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Today’s Opinions poll

Should the United States fund the service program AmeriCorps? President Obama would increase its budget. Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate federal funding for the program.

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Post Partisan
Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 08/30/2012

PostScript: An editorial and Paul Ryan’s misleading speech

Last night the handsome geek got up to speak, and everyone on Earth, besides us here in the PostScript bunker, watched and listened and tweeted and got the good or bad vapors. PostScript aspires to be one of the most important and sought-after people in the election this year: the low-information voter.

The bunker is located in D.C., which immediately negates any power and mystique she gets from being low-information, given the historical certainty of the District’s vote. Still, she was pretty shocked when the normally reliably red Virginia turned out to be a swing state last time, so who knows how the District will vote this time? PostScript likes getting shiny mail from campaigns.

Back to those good or bad vapors. As PostScript wrote a few days ago, the most interesting thing about political theater (much like stage theater) is when things go wrong, or something unexpected happens and someone has to figure out how to interpret these odd new events.

Lefty blogs have been complaining for months that the mainstream media (hi guys!) refused to call out things Mitt Romney says that are not actually true in this world. Our own Greg Sargent contends that even newspapers and TV stations and blogs that try to fact-check these things are concerned about seeming partisan, so are being wussies about clearly labeling lies as “lies.” So today’s Post editorial about Paul Ryan’s deceptive and deceiving speech makes us feel kinda whoa.

And then there were 4,000 comments on the editorial, which is also whoa.

(Amazingly, a Fox News blog also chided Ryan for prevaricating; Fox offers no place for reader comments, but PostScript really wanted to read them.)

8-Man2 hopes The Post will go further:

Indeed. It’s time for the Wapo to stop dancing around calling him “loose with the facts.” Let’s call liars, well uh, liars. Paul Ryan lied about the GM plant closure, the debt commission, the credit rating downgrade, and plenty of other half truths and misleading statements.

flyover22 says it’s not a truth/lies distinction but one of two opinions, which could be summarized by one of two headlines:

“Political Speech Highly Opinionated!” or “Speech Disagreeing with the Post Found Misleading”

CH-ican contends that it’s not up to The Post to determine the truth of what is said, that that’s a citizen’s right. (CH-ican does not explain how a citizen is to get the facts, without the media helping out.) Ch-ican also reserves judgment for a week:

Let’s see what is said at the next convention. I’m ready to bet there will no fewer innuendoes, misinterpretations, soundbites out of context, and outright lies.
We have a kettle calling the pot black problem on BOTH sides.
It will be interesting to see what the Post has to say after the next convention. I’m an optimist, let’s see if they fact-check as closely.

bethg1841 characterizes the editorial itself as misleading:

What The Post does not mention is that Romney has made it clear that he does not support retention of the Medicare cuts and won’t include them in the budget he will prepare if elected.
At no time during his speech did Ryan blame Obama for the plant closing in Janesville. The reference was made as part of his message that government involvement is not the cure for everything that ails us. Obama: “I believe that if our government is there to support you . . . this plant will be here for another hundred years.”

denver13 is pretty cynical about it all, accusing The Post of presenting a smorgasbord of conflicting opinion, obscuring objective truth by opinions that will satisfy any and all prevailing biases:

If you don’t like this critique of Ryan’s speech go and read Krauthammer, Will, Rubin or that protege of infamous Lee Atwater in this same newspaper. They will be saying what you want to hear.

ElizaJane2 says the truth has already been stated elsewhere in The Post:

This is all covered, extensively, by The Post’s own Fact Checker over at the Politics section. You might want to check out his most recent article.

But satxusa says Fact Checker is no help at all:

The WaPo fact checker is busy obfuscating reality.

So, what does all this mean? What seems to be a whoa editorial doesn’t seem to have changed any minds. So the argument that the mainstream media should be calling out lies in politics kind of flopped. Commenters, at least, finished the article with more or less personal affinity for The Post, but it doesn’t appears to have changed anyone’s ideas about the candidates. Or sparked a hunger for the actual truth.

So, no matter who wins the next election, what can any of us do about that?

OBJECT-IVE seems to summarize this well:

Obviously, but unfortunately, politics is not about truth; it’s about salesmanship.
As long as we prefer to hear only what we want to hear, that’s what we will be told.
We won’t hear the truth until we demand it, not only from our politicians, but from ourselves.

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  04:00 PM ET, 08/30/2012

Tags:  rnclive, ep

 
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