The collective jaw of what's left of responsible journalism is agape at the unfettered, unprecedented mendacity of the Romney/Ryan campaign.
middlegirl did a great job yesterday of collecting links to document the pushback.
The Romney/Ryan campaign has come right out and said that fact-checking won't make a difference in what they do, so long as their data says their lying messages are resonating:
The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” awarded Romney’s [welfare] ad “four Pinocchios,” a measure Romney pollster Neil Newhouse dismissed.
“Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” he said.
How in the world do they think they're going to get away with this?
From my vantage point here in Madison, I'm wondering if the Romney campaign, with Wisconsin's Paul Ryan on the ticket, has been emboldened to this astonishing approach by the ugly success of Scott Walker's triumph in the Wisconsin Recall.
More beyond the jump.
The propaganda machine behind Scott Walker was powerful. It was immense. Due to a loophole in Wisconsin's recall law, he was able to raise unlimited funds for his actual campaign just as soon as signature collecting started, not to mention the tsunami of funding from outside groups. The Walker propaganda started months before there was a candidate chosen to oppose him, setting the narrative early and with minimal pushback.
There were two main propaganda messages in the Scott Walker's campaign.
Message #1 - The Big Lie: It's Working! The Wisconsin economy is on the right track!
Message #2 - The Big Convince: Recalls should only be used in cases of criminal malfeasance, not for political disagreements.
Message #1, The Big Lie, came directly from the Walker campaign, aided and abetted by the state Department of Workforce Development, as they spun the numbers, ducking and weaving and occasionally lying outright.
The second message came from the Republican Governors' Association, with a gush of money and a carefully coordinated strategy.
Both messages started early and created measurable public-opinion swing. Neither message was effectively countered.
In general, Wisconsin has had a major media FAIL when it comes to pushback on the Big Lie about Walker's job creation record.
As Jake's Economic TA Funhouse reports, the Walker Jobs Deficit -- the difference between the number of jobs Wisconsin has and the number we SHOULD have if we'd managed to keep pace with national job growth -- is 86,500 jobs overall. We've lost 17,300 jobs just since the June recall! No matter what they say in Tampa, it still ain't working in Wisconsin.
But the propaganda blitz? That did work.
According to the Marquette Law School Poll, here's how they moved the needle on the jobs/economy claim.
Thinking about the state as a whole, do you think there are more jobs compared to a year ago, fewer jobs, or about the same?
More jobs 22%
Fewer jobs 30%
About the same 45%
June 13-16, 2012
More jobs 35%
Fewer jobs 24%
About the same 39%
And here's how they moved the needle on convincing Wisconsin not to approve of recalls in general:
Do you think the recall process should be changed to allow recalls only in the case of criminal wrongdoing, or should it be kept as it is currently, with no restrictions?
Jan 19-22, 2012
Allow only in cases of criminal wrongdoing 43%
Kept as it is currently with no such restrictions 53%
June 13-16, 2012
Allow only in cases of criminal wrongdoing 50%
Kept as it is currently with no such restrictions 44%
When it comes to the propagandizing of public opinion on the recall itself, they snookered us altogether. Post-recall conventional wisdom, from pundits to Dem luminaries
to Kos commenters
, have declared "Wisconsinites just don't like recalls." Even Russ Feingold has publicly rolled over on that point ("I wouldn't have won either... [Voters] didn't think a recall was appropriate
"). But there's some almost-unnoticed reporting that lays the anti-recall propaganda bare, from a piece in The Progressive by Elizabeth diNovella
. She describes a recall post-mortem public panel presentation.
Matt Gagnon, the digital director for the Republican Governors Association (RGA), represented the conservative voice on the panel. Gagnon is a hired gun who previously worked for a union, the NFL’s Player Association.
As Gagnon reported on the panel,
In February, the RGA had a “high level strategy meeting.” First, it came up with a message: a recall should happen only if there was criminal behavior or malfeasance.
They pumped that message via the ads, the right-wing echo chamber amplified the anti-recall propaganda and the "it's working" lie -- and by the time the recall actually came around, those two "opinions" among the electorate could easily account for the difference by which Scott Walker beat Tom Barrett.
And that, I submit, is a major factor in why they think they can get away with this on a national basis.
If facts don't matter in Wisconsin, why in the world should they matter nationwide?
If enough money can bend enough public opinion in Wisconsin, and people don't even realize they've been manipulated, why not from coast to coast?
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Update: I've changed the title from "They Know" to "Why They Think" to better capture what I really think. Houses in Motion points out some of the good signs of hope that the nation WILL be different than Wisconsin. I agree -- it's certainly my hope -- please feel free to continue to point out similarities & differences in the comments, everyone!