Politico gets it right

Mentioning Romney’s false claim about welfare, Politico simply states that it’s false. Good for them!

Politico, in the middle of an absurdly “even-handed” story treating Republican race-baiting and Democratic complaints about Republican race-baiting as morally equivalent, shows how real journalists should deal with the Romney campaign’s veracity-challenged operating style:


Many Democrats believe Romney’s decision to inject welfare into the campaign — with a factually inaccurate ad claiming Obama had reversed Clinton-era work requirements — was an unmistakable, if coded, effort to imply that the first black president stands for handouts for lazy people.

Right! Mention the claim in the Romney ad and state as fact that the claim is false.

If this gets to be a media habit – something I hope for, but don’t expect – that would make the Romney strategy non-viable, which would be good for the country.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

13 thoughts on “Politico gets it right”

  1. Now will they mention that the “We did build that” signs are being waved around inside a taxpayer-funded convention center?

    I will give up in disgust if the Dems do not make this a theme at their convention. Obama needs to get up and say, “We did not build this convention center; our fellow citizens built this center and the roads and bridges that enabled us to get here. To those citizens, I say, ‘We appreciate your contribution to our prosperity, even if the other party thinks they did it all without you.’”

      1. But the Republicans love corporate welfare (see for example Christie’s casino debacle). And they never seem to apply a work requirement to the corporations. It’s state welfare they don’t like (see for example Christie torpedoing the tunnel) – not to mention welfare for poor people.

        Corporations aren’t just people, my friends – they’re rich people. And rich people are special and deserve to be treated better than anyone else.

    1. Main point is that “We did build that” is an insult to all the taxpaying stiffs whose funds built the convention centers and the roads and the bridges and the system of education and everything else without which the builders would be starving in the wilderness. This insult needs to be exposed for what it is: the poster-wavers are telling everyone else “We don’t need you.” If Obama does not make them pay for that, he does not deserve to win this thing.

  2. I think the alpha poodles of the Washington press corps must have less self-respect than a prostitute these days, as they are constantly lied to and meekly practice their smile and nod school of journalism. I hold out no hope whatsoever that any American journalist will call out the deafening mendacity that is Mitt Romney’s campaign.

  3. Well, Mark, I hope it happens, but I’m not sure this part – “that would make the Romney strategy non-viable…” would happen anyway. People hear what they want to hear. So many people are suffering and living in fear that they will follow pretty much anyone. It is what I call the Santa Claus effect. When in doubt — which is most of the time — your average Anglo-ish male voter will follow whoever most closely resembles Santa Claus to them. A reassuring older male figure from their past. This usually means a white man, unfortunately. (Well, I guess it’s natural, though it does not serve.)

    I think we might worry a bit more about what we in the DP have to offer. Well, maybe after the election we should worry about it, assuming we win. But it’s worth asking, what is the President promising to do? I haven’t heard that message myself, and I more or less follow the news. (Admittedly, I have a looow tolerance for political rhetoric.) I hope we have something more than just, I’m not as bad as that other guy. And I *like* the prez.

  4. Our industry of news has skied down a slippery slope for far too long, and what is casually mentioned in the middle of a story is in fact the headline and lede of this current sordid tale we call the Romney campaign!

  5. It’s the age of surveillance, and there are blackmail files on ALL people who hold any power in America, and probably anywhere else.

    The biggs of the press know this, and they’ll toe the line to keep the lux life AND their reputations unsullied. Ask Eliot Spitzer how this works.

    1. Apropos Keith’s earlier post, having the goods on people in power so as to make sure they toe the line gives the verb “hoover” a double entendre.

  6. If only it was that simple. Media that are not Faux News and/or right-wing shout radio are in a Catch-22 about this. *Even if* they made it a practice to acknowledge untruths, and *even if* they did it in headlines as well as in stories, they would only be proving their infamous “liberal bias” to the Faux News and shout radio audience. It’s an axiom about them that will always be “true” no matter what they do; see CNN, for example.

    The only hope is that there might be some influenceable people out there who actually pay attention to non-hermetic media.

  7. This appeared in a front-page news article in the New York Times on Sunday:

    “The Romney campaign is airing an advertisement falsely charging that Mr. Obama has “quietly announced” plans to eliminate work and job training requirements for welfare beneficiaries, a message Mr. Romney’s aides said resonates with working-class voters who see government as doing nothing for them.” By JEFF ZELENY and JIM RUTENBERG

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