Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Romney's fair warning that his campaign will continue to lie

By Richard K. Barry

You'll recall the recent Romney campaign ad that so obviously took President Obama's words out of context that nearly everyone in the media called them on it.

New York Times describes the backstory like this:

On October 16, 2008, campaigning in Londonderry, New Hampshire, Obama cast his opponent, John McCain, as out of touch with the problems facing the country – a month after the financial collapse that saw the American economy crater. Obama was expressing his incredulity at McCain’s lack of understanding of the full import of the world-engulfing fiscal crisis: “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’ ”
Romney's ad was constructed on the lie that the words actually spoken by the McCain campaign were spoken by Obama. It is in fact an old trick, but no less disgusting for that fact. When you draw attention to what someone else said, it doesn't mean you said it yourself, or that you hold the same views. Pretty clear, right? 

It got a lot of press at the time, so no need to go into it again.

What's new is the Romney campaign defending the tactic. Here is what a top Romney operative had to say about it:
First of all, ads are propaganda by definition. We are in the persuasion business, the propaganda business…. Ads are agitprop…. Ads are about hyperbole, they are about editing. It’s ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context…. All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art.
Chew on that for a moment. Romney's team is saying that in politics everyone lies so it's not a big deal, in fact, we should expect it. 

Apparently, whenever Romney or his campaign says something, we should assume that we are being manipulated. We should have no expectation that they have any respect for the truth. By their own admission, we should expect that their statements are hyperbolic and out of context. 

This is what they are telling us about how they are and will continue to run their campaign.

Thanks for the heads up, Mitt.

As Greg Sargent writes:
Between this new quote and their boast that the ad’s mangling of context was strategically brilliant because it won reams of media attention, it almost seems as if Romney advisers are trying to persuade political reporters and commentators to abandon any standards they might use to judge tactics and rhetoric throughout this campaign. Of course, one would hope this will have the opposite effect.
Let's hope. 

Final word on this is that as Gingrich continues to surge, we can expect Romney to get more and more desperate. Much as we were all being told that, among the GOP presidential hopefuls, Romney was the adult in the room, it seems that he is also a lying and manipulative adult. Isn't that wonderful?

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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