Reflections on misinformation inside the right wing media echo chamber and the Romney campaign
The Origin of the 47% Meme: Fox News July 28, 2010
The Media Matters video of Steve Doocy will not embed here on DKos, but it's on my site and is just a few seconds, so check it out. It's the earliest mention of 47% I can find. Then come back here...Much is being said following Romney's defeat about the right-wing bubble. Living inside the Republican bubble not only required disregarding facts, but also the propagation of falsehoods to wrongly affirm their credibility. This sterile environment, devoid of simple fact checking ("We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."), echoed the demagogues and led to the tsunami of forwarded emails and Facebook 'liking' that is so popular with rabid Republicans and Libertarians.
Did Romney actually believe the 47% meme when he was unknowingly recorded speaking at a posh fundraiser, or was he intentionally catapulting the propaganda? This was not an audience of uneducated white males, a demographic group courted and easily bamboozled by Republicans, but a gathering of businesspeople who paid $50,000 to see Romney. It is unlikely that he would intentionally lie to fellow plutocrats who he believes are the educated movers and shakers of America. It is likely, however, that he truly believed it because he heard it again and again on Fox News.
The Debates and False Memes
Judging from Romney's reaction to the now iconic moment when President Obama insisited, "Please proceed, Governor," it could be said that he believed another right wing talking point that had previously been debunked. This blunder allowed Obama to erase the momentum Romney had gained in the first debate and removed the Benghazi consulate issue from any further serious debate.
These incidents, combined with Obama's move to define Romney early in the campaign as a hardhearted, tax dodging corporate raider, turned Romney's road to the White House into a narrow, thorn lined path winding through enemy territory.
The Detroit Bailout Memes
Meanwhile, back in the bubble, the Romney campaign continued to disregard the facts (and their checkers) and opened another battle front by attacking the auto industry recovery in states that benefited from Obama's bailout and Cash for Clunkers program. Romney's claim that Chrysler was moving Jeep production to China was easily debunked with a simple Google search, yet he continued the attack.
The Law of Holes
By ignoring the first rule of the law of holes, "When you are in a hole, stop digging," Romney lost Ohio and Michigan and made his gains in Florida inconsequential.
The second rule in the law of holes in Romney's case should have been, "Google it."
Rule Three, "Stop believing your own propaganda on Fox News."
Credit Where Credit is Due
Much of the credit for Obama's victory should go to pundits like Fox's Steve Doocy, an unknown waitperson in Florida, and the email forwarding legion of wingnuts who wove a republican reality out of falsehoods and wishful thinking.