Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

The ‘Truth’ Hurts

How the fact-checking press gives the president a pass

For many in the media, the crowning moment of the Republican Party’s long, campaign-accelerated slide into full-blown, fact-free delusion came on election night just after Fox News called the state of Ohio—and therefore the election—for President Barack Obama. Fox contributor Karl Rove, formerly the Svengali behind George W. Bush and currently the head of the influential Crossroads GPS political action committee, forcefully disputed the projection as numerically “premature.” Exasperated co-anchor Megyn Kelly retorted, “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better, or is this real?” 

Then Kelly got up from her desk and, cameras rolling, walked down several hallways to the network’s team of number crunchers, who confidently explained and reasserted their decision. Rove was undeterred. 

“I’m just saying in terms of public perception, it looks a little odd for us to be making a call with 991 votes separating the candidates,” he said. Kelly shot back: “But you know how the science works!” 

If there was one overarching journalistic theme of the 2012 election, it was the alleged Republican war on science, math, and basic facts, as called out by a newly emboldened political press. A proliferation of “fact-checking” enterprises at various mainstream media outlets, combined with an increasing willingness to abandon what New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan in September called the “false balance” of “giving equal weight to both sides of a story, regardless of an established truth on one side,” produced a nearly consensus conclusion: “Let’s Just Say it: Republicans Are the Problem.”

That was the headline on an April Washington Post op-ed piece by longtime Beltway think tankers Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, adapted from their book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks (Basic Books). These Washington insiders, after decades of evenhanded analysis, had finally seen enough. “The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics,” they concluded. “It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.”

Finally, the he-said, she-said profession was naming out loud what the press critic Jay Rosen had long referred to as the “asymmetry” between Republican and Democratic truthfulness. Competing fact checkers were now pouncing on hyperbolic claims at GOP presidential debates. Bookstores were filling up with titles like The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality. Then on the eve of the Republican National Convention, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse taped a virtual “kick me” sign on the campaign by telling Politico, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” 

Sure enough, the fact-checking establishment flipped its collective wig the very next day in response to the convention speech by vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. “Paul Ryan Fails—the Truth,” was the headline employed by liberal blogger Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post. “Beyond factual dishonesty,” harrumphed New York Times editorial board member David Firestone. “As I listened to Paul Ryan,” political writer Melinda Henneberger wrote at the Post, “I couldn’t remember ever hearing an acceptance speech so rich in untrue un-facts.”

What were these monstrous lies? Top of the list was Ryan’s mention of an auto plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, that shut down during Obama’s presidency the year after candidate Obama had vowed that the facility would be there for another century. “The plant was closed in December 2008, before Obama was sworn in,” Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote. But Kessler and the chorus of fact checkers turned out to be wrong; the plant did close down in 2009. Other alleged lies included Ryan’s 100-percent-accurate assertion that Obama’s presidency “began with a perfect AAA credit rating for the United States” but led to a “downgraded America” (fact checkers objected to the implied blame) and the would-be veep’s failure to disclose his own participation in a bipartisan debt-reduction committee mentioned in his speech. 

After such an absurd display of overreach, the fact-checking enterprise started drawing some snickers on Twitter and in various corners of the political press, but by then the participants had dug in their heels. “Quite simply, the Romney campaign isn’t adhering to the minimum standards required for a real policy conversation,” popular Washington Post commentator Ezra Klein wrote after Ryan’s speech. “I don’t like that conclusion. It doesn’t look ‘fair’ when you say that. We’ve been conditioned to want to give both sides relatively equal praise and blame, and the fact of the matter is, I would like to give both sides relatively equal praise and blame.…But first the campaigns have to be relatively equal.”

Klein, editor of the Post’s Wonkblog, is the leading exemplar of a new breed of media progressive in Washington and New York: self-consciously “wonky” on policy (“nerd” is another favored appellation), fond of boiling issues down into single everything-you-need-to-know charts, and pledged to a high-minded fairness even while rejecting hoary journalistic objectivity. The leftist media’s nerd squad wins plaudits for thoroughness and dedication to facts, even while producing journalism that overwhelmingly supports Democrats and slams Republicans. It’s a project that overlaps significantly with both the new fact checking and the older partisan bomb throwing.

Democrats were not deaf to what their ideological cohorts in the media were carrying on about. Republican truthfulness was one of the major subthemes of the Democratic National Convention. Keynote speaker Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, kicked off the proceedings by decrying “all the fictions we heard last week in Tampa.” And former President Bill Clinton stole the show with his memorable “one-word answer” for producing sane (i.e., non-GOP) federal budgets: “arithmetic.”

Republican commentators did nothing to improve their reputation for innumeracy by spending the last several weeks of the election inexplicably ganging up on the shrewd New York Times political stat nerd Nate Silver, whose poll-of-polls model consistently (and accurately, it would turn out) gave Obama a strong shot at re-election. Instead, you had Dick Morris predicting a Mitt Romney “landslide,” Peggy Noonan feeling a Romney wave in her “gut,” and Karl Rove forecasting a 285-253 squeaker for the Republican.

By the time Rove had his on-air election night freakout, the media could smell the symbolism a mile away. “The face-off made for sublimely weird television but also crystallized what’s become the meta-narrative of this election: the triumph of the data-driven nerds over ideological pundits,” wrote TV critic Meredith Blake at the Los Angeles Times. 

“It was a fitting moment for an election that often seemed to be a campaign over the idea of mathematical knowability itself,” Time columnist James Poniewozik wrote. “It was, as Bill Clinton told us at the Democratic convention, about the arithmetic. And last night, the arithmetic won.”

Or did it?

Asymmetry in political discourse works more ways than one. For instance, there is the well-established asymmetry in the ideological sympathies of the working journalists who cover politics. (A 1997 survey by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, to cite one of numerous such examples, found that 61 percent of reporters identified with the Democratic Party, while only 15 percent leaned Republican.) As Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said, in the part of his Politico quote that didn’t get nearly as much press play, “Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs.”

Those beliefs, while not automatically determinative (ABC’s Jake Tapper is a fine example of a liberal journalist who pulls no punches in holding Democratic power accountable), are nonetheless evident just about every time you open a newspaper or magazine. “Obama has not been all that adept at telling his story as Commander in Chief,” Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel lamented in a special Democratic National Convention issue, swallowing the truthfulness line whole. “He likes to say that facts will win the day, but these days, people brandish their own facts. Obama is frustrated by this.” Poor Mr. President!

