The exercise of current politics seems to be a matter of shading or ignoring facts while often obfuscating the truth with misleading rhetoric. Whether as blatant as claiming Obama voted for tax increase 94 times or subtly slick as suggesting prioritizing a delay in building a local library expansion over a pet Downtown development project, the pros no how to manipulate reality to the detriment of our citizenry.
We expect our media to shed light on policy debates (that is when debate isn’t shutdown as a bloc campaign tactic – as we sadly observed in our last local municipal election) but that isn’t always the case.
Luckily, there are some excellent resources for checking the factual basis of this years presidential race with various organizations fact-checking both politician and media statements for accuracy. Examples?
From the Annenberg folk’s FactCheck.org
Palin repeated a false claim that Obama once voted in favor of higher taxes on â€œfamiliesâ€ making as little as $42,000 a year. He did not. The budget bill in question called for an increase only on singles making that amount, but a family of four would not have been affected unless they made at least $90,000 a year.
Biden wrongly claimed that McCain had said “he wouldn’t even sit down” with the government of Spain. Actually, McCain didn’t reject a meeting, but simply refused to commit himself one way or the other during an interview.
From the Congressional Quarterly and St. Petersburg Times PolitiFact.com
Palin wrongly characterized Barack Obama’s health plan when she said it would be “government-run.”
From Media Matters
National Public Radio senior news analyst Cokie Roberts responded that Sen. Joe Biden “talked about the Bosniaks.” Roberts later said: “[I]f [Gov. Sarah Palin] had said ‘Bosniak,’ everybody would be making a big deal of it, you know.” In fact, Biden correctly referred to certain residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Bosniaks. According to the U.S. State Department, as of 2002, the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina consisted of the following ethnic groups: “Bosniak 48.3%, Serb 34.0%, Croat 15.4%, others 2.3%.”
There are more resources than ever to pierce the veil of political spin (BS) that has become the working currency of national politicians. Unfortunately, and especially with our local media in flux, there are far fewer resources to untangle the web some of our local leaders like to spin.