Maybe I read too much Bob Somerby, maybe this is right on the money. I’ll bet on the latter:
Self-styled “independent fact-checkers” at the Annenberg Center and the neoconservative-dominated Washington Post have positioned themselves as ardent defenders of Mitt Romney’s claims that his Bain Capital tenure ended in 1999 despite questions raised by contradictory information submitted by Romney himself.
Indeed, the behavior of these “fact-checkers” is rapidly becoming the journalism scandal of Campaign 2012 as the likes of Brooks Jackson at Annenberg’s FactCheck.org and the Post’s Glenn Kessler act more as querulous lawyers protecting Romney than as journalists seeking the actual facts surrounding Romney’s curious business narrative.
Much as the Post’s Ceci Connolly and the New York Times’ Katharine Seeyle engaged in aggressive – and dishonest – journalism to portray Vice President Al Gore as a serial liar during Campaign 2000, Jackson and Kessler are performing a similar role in portraying President Barack Obama and his campaign officials as liars now. [For the history, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Al Gore v. the Media” or Neck Deep.]
The media-backed Bush coup of 2000 and subsequent invasion of Iraq aren’t just curiosities for Mark Halperin and John Halperin to analyze. They resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, in the addition of trillions of dollars to the US debt, and now in the unemployment — perhaps permanent — of millions of Americans.
There is no gentle way to say this. I’m sure Glenn Kessler and the Politifact crowd believed they are humble “ink-stained wretches” who occasionally give into the temptation of future wingnut welfare or the fear of angry Redstate emails.
The truth is that they are sociopathic merchants of death and destruction.
OT but related.
Fun ways to spend a Sunday afternoon: shouting at my father over skype from the other side of the world to name one single left wing elected rep or senator who has acted like an extremist or refused to cooperate with republicans and to stop his tutting over how ugly politics is these days. Fucking both sides do it NPR nostrums. My mom, who listens to NPR all day long, is much less blinded by this malarky.
pseudonymous in nc
I’ll step it back a bit.
You know who should be checking facts? Journalists. Not second-degree “fact checkers” at FartChuck.com and Bullshitifact.com. If you’re quoting some Romney spokesbot who talks about “apology tours”, then you follow that phrase in print with [LIE], and if it’s on TV or radio, hit a BZZZZT buzzer. If you’re reporting a speech that contains lies, then you mention that they’re lies, instead of foisting it off to Mr Fact-Choker’s cubicle. The existence of such people is their own indictment.
And if the American Way Of Political Journalism does not permit such things, then the American Way Of Political Journalism needs to be tossed into the furnace.
The Obama campaign is going to keep hammering away at this. They know more than they’ve said already. Eventually our idiot press is going to be forced to go along.
The Republicans are already getting restless:
And let us not forget the idiot savant of the primary season, Gov. Perry:
Edit to fix blockquote fail.
I’m just wondering if Glenn Kessler had some money invested in Bain Capital. I understand hes the great grandson of the founder of Shell Petrolem and his dad was an executive at P&G.
As far as Mittman – all this crap he did for tax avoidance – would it have changed his lifestyle? He would still be able to afford his mansions -4-5 homes whatever, his car elevator, a jet, his wife’s horse hobby, his senate and governor runs??? Okay, his kids wouldn’t have gotten as much money but hell even they would have gotten tens of millions per person on top of expensive private educations and other advantages. I can see somebody who’s got less than $10 million doing this crap – there would be a lifestyle change but $250 million??? WTF
Ceci is Italian for chickpea. What an unfortunate name.
And the “factcheckers” will suffer zero consequences for their blatant Willard fluffing.
@mai naem: It’s the Leona Helmsley principle. Only little people pay taxes.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I haven’t read Somersby in years, and it seems right on the money to me. In their world, you prove you’re not a liberal by giving Republicans a benefit of the doubt to a point beyond any unreasonable doubt. The whole notion of “fact checking” has gotten pretty fucking bizarre. Isn’t “fact checking” just part of journalism?
in re Iraq and the failures of journalism: On Tweety’s show yesterday, guest host Michael Smerconish (who if I understand correctly is a libertarian Republican turned off by the Bush-Palin era, but still an R?) had two guests, an NRO knob and a WaPo reporter* discussing Condi as Willard’s Veep, the entire discussion was about whether or not her mildly pro-choice position was a deal breaker. No mention of 9/11, NSA memos, Iraq, mushroom clouds, Katrina and shoe-shopping. It’s unbelievable.
*Smerconish is big on the CNN model of pairing professional conservatives with straight reporters.
peach flavored shampoo
Can we make “Kessler” into a verb meaning “dishonest hackery in the face of overwhelming evidence”?