It is stunning at this late date that an allegedly skeptical press is still pushing string on the theory that Obama just needs to explain himself better, but more disturbing (and emblematic) is the notion that the sitting president of the United States hasn’t himself crossed the line between fact and fiction. Perhaps that conclusion is so widespread because the fact-checking exercise itself is not primarily concerned with the exercise of power.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You don't say.

  • WTF||

    In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    the shrewd New York Times political stat nerd Nate Silver, whose poll-of-polls model consistently (and accurately, it would turn out) gave Obama a strong shot at re-election.

    Suppose I produce a model that says the high temperature on March 20, 2013 in Pittsburgh will be above the historical average.

    If on March 20, we measure the high temperature and it is above the historical average, does that mean my model was correct?

  • Randian||

    Tulpa, just suck it up and admit that Silver was right. It's OK to give credit to people who are on the other side when it comes to math and science. Really.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    What he's published about his methods is a bunch of bullshit. Averaging polls (assuming they're independently and unbiasedly conducted and asking identical questions of random samples of the same population) will slowly REDUCE the margin of error, but he was claiming that doing so obliterated the margin of error.

    Maybe he has some magical formula that he's keeping private? But nothing I've seen forecloses on the interpretation that he just made 4-5 lucky 50-50 guesses.

  • Randian||

    If you want to keep that up because of professional envy, I wouldn't blame you.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Haha. Nate Silver would not have gotten the job offer I did because those people are more interested in reliable results than hype.

  • Enough About Palin||

    No, it actually follows a well known con. I tell 100 people that I know who is going to win a boxing match. I tell 50 people it's Ray and the other fifty that it's Bill. Bill wins and I look pretty good to 50 people. I do that again with another boxing match and those 50 people after which, 25 people think I'm really good at this. Then I predict another boxing match and whoa! 12 people think I'm a genius. Another round and I now have 6 people who think I am Jimmy the fucking Greek and I tell them to each give me a thousand dollars and I'll place it on the winner of the next boxing match. And then I walk away with six grand.

  • KPres||

    4 to 5? More like two.

    The only unknowns were Florida and North Carolina.

  • druucifer||

    It's pretty clear that you haven't read much of 538. Silver said exactly what you posted above: that poll averaging reduces the margin of error. He never once has ever claimed that he has "obliterated" the margin of error.

    Silver's job is to accurately predict elections, not to be a partisan cheerleader. In 2010, Silver predicted a Republican takeover of the house early, because that's what the polls showed. In 2012, he predicted Obama's reelection because that's what the polls showed. And, I might add, he called every single state accurately. Give the man credit where it is due.

  • JSebastian||

    That still does not explain how national polls showed Romney leading ...for a couple of weeks. Remember "the surge"? What happened to that? Supposedly, the "official story" was that it was wiped by another, more natural surge...Hurricane Sandy. But that simply doesn't ring true to me.

    And it doesn't explain where 3 million GOP voters went on Election Day, instead of voting.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Didn't Trippi get the same results just by looking at the state polls?

    I think the only reason people are fellating Silver right now is because they want to believe there's this secret formula for predicting any outcome that's he's supposedly found. But anyone following RCP could see that Obama was ahead on the electoral votes just by looking at the state polls. There isn't anything "magical" about that, though.

  • robc||

    Same thing happened with his baseball projections. Much simpler methods that are 99% as good were found.

  • Contrarian P||

    Or you could have just looked at Romney and realized he was a dead letter as a candidate from the start, with the same policies as president Obama but none of the charisma, the attractive wife, the speaking ability, etc. Seriously, I called the election for Obama the minute Romney appeared as the front runner.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    I had it called for Obama around the time we realized that no Republican dark horse candidate with credibility was going to pop out of the woodwork. But the Romney nomination really was the last nail.

    For a short while with Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc., I thought that Romney had a chance to blunder into the presidency though no fault of his own, but I learned not to underestimate the incompetence of Republicans or the enthusiasm of the media to suck Dem cock.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    True--I'm just pointing out that what Silver did wasn't anything special.

  • Killazontherun||

    Romney was the one with the reasonably attractive wife. You're giving fug ass Michelle the race based grading curve bounce just like Princeton did with her thesis.

  • Contrarian P||

    I'm just saying what most of the people around me said, as well as what I've seen in the media. I personally don't think Ann Romney is that attractive.

  • Killazontherun||

    There is a huge difference between reasonably attractive, doesn't embarrass you to be with her at a cocktail party, and a woman whose head is the shape camel dung baked in the desert for two weeks.

    Yeah, I know what they say, and I don't trust people who dismiss the evidence of their own two eyes.

  • Killazontherun||

    Looking back at what you wrote, it's clear you were merely reporting on what you are witnessing, I should have noted that in my first response. A meager but sincere apology is in order.

    BTW, have you ever read Michelle's thesis? Do you recall a scene in Boyz n the Hood where the two friends were shocked to discover the illiteracy of their friend who was just killed? It's reminiscent.

  • JSebastian||

    "the attractive wife"...Are you fucking blind?

  • robc||

    just suck it up and admit that Silver was right.

    He was horribly wrong on states like KY and TN. His model said Obama would gain 3+ points in those states. In almost all of them, he lost ground (MS, I think, was the exception).

  • robc||

    Gain vs 2008.

  • druucifer||

    So he missed the margin of error in a couple of seldom-polled, noncompetitive states. Big deal. The important thing is predicting the winner, not the margin.

  • KPres||

    "Tulpa, just suck it up and admit that Silver was right."

    Uh, the only difference between his "model" and the RCP aggregates was Florida which was what, 0.5% for Obama?

    If his model is so great, why was he so wrong in 2010? (He said Republicans would gain 52 seats, the RCP average said 67, and the final was 63.)

    Silver is a Journ-O-List shill for the Democratic party. He's going to say whatever helps them win.

