Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, October 06, 2012

Thirty Days in the Fact-Free Zone

A month before they vote, Americans can’t believe anything they see or hear. Truth is malleable, figures are fungible, everything is subject to cuckoo conspiracy claims.

As the President basks in a lower jobless rate, Jack Welch rises from the publicity dead to assert the numbers were cooked. No evidence, of course, but attention is back on a former GE CEO known as Neutron Jack for mass firings that left buildings empty, denial of global warming and serial cheating on wives that shaved $200 million from his huge walkaway package. He had last surfaced spoofing himself on “30 Rock.”

Beyond parody is the continuing post-debate uproar over the fictional Mitt Romney who humiliated Barack Obama this week. In an unprecedented editorial, the New York Times says flatly:

“Virtually every time Mr. Romney spoke, he misrepresented the platform on which he and Paul Ryan are actually running. The most prominent example, taking up the first half-hour of the debate, was on taxes. Mr. Romney claimed, against considerable evidence, that he had no intention of cutting taxes on the rich or enacting a tax cut that would increase the deficit.

“That simply isn’t true...

“On health care, Mr. Romney pretended that he had an actual plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and that it covered pre-existing conditions. He has no such plan...

“There are still two more presidential debates, and Mr. Obama has the facts on his side to expose the hollowness of his opponent. But first he has to decide to use them aggressively.”

In these last thirty days, will anything that is said matter much? This weekend Mitt Romney is teetering atop a tower of lies. But will voters see enough to prevent him from climbing on them over the White House walls?

If a President Romney were to address the nation next year and say “Good evening,” Americans would have to fact-check him by looking out their windows to make sure the world isn’t coming to an end.

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