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Aug 31, 2012

Lies, damned lies, and politicians

I admit something right up front: I have not been watching the RNC. I can't bear it. Instead I watch the Daily Show to get me a factually-correct and contextually-relevant synopsis. And some snort-coffee-through-my-nose hilarity, of course.

I was watching the Hermain Cain interview from the other night. In order to see the relevant parts, you have to watch the internet interview, which has some extra content, and check out around 24:30. Jon Stewart was actually grilling Cain fairly hard on Cain's support of the Romney ad claiming that Obama removed the work requirement for welfare recipients. 

This is what is particularly amusing about the presidential race this time around. We aren't actually debating any issues. We're debating FACTS.


That's right, folks, we are now in the realm of subjective truths. Of course, this is complete and utter nuttery, because truths are not subjective. Either they're true, or they're false. Here we have an example. Cain, and Stewart went back and forth for a minute over which of them was correct about the nature of this particular reality. How was it solved? By Stewart calling to someone off-camera, who spent 20-30 seconds doing a search on the internet about the actual facts. The answer came back easily: Romney's pants are on fire.

Now, what followed next was what happens when actually rational people are shown evidence that they are incorrect. They recant their statement! Yes, I saw it with my own eyes, Herman Cain announced to the Daily Show audience that he was wrong.

Now, is this a good or a bad thing? Of course, in the case of Cain, it's great. Will this reach the collective consciousness of the US, though? Maybe yes, and maybe no. It may very well be the case that an oft-repeated but blatant lie about Obama will lose him the presidency.

What that says about the nature of the GOP these days I leave up to you. What that says about the US citizens' ability to determine fact from fiction, I can clearly say this. When they hear it from a source they trust, they don't doubt it, ever. So no matter how many birth certificates are produced, no matter how many rape statistics are shown to them, no matter how many times the actual truth is provided, unscrupulous bastards can always fool the public with fearmongering.

I hope it's in vain. I suspect that it actually may be, since as this tidbit worms its way through the collective consciousness of America, people who are honestly on the fence will probably figure out that the guy's a lying sack of beans. The question is, will that happen in time for the election?

1 comment:

Shripathi Kamath said...

At the 24:50 mark, starts what I see as the conversation ending victory.

Cain has started off by asking "let's work together instead of calling names"
Stewart replies with "that would be great, so why are the Republicans demonizing Obama, and why would anyone work with someone if they are demonized"
Cain responds "Both sides do it"
Stewart surrenders saying "yes, cannot disagree with that"

And that is how you win with false equivalence.

Do both sides do it just as much?
Are both sides as egregious?
Did both sides simultaneously start this, or did one side started it as a response to the other?"

The tactic is winning. You start by demonizing the other side. Lie, distort, attack.

When countered claim persecution, being quoted of context etc.

When disproved (like Cain was), simply says "oops, but both sides do it"

Now imagine if you do this on a larger scale, and in greater volume.

Not every lie will be refuted. Nor every lie that is refuted will be corrected. And every lie that is corrected will be washed away through false equivalence.

This is precisely why negative campaigning wins. Our media is inept, and when they are not, they succumb to false equivalence for some bizarre notion that one needs to have balance.

So for every Romney lie, they'll post an Obama lie, however small or less damaging.

To win that game, all Romney has to do is lie more.

That Romney is still losing is a testament to the stupendous stupidity of his campaign.