  • druucifer||

    KPres, can you show me anyone more accurate than Silver in 2010? He was predicting house races, many of which are seldom-polled. That means he has less data to go on, which drastically increases the margin of error. Pretty much everyone (including the vaunted Rasmussen poll) got the final results wrong in 2010. It's much easier to predict the result of a statewide election than a tiny house district, and predicting the electoral college is an exercise in predicting a bunch of statewide elections.

  • JSebastian||

    Silver just knows when the fix is in. He's probably on the payroll.

  • hamilton||

    No. But if you do that for 50 different hypotheses, several years/elections running, and are correct a large, large percentage of the time, then it is likely that you have a model that well-predicts reality. Which is not to say your model IS reality, but that you have developed a very good predictor.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Oh shush with the 50 state bullshit. He foresaw that Utah went Republican and Rhode Island went Democrat! Oh my god he's Nostradamus.

    There were 4-5 states realistically in play in 2012. And the only presidential election he published predictions for before this one was 2008.

  • Randian||

    You know, Tulpa, I'm kind of disappointed that you're perpetuating the myth that just because something is predicted to happen witha 90-some percent chance, that means that Silver or any other mathematician is "wrong" when that thing doesn't happen.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    So you're saying Silver's predictive capabilities are unfalsifiable?

    And he's not a mathematician.

    If you're making LARGE numbers of predictions and assigning 90% probabilities to them, AND these predictions are not obvious to other intelligent observers, AND it turns out that 90% or more of them come true, then you might have something. That's not where Silver is.

  • JSebastian||

    Yes, Silver not a mathematician. He's taking poll information and using a forecasting model but it does not make him a mathematician. He might be properly termed a statistician although I think that implies formal training in statistical theory and he was trained as an economist. I would describe him as a gambler turned prognosticator, since he actually was a professional poker player before he tried doing forecasts.

    But here is the biggest problem with Silver: he ignores basic reality. Check out this quote: "I believe that economic growth is both a reflection of and a contributor toward societal progress, that economic growth has facilitated a higher standard of living, and that this is empirically indisputable. I also believe, however, that our society is now so exceptionally wealthy – even in the midst of a severe recession – that it has little excuse not to provide for some basic level of dignity for all its citizens."

    So the first statement is true. The second one is nothing but faith-based rhetoric and mythology. The US is by any definition, not "exceptionally wealthy". It is exceptionally INDEBTED, but debt is not wealth. Wealth implies a fundamental property that the US lacks - a substantial excess of assets over liabilities, as well as a substantial excess of necessary resources. As our books and accounts demonstrate, we fail the wealth test.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    He also published predictions for the 2010 congressional elections and whiffed badly on the close races. No one remembers that, though.

  • Randian||

    Uh, the 95% CI was really wide, so "whiffing" wasn't an option. But yes, point taken.

  • Enough About Palin||

    " But if you do that for 50 different hypotheses, several years/elections running"

    Look up thread a bit.

  • Tman||

    “Obama has not been all that adept at telling his story as Commander in Chief,”

    I am so farking sick of hearing this line from the MSM. If he isn't "all that adept" then maybe they should keep him OFF THE FUCKING TELEVISION EVERY FIVE FUCKING DAYS.

    For a guy with a "communication problem" he sure does talk a lot.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Oh, he's adept at telling stories, all right. He makes up a new one every time he's asked a question.

  • db||

    This enables them to feel OK about telling the story for him. As long as he wants to tell the right story, they're happy to help him.

  • Adam330||

    It also clashes with their narrative that he's a great orator. Which is it, he can't tell his story, or he's a great speaker? It can't be both.

  • Redmanfms||

    Option 3: 'Mericans are just too stupid to understand the wondrous magnificence they have as President.

    I didn't make that up, my lefty cousin (she and her mother are the only leftards in the family) told me this in a pre-election conversation. Interwebbing seems to indicate it is a pretty popular thesis on why Obama's policies are generally disliked by wide margins.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Does Obama make a claim because it is a fact, or is a claim factual because Obama makes it?

  • db||

    When the President says it, it isn't a lie.

  • ||

    Unless BOOOOOSH!

  • mr simple||

    It's treason to think the King President capable of telling a lie.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    “[But] now liberals don’t have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing.”

    Now that he has no reason to care what they say, they should start criticizing him.

  • ||

    "Fact-checking press"?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Those fucking morons are so fucking stupid that the word "fact" isn't even in the picture. Please.

  • ||

    Politifact told me you're a liar, Welch. Who am I gonna believe?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Politifact won a goddam Pulitzer Prize!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Are you sure? I thought they won a Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Hugh Akston||

    They haven't killed nearly enough people for that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    As I understand the award process, the deaths can be made up over the following few years.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    "It was a remarkable admission of what many have long suspected: Portions of the press are in the tank for Democrats. Now that’s a fact worth checking."

    The New Yorker is liberal? Say it ain't so, dude. Matt, there is a word for people who bitch about "unfair" press coverage. That word is "loser."

  • ||

    I thought "loser" was the word for you, Alan. Now go and review Loser for me, bitch.

  • sarcasmic||

    You spelled his name wrong.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Other than Obama psychophants, we're all losers now. Where does that put you?

  • pmains||

    Psychophants. I like it. It certainly beats "bushpigs."

  • Randian||

    Matt, there is a word for people who bitch about "unfair" press coverage. That word is "loser."

    That is only partially true. There is nothing wrong with noting flaws in a product, and the "Fact Check" sections of AJC and WaPo and the Times are just awful, awful products.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Get that? Anal thinks it's grand that the press is biased because they're biased in a way that he likes. Suck it, losers!

  • Enough About Palin||

    How's that Curious George finds a Buttplug book you're working on coming along?

  • Adam330||

    Is there a word for people who bitch about politicians that engage in hyperbole? Fact-checker doesn't quite do it for me.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I wonder, now that we have five solid years of journalists abandoning in everything but outright admission all pretense of objectivity, can there be a return to what now seems like the reasonable lack of bias in news reporting we saw before Obama's rise?

    After our dear leader is termed out, will they go back to seeing the Democrat running for president as just someone who mostly shares their ideology rather than a messiah who personifies it? Or is it shameless and overt cheerleading from now on?

