In a satirical debriefing of Paul Ryan’s nomination acceptance address on The Daily Show, “RNC correspondent” John Oliver considers the theme of the Republican National Convention’s second night, “We Can Change It.” A slogan clearly designed as a commonplace strategic appeal in the “challenger style” of campaign rhetoric — the challenger calls for change, and argues that s/he is better than the incumbent to achieve change, Oliver takes it in a very different direction:
Oliver’s commentary not only echoes that of many media observers following Ryan’s address, but gets at a function of party convention narratives that has been a mainstay of the presidential campaign process — as least in the age of conventions as televised spectacles. An important question this year seems to be whether the GOP has risen to a new level of creativity with reality — a “post-factual” campaign, if you will, and whether the Democratic response is powerless to counteract it. Let’s consider these points in Part 2 of the Denizen’s three-part series on the Republican National Convention, corresponding with the central theme of the convention’s second night.
By now, Mitt Romney’s latest interview gaffe, in which an offhand remark (well, not so offhand, see below) reveals a potential lack of empathy with regard to impoverished Americans and public policy on poverty, has captured this week’s media cycle and crackled across the blogosphere. While you may well be familiar with this story, check out what is said, and how it is said, again — because there seems to be something a bit deeper here in Romney’s language that the media coverage of this episode seems to underplay.
In particular, for me the key is in the phrasing right before and after the now infamous soundbite.
Just in time for Christmas (and the Iowa caucuses), the Annenberg Pubic Policy Center’s Factcheck.org presents its “Whoppers of 2011,” what they describe as “the year’s worst political deceptions, from both sides.” Here’s their summary, as a teaser:
Despite what you may have heard in 2011:
The new health care law won’t cost many jobs (and they’ll be poorly paying jobs at that).
Republicans aren’t proposing to “end” Medicare (and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden has signed onto a modified version of the GOP plan).
Most of the “millionaires” who would pay higher tax rates under a Democratic proposal aren’t job-creating small-business owners.
President Obama’s mother didn’t really fight to get health insurance coverage as she was dying.
And there was plenty more spin and deception in 2011. Obama claimed he pays a lower tax rate than a teacher. Michele Bachmann endorsed a claim that HPV vaccine causes mental retardation. Joe Biden claimed rapes quadrupled in Flint, Mich., after police layoffs. And that’s just some of the nonsense we debunked.
For our full run-down of the worst political whoppers we encountered during the year, please read on to the Analysis section. And get ready for more in the presidential election year that is about to begin.
Definitely worth a peek, courtesy of the best nonpartisan fact-checking researchers in the biz.
Ever the intrepid defender of accuracy over b.s., the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Factcheck.org released an analysis of the DNC ad that identifies a host of distortions of Romney’s public statements and positions. What did they come up with?
One of the things the Denizens are thankful for this holiday season is Factcheck.org, sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. It is perhaps the best nonpartisan fact-checking institution out there. When it comes to something like a campaign debate, their services are vital. Do be sure to check them out regularly (like we do — they’re on our blogroll! See the menu to your right.)
Note: The views of the Political Denizens, their guest contributors and visitors do not reflect those of Augustana College. The Denizens are thankful to the College for providing them with resources and an outlet for their observations and commentary in the spirit of academic freedom and free public speech.