Transcript: Thom Hartmann: If a politician lies on corporate TV...did he really lie? 22 November '11
Here’s a question…if a politician lies while on corporate media - did he or she REALLY tell a lie??
Going off Mitt Romney’s new campaign ad - the answer is apparently no.
That’s right - the perpetual second-place candidate in the Republican race to the White House - Mitt Romney - is really confident that the voters are going to end their love affair with every single other candidate NOT named Mitt Romney - and eventually settle on him.
That’s why - in his first television campaign ad - he’s not going after Newt Gingrich or Herman Cain - he’s going after President Obama.
And just as you might expect from Republicans who couldn't get elected dogcatcher if their ads told the truth about their agenda to carry water for multinational corporations and Wall Street - Romney is kicking things off with a big fat lie.
Take a look at this excerpt from Romney's new ad - that seems to show the President admitting that talking about the economy hurts his own chances to win an election:
President Obama: I am confident that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis...
Video text: He Failed.
President Obama: We need a rescue plan for the middle class.
Video text: Record Home Foreclosures
President Obama: We need to provide relief for homeowners.
Video text: Record National Debt
President Obama: It's going take a new direction.
If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.
The truth is - President Obama DID say that...but they weren't HIS words.
Here's the entire context - what he actually said, back in 2008 when he was running against John McCain:
Even as you are worried about keeping your jobs or paying your bills or staying in your homes, my opponent's campaign announced last week that they plan to "turn the page" on the discussion about our economy so they can spend the final weeks of this election attacking me. Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, "if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."
But Mitt Romney and his campaign apparently didn't think the truth was worth bothering with in his new campaign ad - so instead they just lied.
And he did it intentionally - as a Romney adviser told Politico today when they were called out on it:
We used that quote intentionally.
So - the folks over at the Center for American Progress used Romney's own standard for truth-telling - to cut this ad - take a look:
*Accurate, according to the Romney standard of accuracy.
We should just raise everybody’s taxes!
There’s nothing unique about the United States.
Government knows better than a free people how to guide an economy.
Fiscal responsibility is heartless and immoral.
Let us just raise your taxes some more. We just need a little bit more.
America’s just another nation with a flag.
Romney REALLY DID say all of those things...seems fair right?
Jokes aside though - this is where our politics are heading.
And if this is the first ad of the general election season - then it's only going to get worse and worse and worse.
That's because politicians know that they can basically get away with anything nowadays...as long as they don't tweet a lewd photo of themselves.
But when it comes to lying - that's fair game - because the corporate media isn't doing its job anymore.
They aren't calling liars-liars in Washington - they aren't calling crooks-crooks on Wall Street - and they aren't calling hacks-hacks when they look in the mirror.
And that's why the news media isn't going nuts today pointing out that a man who could be the President of the United States in his first ad comes off as a bald-faced liar.
It's all about access now - keeping access to the "newsmakers" - and if one of the multimillionaire talking heads on TV calls Romney a liar - then guess what - Romney may not do an interview with that network in the future.
It's also all about the money.
Strictly hypothetically - let's assume there's a billionaire media mogul who owns a cable news network - and he wants his taxes to go down.
So do you think he has any interest in calling out as a liar a politician who promises to lower his taxes?
I don't think so.
And ditto for the multimillionaire executives and boards of directors of all of the for-profit networks.
As long as the corporations running the networks like your politics - and as long as they depend on access to you to keep viewership up and ad revenue coming in - then you can waltz on anytime you want - spew as many lies as you want - and no "news" person will ever point it out.
At most, a network may allow on a third-party "strategist" from the other side who will call out the lie, but it's not that authoritative.
And we can't expect these campaigns to police themselves - and not lie - any more than we can expect big multinational corporations to give a damn about keeping jobs in America.
The main way We The People can know the truth is through the gatekeepers known as the media - and without them - so much for having an informed electorate - one of the most important parts of a healthy democracy.
It's time to bring back news in the public interest.
And time to promote REAL journalism - journalism that puts the facts over profits and access.
That's The Big Picture.