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not a cult of personality, as there's really nothing exciting about Obama. In other words, things are going to get much worse when we see a more dynamic tyrant.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Nothing exciting to you, perhaps. But a man so initially hyped that his campaign speeches literally made women swoon isn't going to fall from those lofty heights just because of a little time and reality.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, but it's kind of a farce. We're in really big trouble if we get someone truly charismatic while we're in the middle of a major crisis, like a big war or economic collapse.

    Good thing that can't happen here, right?

  • BakedPenguin||

    No, not a chance.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's a relief.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The good news is that this was it. In my opinion, Obama was the last savior that we're going to see in a while. Oh, they'll get behind their team leaders, but the left won't produce another candidate utopia incarnate. Not until the stench of this Icarus' rotting corpse is finally gone and history has been scrubbed clean with sanitized numbers. I mean, who are they going to idolize? Biden? Hillary? Booker? Bah.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Dude. They idolized a not-very-impressive dude for some reason I'm still not clear on. His blackosity? It's really a mystery, especially now.

  • sarcasmic||

    He plays basketball and uses slang words! He's hip! A hip president! I mean, that's just so fucking cool! He's like so fucking cool! It's so fucking cool!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "No matter how silly the idea of having a queen might be to us..."

    As libertarians, you naturally distrust those weilding the power of the state. But imagine yourselves someone who sees government as a overwhelmingly positive force. And picture someone taking hold of the reins of that instrument of good, someone young and new. Someone you've been told is articulate and bright and clean. Who wants to stand in the way of historic change when they can be part of it?

    The bandwagon is a comforting place.

  • druucifer||

    In other words he was culturally in sync with a lot of the Democratic base. I seem to recall more than a few conservatives loving Dubya because he was out in his pickup truck clearing brush.

  • Ska||

    What about a lipstick lesbian candidate? I mean porn star quality lipstick lesbian.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, that's my prediction. The first open dictator in the U.S. will be a hot, lesbian Republican.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No one wants to look out over a joint session during the SOTUA and see a sea of boners.

  • DarrenM||

    The first open dictator in the U.S. will be a hot, lesbian Republican.

    No. The media would not allow any Republican to gain that much power. It will have to be a Democrat. Perhaps someone with no background that the left can project their own wishes onto. He (or she) also needs to be charasmatic and a good speaker, able to say things in such a way that you come away thinking "wow that was awesome", but can't really explain what he just said. The important thing is that is sounds good since the media will spin whatever is said however it's needed to make him look good.

    Seriously, Obama does have qualities that a first dictator will need. Could any intelligent person imagine someone like Mitt Romney or George Bush becoming a real dictator? It would never be allowed. I'm not a big fan of term limits, but I think the term limits for President is a good idea.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You're forgetting the need to have the military behind you.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Where do I register to vote for her?

  • Ska||

    Brazzers? Vivthomas?

    Oh wait, that's just the pool of potential candidates.

  • T o n y||

    His being as big an improvement on his predecessor as anyone could reasonably expect?

  • Contrarian P||

    And he has been an improvement over his predecessor in which ways, again?

  • T o n y||

    Competence, mainly. No massively costly new wars based on lies is a big one.

  • sarcasmic||

    I like how he closed Gitmo and brought all the troops back from the Middle East. Then there was the stabilization of the government of Libya. That was an improvement over Bush. Then there's that rip-roaring economy. Yeah, Obama is a huge improvement.

  • Jordan||

    The best we could reasonably expect was not starting costly new wars based on lies? Way to raise the bar! Yeah, that probably is the best we can expect of fascists like you.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    No massively costly new wars based on lies is a big one.

    Right, continuing the costly old wars and starting a bunch of new somewhat cheaper ones is much better!

  • KPres||

    "Competence, mainly. No massively costly new wars based on lies is a big one."

    I'll take an $800 billion dollar war that at least displaces a dictator over an $800 billion dollar stimulus that causes one of the slowest recoveries in history.

  • T o n y||

    I'm sure hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and thousands of dead American troops--whose deaths were in the service of a cause based on a lie--would be glad to hear that.

  • Cavpitalist||

    Fuck you, asshole. If you aren't right-shoulder-heavy, you don't have that juice, so find another group to hide behind.

  • Tejicano||

    Bwah ha ha ha ha!

    Hmm, Hah, hmmm,

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Wait! - You're serious?

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  • AZ||

    If you consider Obama and his record to be as big an improvement on Bush as was possible, you must have thought Bush was near-perfect to begin with.

  • KPres||

    "His being as big an improvement on his predecessor as anyone could reasonably expect?"

    Nope, given that he hasn't repealed any of the atrocious shit Bush did, and instead added to it, I'll take GWB.

  • T o n y||

    You don't know what you're talking about, and your mind is so fucking polluted by rightwing propaganda you can't see straight. Iraq was a better policy than the stimulus? Are you evil, or just really fucking stupid?

  • An0nB0t||

    Historically, men claiming to be the messiah don't pop up in isolation.

    The worse things get and the longer they stay that way, the more the yokels who believe that we're a democracy will look to their leaders to do something. And there will never be any shortage of Strong Men to do what needs to be done.

  • ||

    The latter. Count on it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There's likely a market for more unbiased reporting, which I think we'll see more of. Certainly, people have been leaving TV news and newspapers in droves.

  • ||

    I completely disagree. There is a massive market for echo chambers, that's all.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    AS PROVED BY YOUR LOVE OF REGISTRATION HERE AT REASON.

  • ||

    Exactly.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I, too, agree! Completely!

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    I agree MORE

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    YOU ARE ALL PROVING MY POINT AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW IT.

  • Contrarian P||

    How many assholes we got on this ship, anyhow?

    YO!

  • Pro Libertate||

    The Internet is just something that happened to other people, isn't it, Episiarch?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Maybe he is too intellectually honest to want an echo chamber.

  • AuH2O||

    Yeah. Journalism will go back to what it historically has been- biased, and openly so.

    Oh, for a little while, the NYT and such will pretend to be objective, but that is just for their "reality based community" shit.

  • crazyfingers||

    That's some unwarranted optimism IMO. Most people now get their news from CNN.com instead of CNN. Big whoop.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Most people are idiots and get their news from TMZ.

    However, a decent number of people are frustrated at the inability of the news to tell the truth about anything. For instance, I bet even Democrats would've liked to have known that their taxes were going up, not just rich people's.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I bet even Democrats would've liked to have known that their taxes were going up, not just rich people's.