As in, “My wife Kesslered me about knocking up the babysitter even though the baby is black and I’m white”.
They just don’t really give a shit about the truth or anything else that doesn’t involve improving their career advancement options within their respective organizations.
Just as with Faux News, the inability for ‘professional journalists’ to set a standard for objective, fact based reporting and to establish industry behavioral norms that don’t tolerate propaganda foisted as news or truth or fact based is dragging their credibility and their business model. They can all settle for divvying up the 3m viewers Faux News gets, but it’s not enough for a whole industry to survive.
Can’t wait until they are all gone. Society just doesn’t need to support this deadweight.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
along these lines, which objective journalist and/or Ed Rendell Democrat will be the most Disappointed in Obama’s Willard Sings ad?
Is there no end to the fixing I gotta do around here?
Cris (without an H)
ha ha, wingnuts, what was that biz about “vetting the candidate” now?
@peach flavored shampoo:
Kessler beat you to it.
I once made the Kessler run in three Pinocchios.
I cannot decide if this post is overly-, or just the right amount of shrill. Bravo, either way.
CW in LA
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: For one, Joe Lieberman’s gotta be looking even droopier than usual right now.
Love it that all these asshole factcheckers are being factfucked everyday.
Let’s not expect way too much of journalists – it is reasonable to expect one to be pretty well informed, but it isn’t reasonable to expect them to know everything at any given moment. Print should allow a reporter the luxury of time to research but the on air guys have what they have at that moment. Granted, there is a lot of bullshit that a knowledgeable person ought to have at hand as bullshit – particularly on the second go-around with talking point shit – but to call bullshit you’d best have accurate info to do it with, not partially remembered stuff. If you get it partially wrong or questionable – well Rather is an example and he wasn’t exactly a nobody.
Then there are “fact checkers” like these asses…
Once upon a time our government spent a lot of time and money taking out people like this.
I’d say you’d have bigger things to worry about in that case.
LMAO. Millennium Falcon FTW!
The idea of the “fact checking” desk was that it would address a failure of mainstream reporting: it would actually explore whether claims made by public figures were true. This was really a function mainstream reporting should have considered within its brief but had ceased doing so, for very familiar reasons. What is unclear to me is why anyone should have thought that people writing under the “fact checking” banner would do any better at it than ordinary reporters. They’re subject to most of the same pressures, apart (I think) from needing to suck up to sources. Their title is different, but the institutional exigencies are pretty much the same, so you get a product that’s congenial to those exigencies.
That product is of course what you see: its commitment to truth is to be judged by whether a Democrat gets exactly one Pinocchio for every Pinocchio a Republican gets (because both sides do it) and not whether what it determines to be true corresponds to discoverable reality. So now we have separate organizations dedicated to bullshit hands-off work that ordinary news desks were already doing, but now they have the aura of “fact checking” that lends their judgments greater momentousness. Presumably this will go away eventually? In which case we will get fact checker-checking desks, that will perform the same function. The Roman satirist Juvenal has a famous, apt remark: quis custodiet ipsos custodes?, “who’s gonna keep an eye on the ones who are keeping an eye out”?
Good grief, Doug. You got your Moore Award nomination already. Please dial back the trolling a bit.
You know who killed journalism? Or at least plunged the final nail in it’s coffin?
Sadly…it was Matt Drudge. He broke the Lewinsky scandal ahead of other journalists because he didn’t bother to source it or provide concrete proof.
Just by chance his reporting happened to be correct…and faster than all the main news media. Which of course drove them to hasten their delivery of newsworthy gossip…by cutting sources and concrete investigations and instead reporting the second they got questionable tip-offs. They could always correct misleading/ false updates after the fact.
That trend has only accelerated since then. Remember the SCOTUS decision on health care? CNN and FOX both jumped at the chance to broadcast that the mandate had been struck down when it had not. Why? Because that was the expected result and they were on a timeline. Break the news before anyone else, truth or false be damned.
Right now a candidate can publish a lie-strewn load of bs statement with the knowledge that almost every news source is going to repeat their claims verbatim rather than take the time to check if it resembles reality at all because another ‘journalist’ might beat them to the payload of spewing it word for word. The days of even remotely checking the veracity of submitted comments by candidates is over; the information age rushes to quote candidates verbatim because fact-checking would take time and thus relegate them to second fiddle.
These are the pricks that sold the BushCo narrative as news, as something resembling true so they’d be merchants of what if not death and destruction? Repeating lies without question for money that got a lot of killing accomplished would be called what, then?
