Thursday, September 6, 2012

Both Facts and Fact Checking Are Casualties in the Republican Campaign Against Mr. Obama – And May Be in the Democratic Campaign As Well

But Fact Checking Needs to be Fact Checking, Not Trying to Write a Balanced Report

An observation in the New York Times about the factual basis of political campaigns is right on.  There is no factual basis in political campaigns.  Here is the comment on the speeches of Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan at the just concluded Republican National Convention.

The two speeches — peppered with statements that were incorrect or incomplete — seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign, one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside.

But notice that the statement doesn’t especially single out the Republicans, because the news media is so afraid of the accusation of bias that it wants to portray both parties as evil doers.  Both parties do avoid factual representation, but Republicans seem to make it a part of their campaign, while Democrats are more likely to do so in passing. 

Here is the example of why fact checking and those who write about fact checking need to go do something else.

The Obama campaign, for its part, ran a deceptive ad saying that Mitt Romney had “backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in case of rape and incest,” although he currently supports exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.

What the Obama campaign said is true.  Mr. Romney backed the so-called “Human Life” legislation which if enacted would legally state that all human life began at conception, and which would then ban abortion any reason. Really, he did, its on video tape.  Anyone can check it out. So this is not conjecture, this is not speculation, it is documented fact.  To call it deceptive is wrong.  It is factual.

In the  Democratic Convention it may well be that the Democrats match the Republicans in lies and deceit.  They probably won't, that's a high bar to clear, but let’s wait until they actually do it before rendering judgment that they have done it.

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