    I think that's what I enjoyed most about that. They had no fucking clue that it was coming.

    I would love to see everybody's taxes go up or down in relation to government spending. You could do that and still have a progressive system. I bet that "we need to help more people" would turn into "make those deadbeats get a job!" when more people had skin in the game.

  • T o n y||

    How do you know they aren't aware of that?

    So much of the problem is people making assumptions and then confirming those assumptions by repeating the assumption.

  • Contrarian P||

    The amazing amount of bitching about it all over the internet? Maybe that's a start?

  • Mike M.||

    Once again, all Nate Silver does is run a Monte Carlo simulation using software that anyone can download off the net, with the added benefit of having had an even bigger data sample as a result of having highly privileged access to the extensive team Obama internal polling data that they gave him upon signing a Nondisclosure Agreement both in 2008 and 2012.

    I really wish Reason would stop making this guy out to be a much bigger genius than he really is.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yeah, I don't think so. Nate Silver wouldn't know a Markov Chain from macaroni and cheese.

  • T o n y||

    Shorter Matt Welch: "I will not have my opinions dictated by fact checkers!"

  • MJGreen||

    So you will?

  • Contrarian P||

    Shorter Tony: "Despite the evidence that the fact checkers are in fact biased propagandists, I will continue to believe what they say because with a name like 'fact checkers', how could they lie"?

    Of course the Soviet newspaper was called truth too, but whatever.

  • T o n y||

    I have issues with some of the fact checkers but the much, much bigger problem is that the political right, and that includes you, doesn't seem to understand what reliable sources are or have much respect for evidence or objectivity. That likely stems from the unfortunate fact that all your cherished beliefs tend to crumble under any objective scrutiny.

  • sarcasmic||

    Unbacked assertions and ad hominems.

    *yawn*

    KING OF THE DERPS!

  • Contrarian P||

    Reliable sources? Such as what, exactly? I believe the article demonstrated that some of these sources you describe as reliable certainly are questionable. As for objectivity, since when have you ever been objective? Furthermore, I don't believe I've ever asked you a question that you've directly answered. Instead, you've deflected any challenges to your statements by changing topics or not responding at all.

    And I'm far from the political right. You assume far too much. Just because someone disagrees with your assertions does not make them part of the political right. It's not a two horse race. How many times does that need to be pointed out to you?

  • T o n y||

    You learn about reliable sources sometime between middle school and graduate school. Facts are things with evidence to support them.

    Dogmatism is the enemy of objectivity. If you find yourself rejecting data solely because it contradicts what you want to believe, then what you believe is flawed.

  • KPres||

  • T o n y||

    Get your head out of Limbaugh's giant ass KPres. I've been around long enough to know all the usual rightwing bullshit.

  • Contrarian P||

    Your rather feeble attempts at insulting my intelligence mask your inability to answer a simple question. Again, you don't bother to name the reliable sources you'd like us to believe, rather, you rather flaccidly define facts as merely being supported with evidence. Just because something is supported with evidence does not make it factual. Generally, both sides of an argument will have evidence to support their respective claims. The evidence may be incomplete, inaccurate, misinterpreted, or simply fabricated. In the case of the sources named in the article, they are shown to have either misinterpreted the evidence or to have gotten the evidence wrong. The more evidence that can be shown to support a particular view, the stronger the case for that view being fact is.

    As for your second comment, that has to be one of the more ironic posts I have ever seen on any board. You consistently and without deviation have shown your complete willingness to believe that your side is always right. Not once have I ever seen you say that liberals/Democrats are wrong about any significant issue. I've never seen you admit that your political party has made mistakes in its views, nor have you ever admitted that a political figure not of your own views had good points or was right. You are the personification of dogmatism and intellectual laxity.

  • T o n y||

    I can understand why I may have given that impression. I agree with many of the articles here (esp. ones on the drug war, nanny state, and any that support opinions with actual facts), but I just tend not to post on them. Believe me, I don't like being forced to support one and only one political party because the other one is apocalyptically incompetent and a major threat to humanity. I'd rather there be two adult parties. That certainly doesn't mean I support everything Democrats ever do. I do agree with the general thrust of their policy preferences, and I understand DC enough to know why they can't get certain things done I wish they would.

    Reliable sources. Hmm. If we're talking about news reporting, then the mainstream outlets are more reliable than fringe rightwing gold-peddling con artists with a website. For science, I'd consult mainstream science journals. And actually I find Wikipedia to be generally pretty good for casual brushing up on facts. But it's not about specific sources, it's about the skill of parsing them, understanding what evidence is, and generally having a skeptical outlook, especially about what you believe.

    I fear libertarianism, because its claims are not generally supported by evidence, is lost as an intellectual pursuit and has become, if it weren't always, a dogma.

  • section9||

    Jesus Christ, Tony, sometimes your puppy-dog faithfulness to the regime is quaint.

    I mean, businesses are fleeing California and Illinois for a reason.

    We have a President who sat there and told Boehner (no Pericles he) that he was tired of hearing that we had a spending problem.

    Go get therapy, okay?

  • andarm16||

    The whole thing with fact checkers, and reliable sources is about controlling the truth. The Serious People want to make sure that anything that opposes them is "unreliable" or not seen as serious. This is why they are so anti blogger as well. The whole point of basic college english courses these days is to drill into students government = good, corporations = bad. By that regard, anything that is written by someone who is even remotely connected to a corporation (or at least an evil one) will be called out by the fact checkers. Fact checking is propaganda and truth control.

  • T o n y||

    I took more English courses than I can count in my day and not once did we ever discuss government or corporations or the moral status of either.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    If you find yourself rejecting data solely because it contradicts what you want to believe, then what you believe is flawed.

    Actually, you're just demonstrating the argument from fallacy. Short form: believing something for dogmatic reasons doesn't imply that it is wrong. The consequent of a fallacious argument isn't always false.

    Maybe you should look into your own logic and rationality before you start insulting others, since you clearly have much to grasp (i.e., prone to drawn erroneous conclusions from fallacious arguments).

  • T o n y||

    Believing something dogmatically doesn't necessarily make it wrong, yes. What I said what that believing something contrary to evidence does, by definition, make it wrong.

