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The Romney campaign has released an astonishingly deceptive new ad, containing a blatant, flat-out lie.  The new ad actually edits together snippets of words and sentences to make it sound as if President Obama said something he did not say, and then attacks him for saying it.  How will America's news media respond?  Will the public be informed that they are being lied to?  And if not, what comes next -- "photos" of the President robbing a bank?

The New Romney Ad

This is the new Romney ad, intended to shock opinion leaders enough to move public scrutiny away from the problems of his tax returns, conflicting statements about when he was or was not at Bain Capital, and possible possible illegal conduct.

Here is what the President actually said: (from Monday's post, The Latest Lie: "You Didn't Build That")

President Obama pointed out that businesses did not build the roads and bridges that help them get their products to markets. He said that in the United States we succeed together. Here is the full quote:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

Media MUST Take Sides On This

What is the purpose and function of our news media?  This country was once a self-respecting democracy and the purpose of the news media was to provide needed information to the public so We, the People could make informed decisions.  And people who entered the journalism profession did so to serve as watchdogs of the public interest.

That was then.  Today, many say that the purpose of the media -- and everything else -- is to make money for those who own it.  And that means respecting and never, ever going against those with the most money.  And today the ambition of many in the profession is to follow a corporate career path, maybe eventually land a major-media gig.  Going down that path means playing ball, not making waves, and most of all not being branded as "anti-business."  And all that means, of course, never, ever going against those with the most money.

This new journalistic model -- never, ever going against those with the most money -- is what the Romney campaign is counting on today.

In this model news is supposed to be "objective" and "not take sides" as long as you take a side against those who are not "business friendly."  The new standard for news reporting is to follow a "he said, she said" storyline.  And always throw in a dose of "both sides do it" false equivalence.

So what about when a big, flat-out, blatant lie -- a knowing fraud with clear intent to deceive people -- comes down the pike?  What should journalists and news organizations do then?  Should they pass the buck over to snarky "two pinnochio" pretend-fact checkers, or should they take it on and warn the public?

This ad is a key test of the direction of our national news media.

The media can't just take the usual "one side said, the other side said" approach, because we can see what "one side" actually said and it isn't at all what "the other side" says was said.  This ad is just a lie.  It is a fraud against the public and democracy for a campaign for President of the United States to do this.

So, news media, what are you going to do about it?  Are you going to warn the public?  Or are you going to claim that "both sides do it"?

Questions For Comments

Leave a comment, what do you think?

How should the news media respond when something like this -- so far out of the boundaries of conduct for American Presidential campaigns -- comes along?  How should the media handle blatant lies?

Is this the most deceptive ad in Presidential campaign history?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture.  I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Originally posted to davej on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So far, they failed. n/t (6+ / 0-)

    "I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization." - United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (Republican) -8.12, -5.18

    by ncarolinagirl on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:45:47 PM PDT

  •  Corporate media will repeat whatever Willard says (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nailbanger, FiredUpInCA, DarkestHour

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:52:56 PM PDT

  •  i think i can hear the edits in obama's comments. (0+ / 0-)

    anyone else?

    I'll need some room for this...

    by duckhunter on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:57:40 PM PDT

  •  What the hell can we do to get someone to put this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, FiredUpInCA, davej

    out on the national stage.

    I am so sick and fucking tired of the bullshit lies intentionally and maliciously created by the romney campaign.  How anyone can describe this crap as differing opinion is beyond me.

    Yet "The dueling presidential candidates and their campaigns dispute each other's interpretation," is a key line in the most recent CNN article about these deceptive ads.

    The article does provide the full Obama quote but nowhere is the TRUTH about romney's LIES discussed.

    It is disturbing to say the least.

    The Romney campaign: like watching a monkey fuck a football.

    by Mikesq on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:04:45 PM PDT

  •  Does Romney Staff Ever Check Anything Out? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nailbanger, FiredUpInCA, rennert

    Today Romney went to Massachusetts & hammered Obama for his comments the other day about every business needing help.  Romney had the workers lined up behind him at Middlesex Truck & Coach.