I hope that’s “redd” too much Bob Somerby, not “reed” too much Somerby. That man jumped the shark about 2008, he’s just nuts right now.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: And no mention of her advocacy of torture (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/coleen-rowley/golden-shield-doesnt-cove_b_349764.html)?
I am shocked, shocked, I tell you.
They see Romney’s fundraising prowess and instinctively want to get their noses in Republican asses.
They see how weak a candidate Romney is and want to make sure the horserace lasts until November.
Also they make SIX FUCKING FIGURES A YEAR. How many of them make enough that they’d do quite well with a Romney victory?
Of course they’re shilling for Romney – their pocketbook demands it.
Raven on the Hill
Well. You’ve been radicalized. Now what?
Everyone should read the entire article to which this post links. Excellent analysis and detailed showing of how Kessler and Annenberg are rightwing hacks, and not unbiased factcheckers. Unfortunately for them, I don’t think their advocacy on behalf of Romneybot 2.0 is going to be enough to sweep the Bain scandal under the rug.
Romneybot 2.0 could put this all behind him by releasing his tax returns and actually explaining the discrepancies in the FEC and SEC filings.
I don’t share your sanguine view of Kessler’s and Politifact’s self-images. It’s impossible to have a functioning brain and yet innocently cough up the loads of crap they’ve published this week. They know exactly what they’re doing.
To engage in a bit of arrant pedantry, only one of them is a Halperin; I believe you’ll find that John is a Heilemann.
Gee, that sounds like all the wingnut anti-privacy arguments. If you did nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, so you shouldn’t object to having the police rummage through your stuff. Turn about is fair play.
@valency: It’s weird. You’d think something like this would be right up his alley. But he hasn’t been talking about it at all. He’s off grinding axes with MSNBC.
Annenberg can’t posibly be right wing hacks. I know for a fact that Annenberg was responsible for hooking Barack Obama up with Bill Ayers, which proves that they’re radical leftists. Four Pinocchios on Fire!
For the first time since I can remember, tuned in to stream a little Meet the Press. Big mistake. Bob Woodward did a shameless knob polish for his paper the WAPO, and with Kessler doing a fine job at debunking the Obama campaigning on Romney and the SEC filings.
The Those silly SEC docs didn’t mean anything, according to Woodward, nobody pays attention to those things in the finance world. Very telling coming from the Ivory Tower, on why the moneyed world is so completely out of control, along with its apologists.
No mo sunday show bullshit fo me.
@General Stuck: I watched a few minutes of it to see Ed Gillespie say that Romney too a leave of absence from the company in 1999. Of course that tan skin sack with hair, David Gregory, didn’t follow up with “Then why did Bain say he had taken a part-time leave of absence?” Wouldn’t want to ask a follow up or anything.
And now we have documents signed by Romney in 2002, listing him as “managing partner”/ It they let this guy skate past this epic bullshit, we might as well pack it in as a democracy with an impartial press, doing its role as the 4th estate.
@General Stuck: Chronological time identification has a liberal bias. Time flows not year by year with events manifesting upon a detectable and directional timeline, but in the preferred manner in the hearts of conservatives.
JR in WV
Here are the facts:
Romney has signed (under penalty of perjury, like all federal forms) two different set of forms, one for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and one for the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) regarding his ownership and control of Bain.
In one set of forms, for the SEC, he has sworn that he was sole owner, Chief Executive Officer, President and chairman of the Board of Bain, through at least 2002. It seems safe to conclude that there are a myriad of other business forms Romney signed as CEO of Bain.
In the other set of forms, for the FEC, he was sworn that he had no connection whatsoever with Bain after 1999.
One of these statements is false. They cannot both be true. And that is a felony, even if these false statements are rarely prosecuted.
I imagine the Obama Campaign has other sets of facts that Romney has sworn to that are inconsistent, with ads already in the can. There are probably other facts that don’t involve felonies, but involve Romney and his company, Bain, that will make large sets of the republican party squirm, like the company that incinerated aborted fetuses along with plain old biomedical waste.
Imagine being the campaign manager orchestrating the schedule of advertisements to be released, and buying the air time to publish each new set of facts Romney is surrounded by!
Now there’s a political plum job! I would love to be a part of that team, sitting around a big conference table with good local snacks, iced power drinks, chips, and a slideshow presentation with the meat of each series of campaign ads, and the pros and cons of which set to go with early and which set to run late in the campaign.
I would take that job for $1 a week, and travel expenses.
In fact I would donate $100 a week for the remaining time of this campaign to be part of that team, if someone covered my expenses.