  • ||

    What I said what that believing something contrary to evidence does, by definition, make it wrong.

    Actually, that's not what you said. You said:

    If you find yourself rejecting data solely because it contradicts what you want to believe, then what you believe is flawed.

    Data != evidence.

    However, in the spirit of fact-checking, we'll give you pass. After all, while technically fallacious, you are, in a larger context, eventually correcting yourself and stating a truth that we should all embrace: it is wrong to believe a statement that is proven to be untrue. Great insight. Right up there with most tautologies.

  • T o n y||

    Thank you. Clearly then when you read the headlines of the major newspapers today, which report that 2012 was by far the hottest year on record in the U.S., you don't immediately pigeonhole it as liberal bias in service of the great global climate change conspiracy--as somewhere near 90% of the commenters here would. Because that would be ridiculous.

  • ||

    Correct. I interpret it as a government agency publishing climate data.

    Clearly, then, you realize that libertarian thought is not disproven, even if we assume your previous statement about "90% of the commenters" is true (which it probably isn't), just like Democratic party thought isn't disproven just because you're a troll.

  • Super Hans||

    Actually, the claim is hottest year *ever*. The sly caveat here is that the US is only a quarter of a millenium old.

  • barfman2013||

    *barf*

  • KPres||

    "I have issues with some of the fact checkers"

    Sure you do....the one's that don't tote the Democratic party line.

  • smiley||

    "That likely stems from the unfortunate fact that all your cherished beliefs tend to crumble under any objective scrutiny."

    This as liberals are minting trillion-dollar coins and watching Europe and their pet programs collapse into insolvency. Ahem.

    By the by, if by "reliable sources", "objectivity" and "evidence", you mean Politico, Paul "Martian Invasion" Krugman, and Politi-fact ("true but mostly false!"), then thank you for the laughs.

  • trshmnstr||

    much, much bigger problem is that the political right, and that includes you, doesn't seem to understand what reliable sources are or have much respect for evidence or objectivity.

    I took a public policy/polling class as part of my minor, and we went into detail the first weeks about the reliability of polling.

    While most released polls (reported on by these "objective" media folks as "evidence") are statistically questionable(demographic boosting and the like) that's not the thing that really got to me.

    The thing that got to me was the findings of a few studies that brought two major principles into view.

    1) all but ~15% of Americans have no concept of ideology. They're either apolitical or they're entrenched in identity politics (Team Red, Team Blue).

    2) People are very, very susceptible to minor changes in wording (i.e. pro-choice v. pro-abortion). So many people are so very uninformed that they make their position based on the emotional appeal caused by the labels attached to ideas.

    At that point, after seeing the data behind the findings, I had to wonder what the point of the rest of the class was, since the prof had just spent a quarter destroying the entire polling industry.

    The point of this diatribe is that some of that "objective evidence" is absolute crap, but if you're not "in the know", you have no clue. Also, things like polling are easily manipulated, which can seriously lead to a change of opinion upon the fickle majority.

  • T o n y||

    WTF does the practice of polling have to do with reliable sources and evidence?

    Good polling spells out its margin for error, and doesn't claim to be worth more than it is. And there was a lot of good polling in the last election (the thing about election polls is that their accuracy is eventually tested). Still that's a pretty narrow concern, which makes me wonder if you have the slightest clue about the big picture of understanding the world from a factual basis.

  • DarrenM||

    Shorter Matt Welch: "I will not have my opinions dictated by fact checkers!"

    And you do? Just because someone calls himself a 'fact checker' does not mean he actually checks facts. Nor does it mean that person is good at it, assuming some degree of sincerity in doing the job. That *should* be obvious. I suppose as long as the conclusion aligns with your own presuppositions, you're ok with it.

  • T o n y||

    They're hardly perfect, but the claim that they're all in a giant conspiracy to buttress Democratic politicians is not some kind of axiom. You need to show your work too.

  • An0nB0t||

    That's not what the word _conspiracy_ means.

    Otherwise, B-. Uneven, not your best work, but definitely Django material.

  • KPres||

    Not if you don't show yours.

  • PapayaSF||

    OK, here's my work.

    Romney said that the CBO said that up to 20 million people will lose health insurance due to the Obama health care law. Politifact point out that the CBO gave five estimates, and says Romney "cherry-picked" the highest one, and even though he said "up to," they add a bunch of blather and end up rating the statement as "false," even though Romney's statement was 100% true: the CBO did give 20 million as a top estimate.

  • T o n y||

    Did you read the whole piece? It pretty much spells out why Romney's claim was, in the big picture, a big pile of horseshit.

  • PapayaSF||

    Yes I did, and no it doesn't.

  • AuH2O||

    Obama's dick must be raw from all the sucking it gets.

  • ||

    This isn’t a check on the exercise of power; it’s a check on the exercise of rhetoric.

    I love these fact-check articles with titles like "The Untruths of Politican X's Speech", and then you start slogging through it and find the author saying things like, "While it's not factually untrue, it gives the wrong impression," as if a fact isn't a fact if it might make someone think something bad.

    Or the "He said something entirely subjective!" complaint. If it's subjective, it has no truth value, so it can't be untrue. Maybe fact checkers should explore logic and reason before they start declaring what statements are true or false.

  • robc||

    Dont forget the "while it isnt technically true, it isnt really a lie".

  • smiley||

    The fact-checking circle jerks have been immensely entertaining. Not just in a fun, ironic way (think McDonalds promoting a special "all-beef patty" to balance out their other not-burgers). But because they are deliriously, charmingly stupid.

    Only in the main scheme media could something be "mostly false" and lies can be measured in units a la Richter Scale ("Four Pinocchios! Red alert!").

    After reading Matt's article, I checked out Politi-fact for the first in forever and note that they now have "promise-o-meters" that rank the two sides in how much they have kept to their various promises. So naturally, many of Barack "What Gitmo?" Obama's [snort] "Obamameters" are filled up with radiant green while the GOPers with downcast promise-o-meters running on empty. Brilliant.

  • XM||

    The fact checkers remind me of people who get upset over someone saying "literally" too much.

