The real news of the day seems to be about...the news. There's a sudden outbreak among journalists of, um, doing important journalistic work--that is, telling the public the truth.
The important truth.
And the important truth of the day is that the GOP's electoral pitch is built on lies.
I've seen a couple diaries linking to this or that example of news organizations blasting Paul Ryan for lying. Over at The Atlantic, James Fallows has for a long time now been pounding his fellow journalists to go beyond "he-said-she-said" and actually report who's lying and who's not. Today Fallows provides a collection of a dozen or so links to various news sources who are doing just that, pointing out the lies and omissions in Paul Ryan's speech of last night. More over the jump.
I'm not taking the time to embed all Fallows's links--you can jump to any of them from Fallows's piece of today:
So I am impressed, in a bad way, that Ryan thought he could just brazen it through. But it is also impressive that, at least in the short run, parts of the press are responding as they must in an era when politicians don't care. That is, they're not simply quoting "critics" about things Ryan made up. They are outright saying that he is telling lies. For instance:My guess on the Fox News piece: they're pre-assigning blame for the anticipated Romney-Ryan defeat. Fox is the first big rat to decide the ship is really sinking.
* The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, with the headline, "Ryan misleads on GM plant closing in hometown."
* A more omnibus fact-check item also by Kessler, with half a dozen similar exaggerations, distortions, etc.
* A very tough item by Jonathan Bernstein, on the WaPo's Plum Line site, with the headline "Paul Ryan fails -- the truth."
* An excoriation by Jonathan Cohn, in the New Republic, under the headline, "The Most Dishonest Convention Speech ... Ever?" As Cohn adds: "I'd like to talk... about what Ryan actually said--not because I find Ryan's ideas objectionable, although I do, but because I thought he was so brazenly willing to twist the truth."At least five times, Ryan misrepresented the facts. And while none of the statements were new, the context was. It's one thing to hear them on a thirty-second television spot or even in a stump speech before a small crowd. It's something else entirely to hear them in prime time address, as a vice presidential nominee is accepting his party's nomination and speaking to the entire country."I know that TNR is not "mainstream" in the sense that the NYT, WaPo, AP, etc are. Still this is a very powerful item. And it leads to:
* An AP item headlined, "FACT CHECK: Ryan takes factual shortcuts in speech."
* An item from NPR with a mildly "he said, she said" headline ("Fact Checkers Say Some of Ryan's Claims Don't Add Up") but that gets the main points across.
* One just now from the NYT, with the headline "In Ryan Critique of Obama, Omissions Help Make the Case." It begins this way: "In his speech accepting the Republican nomination for vice president at the Republican National Convention, Representative Paul D. Ryan criticized President Obama for seeking Medicare cuts that he once sought as well, and for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he too opposed."
* Another excoriation by Michael Tomasky, in the Daily Beast, that is headlined "Paul Ryan's Convention Speech and his Web of Lies" and which begins, "It just boggles the mind to imagine how Paul Ryan can stand up there and lash Barack Obama for abandoning Bowles-Simpson when he did exactly that himself."
* An item on the Fox News site for which there must be an interesting backstory, in which contributor Sally Kohn says that "Ryan's speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech."
* On TPM, a catalogue with the headline "Top 5 Fibs in Paul Ryan's Convention Speech."
To restate the larger points for the moment: The bad one is that a major party's nominee for national office apparently just doesn't care that he is standing in front of millions and telling easily catchable lies. The less-bad one is that parts of the media are noticing, and are trying to figure out what they can do in response.
If you know of fact-check pieces Fallow missed, please link them in the comments.