    The problem.  This company needed help to get started.  It got help from the government including industrial revenue bonds.  It didn't do it alone.

    Just like the President said.

  •  Dear Media, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Now that is what you call 'swiftboating.'  

  •  Let's Give the Media Credit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    At least they're consistent.

    If Obama wants this to be an issue, he has to make it an issue. His lack of a response so far is a bit worrying. If he is running his campaign with the hope that the media will be competent, then we are a few months away from President Romney. I think one of his biggest shortcomings over the past few years is that he has expected the media to be somewhere in the vicinity of intelligent.

    "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

    by Reino on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:31:00 PM PDT

    •  There's a diary about President Obama's response (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Reino, eXtina, ParkRanger

      On Screen: Mitt Romney is launching a false attack.
      Romney speaking: President Obama exposed what he really thinks of free people and the American vision. He said this: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

      On Screen: The only problem? That's not what he said.

      President Obama Speaking: If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.

      On Screen: It turns out, Romney agrees.

      Romney speaking: We value school teachers, firefighters, people who build roads.

      President Obama Speaking: Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.

      Romney speaking: So you really couldn't have a business if you didn't have those things.

      President Obama Speaking: The point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

      On Screen: Mitt Romney will say anything.

      The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

      by FiredUpInCA on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:43:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Disappointing but not surprising (0+ / 0-)

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:42:28 PM PDT

  •  Several times now, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    once on NBC Nightly News and twice on CNN (and I'm sure elsewhere), I saw them show short clip of just the one sentence, "If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that."

    That is WRONG.

    If it was a standalone sentence, with no ambiguity as to what the pronoun "that" referred to, it might be fair. But since the Obama team and most neutral observers say that the word "that" refers to the roads and bridges in the previous sentence, the media can NOT leave that sentence out.

    To leave the previous sentence out is to give their viewers no way to make up their own minds as to what "that" refers to, since they're given no alternative noun but that it refers to "business".

    The only fair way to show the clip is to show both sentences and let the listener make up their own mind.

    The media is really falling down on the job on this.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic insomniac. I lie awake at night wondering if there's a dog.

    by rennert on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 07:43:31 PM PDT

  •  The media isn't failing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they are doing it on purpose.

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:43:21 PM PDT

  •  I thought it was illegal for stations to air false (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ads, but I haven't checked it.  We can contact the stations or networks to complain.  Even if they don't have it on we could contract stations and say that we will not watch them if they air false ads.  Twitter gets the message out.  

    Media Matters had an article on CNN reporting about the ad

    CNN Facilitates Romney's Deceptive Attack Ad Against Obama

    In a July 19 article headlined, "Romney drives a truck through Obama's 'build that' remark," reported on a new ad from the Mitt Romney campaign that attacked President Obama over his recent remarks about small businesses, without pointing out that the ad dishonestly edited Obama's comments to portray him as anti-business.

    Furthermore, here's the way CNN described the Romney ad: " 'These Hands' [is] about an owner in charge of a family business who challenges Obama's claim that his family did not build their business on their own." Again, CNN did not inform readers that Obama made no such claim in his remarks.

    We can do research and give people to contact information for any topic we write about rather than just leave it hanging.

    Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.~ Howard Zinn

    by ParkRanger on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 01:34:32 AM PDT

    •  I think it's a policy, but not a law or regulation (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not a lawyer, but I remember a case from Florida brought by investigative journalists (Akre and Wilson) who were paid by Fox to do a story on BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone). When their research indicted BGH and it's manufacturer Monsanto, Fox would not run it as writen and wanted them to falsify the results of their study.

      Ultimately, Fox fired Akre and Wilson, who then sued Fox. During several lengthy legal battles concerning this employment discrimination claim, it was determined that while the FCC had a policy against airing deceptive or false stories, that policy did not rise to the level of a mandate by law or regulation. Fox finally ended up winning at the Appeal Court level and got a judgement against Akre and Wilson.

      I would appreciate it if a real lawyer would explain the legal issues and findiings better than I can. Thanks in advance.

      Eradicate magical thinking

      by Zinman on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 01:05:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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