    There's "literally" no death panels to be created by Obamacare. But it will lead to the government rationing and decision making that will harm patients. There was a grain of substance in Palin's populist remark. But fact checkers are only interested in the latter.

    Some fact checkers insisted that Michael Moore was right to say that the income tax rate on the wealthy was once as high 90% in the US. But they didn't bother to mention that few actually paid that amount thanks to deductions and other methods, and whoever was in that tax bracket was insignificant compared to the wealthy today.

    If I said "welfare makes people not work", the fact checkers will ignore the essential point I'm trying to make find obvious evidence that proves you didn't actually surrender your right to work to receive benefits. A tiresome game, they play.

  • druucifer||

    The "grain of truth" in Palin's comments was swallowed by the avalanche of lies. So while I agree with you that there are plenty of good points to be made against Obamacare, Palin (and much of the Republican party) made a conscious and strategic decision to run against a cartoonishly evil version of Obamacare that didn't really exist. While that helped them in the short-term in the 2010 elections, this kind of B.S. has done a lot of damage to Republican credibility. I think there are a lot of people who would have been receptive to a well-reasoned anti-Obamacare argument who were turned off by all the lies.

  • XM||

    There's outlandish rhetoric in any debate. But I'm not sure they lied in most cases.

    The GOP made a lot of gains by arguing that O-care will take money away from medicare and limit their choices, which is more or less true. The rest of the argument is some variant of "Obamacare leads to higher cost, rationing, and less choice" that can be found in this site.

    I'm sure there are people who believe the passage of Obamacare is dawning of a new socialist America, but who cares.

  • Rick Santorum||

    I'm sure there are people who believe the passage of Obamacare is dawning of a new socialist America, but who cares.

    The re-election of Obama is the dawning of a new Soviet America.

  • waaminn||

    That makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

    www.AnonMix.tk

  • Erik Jay||

    Hear that? It's the fat lady singing. And she's getting louder...

  • TomD||

    That photo is begging to have a cigarette photoshopped into it.

  • TomD||

    In case this comment seems perplexing to anyone, I'm talking about the photo that ran with the truncated blog item that ran on Hit & Run:

    http://reason.com/blog/2013/01.....cking-pres

  • Libertarius||

    It's particularly disgusting how the collectivist media constantly tells libtards how smart they are. But not smart enough to know when someone is blowing smoke up their asses in order to spread statism and collectivism.

  • druucifer||

    That's some very trenchant analysis. Really proving that conservatives are the intellectual powerhouses, huh.

  • Libertarius||

    You mad lol

  • Libertarius||

    It's as trenchant an analysis as its subject deserves.

  • Ace Sullivan||

    death panel = patient centered outcomes research institute.

  • vicky||

    ACE.. there are death panels and rationed care with obamacare.
    Obamacare is so great that Obama and his family won't touch it with a 10 ft pole.

  • vicky||

    What am I reading here? Why are we talking about the republicans, when Barack Hussein Obama WON because of the coverup and the lies about:
    1. BENGHAZI
    2. Romney was an evil rich man who killed a mans wife.
    3. romney hid all his money overseas.
    4. Susan rice didn't lie about Benghazi
    5. Obama cares more.
    6. GOP hates women (war on women)
    All this c r a p from the leftist media and from obama.. yet this article is about the GOP.
    Whats wrong with this picture.

  • T o n y||

    Obama won more than 50% of the popular vote for the second time, the first time that's been done since Eisenhower. He won because more people voted for him. And Romney ran probably the most dishonest presidential campaign in history. Stop watching FOX News. It rots the brain.

  • druucifer||

    When did the media report "Obama cares more" as a fact? What they did was report poll results showing that people believed Obama cares more about them. Which is one of the primary reasons that Obama cleaned Romney's clock.

  • NYC80||

    What most disturbs me is how effective this false narrative has been. My father-in-law sees himself as center-right, yet is fond of likening Republicans to people who still believe Elvis is alive. He disagrees with the left wing of the Democratic Party, but sees that opposition as principled debate, not questioning their sanity. He's bought this narrative, and it's blinded him to the Democrats' increasing disconnect with reality, which is every bit as great.

    It seems to me both big parties have gone off the rails, yet the popular narrative only assigns blame to one side, letting the other off the hook. Those of us who aren't members of one of the two big parties must consistently remind everyone we know that the faults and lies of one political party do not make the opposing party right. We may not be able to get them to accept the libertarian alternative, but at least we might dissuade them from becoming even more rabidly partisan.

  • T o n y||

    Actually the biggest problem with political reporting is its habit of treating both sides as more equal than they are. Republicans are batshit insane, and have been getting ever more so with each passing election cycle. They don't have an empirical underpinning for their beliefs, and are long on their journey toward pure dogmatic lunacy. Democrats--actual Democrats like Barack Obama--are pretty much identical to Republicans of the 1980s in policy platform and ability to comprehend a factual universe.

    Treating the two parties as if they are equally wrong about everything should seem highly unlikely on its face.

  • ||

    Being superior to Republicans is setting a pretty low bar for the ruling class. Embracing one set of lunatics over another, explicitly because the other set is crazy, is irrational.

    If treating the two parties as if they are equally wrong is highly unlikely, then it shouldn't be frequently happening, and you can stop worrying about it. Based on your last statement, I assume you're trying to communicate something else.

  • bocomoj||

    Yes, Republicans are "batshit insane." And robbing one Peter to pay 10,000 Pauls is not only logical, but ethical.

  • druucifer||

    Sorry, but that's a false equivalency. There are plenty of Democrats and Republicans who believe crazy things. But since the rise of the tea party, the Republicans have been letting the lunatics run the asylum. How else do you explain sitting members of congress peddling the most ridiculous birther conspiracy theory nonsense?

    It's easy to point to loony Democrats, but by and large those loony Democrats aren't in positions of power. Democrats learned their lesson on that score after the electoral disasters of the 70s and 80s. Republicans are evidently still figuring it out.

  • JeremyR||

    And that's an example of how the media is pushing the narrative that the Tea Party is crazy, when in fact, they just happen to be fiscal conservatives.

  • bocomoj||

    Anyone who believes in redistribution of wealth as a means to cure social ills is loony, and that includes every member of the Democrat party.

