howl, but Campaigns Seem Attached to Dishonest Ads.

Birmingham Angel Network, LLC's Fan Box