  • mangerson||

    As a regular reader of what I believe are the three major fact checkers, I find the premise of this article ridiculous. There is absolutely no shortage of criticism of Obama or liberals on these sites.

    As an example, the Washington Post fact-checker recently published its biggest "Pinocchios" of 2012 and 1/2 (4) of them criticize Obama and democratic claims from the campaign. Two criticize Romney claims, one to Santorum and one to a generic republican line repeated in the fiscal cliff debate.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/....._blog.html

    In fact, Welch gets it wrong on his very first claim regarding the Janesville auto plant. GM did, indeed, announce the closing of the plant prior to Obama's inauguration and the last work done at the plant was the final assembly of some SUV's and plant close-down activities.

    Welch's claims simply are not credible.

  • ||

    Actually, most of the post-fact-check fact-checkers state that the Ryan claim isn't true because Obama said:

    And I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.

    Obama did say this before the shut down, and it was operating after he was inaugurated. It would definitely there for him to save.

    Apparently, Obama wasn't promising the plant would stay open. The "if our government is there to support you" makes it a hypothetical that just never materialized. Therefore, Obama didn't break any promises. It's not about when the plant was scheduled to shut down (at least not here and .

    Of course, this begs the question: why aren't the fact-checkers like Ezra Klein jumping pull out the usual claim: "While a promise wasn't technically broken, this statement, its context, and its implications make it a misleading, and therefore untrue, statement." Apparently, because Paul Ryan or Rick Romney didn't say it.

    But hey: why spend time looking at the sitting President of the United States when there are powerless losers to mock? Glad the media's got it's priorities straightened out.

  • ||

    *and here.

  • Real American||

    no mention of Ezra Klein is complete without noting he founded and promoted JouroList, which was the private forum wherein the lefties in the media, politics and academia conspired to bury stories that hurt Democrats and to label all Republicans as racists instead.

  • druucifer||

    This article raises some good points, particularly about the need to fact-check politicians rather than talk show hosts and pundits. But the one I really disagree with is the distinction between fact checking "rhetoric" versus fact-checking "power."

    This distinction ignores the fact that false rhetoric is frequently employed by politicians precisely because it leads them to power. When the Swift Boat Veterans repeatedly lied about John Kerry's war record, that wasn't some isolated example of "rhetoric" in a vaccuum. That was a calculated lie in the service of holding on to power. When the Obama campaign repeatedly lied about Romney's tax plan, that was also a calculated attempt to hold on to power.

    The bottom line: In the context of politics, the distinction between "rhetoric" and "power" is a false one, since rhetoric is the primary means by which politicians attain and hold on to power.

  • AlexInCT||

    When the Swift Boat Veterans repeatedly lied about John Kerry's war record, that wasn't some isolated example of "rhetoric" in a vaccuum. That was a calculated lie in the service of holding on to power.

    Methinks you meant to say that John Kerry - did I tell you about Cambodia and my 3 purple hearts - lied about his war record and the swiftboaters exposed his lies, right? The guy that has gone to such great lengths to hide his military records, very likely because he got a dishonorable discharge later expunged by Jimmy Carter, and also consistently lied about being in Cambodia, was the one bending the truth. If you know what I mean. The swiftboaters where mean for pointing that out.

  • tbraton||

    You are not even mentioning the two biggest lies associated with the Obama campaign, which the "fact checkers" failed utterly to catch. The first is the claim that Obama saved us from a second "Great Depression." But, as his first economic adviser, Christine Romer, professor of economics at Cal-Berkeley and a specialist in business cycles, pointed out in a piece published before the Obama Administration assumed office, even without a stimulus package the unemployment rate would only rise slightly above the unemployment rate with the Obama stimulus package and would soon come down, eventually to the same level produced by the Obama stimulus package. In fact, all the heavy lifting which prevented anything close to a Great Depression was produced by George W. Bush's TARP and a lot of money creation by Bernanke's Federal Reserve. (A slight variation was Obama's modified claim that he had to deal with the worst recession since the Great Depression. A look at NBER's website reveals that the 1945 recession and the 1937 recession were both more severe than the Great Recession of 2007-09. In fact, the latter was not much worse than the recession of 1981-82.)

    The second big lie was the claim that Obama sped the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which I will address in a second post.

  • tbraton||

    (continuation of prior post)

    The second big lie was the claim that Obama sped the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. In fact, Gen. Colin Powell cited this "accomplishment" as a reason for endorsing Obama a second time in 2012: " Turning to foreign policy, Powell said he saw 'the president get us of one war, start to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars.. . .' " http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50.....president/ (Not surprising that Gen. Powell should lie on behalf of Obama since the Associated Press did a piece six months after the start of the Iraq War in 2003 that established that virtually every claim he made in his famous UN speech urging war against Iraq had proven to be false.) The fact of the matter is that Obama sent more than five times as many troops to Afghanistan than he had pledged during the 2008 campaign, that we now have more than twice as many troops there as when Obama became President, that he extended the pointless war for at least another six years, and that we are now negotiating with President Karzai over how American troops will remain in Afghanistan (figures vary from 6000 to 30,000)after the "withdrawal" date of 12/31/2014. That's some kind of "speedy withdrawal" that the press gave Obama a complete pass on.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Who gives a shit? After the way the Republicans treated Ron Paul, I would have voted for Stalin over Romney.

  • gaoxiaen||

    President Romney? A religious lunatic? Puh-leeeez.

  • gaoxiaen||

    AND Fuck the GOP. I'm registering Libertarian. I don't want to support American Facism.

  • gaoxiaen||

    *Fascism

  • ConstitutionFirst||

    The M a l f e a s e n t Media, all that is left to see is the soles of their patent leather shoes.

  • SoyIsMurder||

    It is no secret that many reporters have a strong liberal bias, but the Republicans are doing themselves no favors by spouting creationist nonsense and suggesting that school shootings are the result of the separation of church and state.

    The religious right has become a millstone around the party's neck, taking focus away from economic arguments where there is strong evidence to support most Republican positions. I voted Libertarian for the first time this year, and I can't see myself going back anytime soon.

  • SandraBridals||

    I think what you said is very good!

  • ||

    America. You elected people who would let you do any evil thing your heart imagines without restraint. Now they are doing every evil thing their heart imagines without restraint.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online