Monday, September 29, 2008

Palin's Lies And The Internet's Power

This site may be a little Sarah Palin heavy this next week but with her debate against Joe Biden looming on Thursday and the sheer amount of ignorance and lies generated by John McCain's campaign around her I think I can be forgiven this indulgence; and you have to admit that this whole farce is pretty damn entertaining, especially since it wasn't my guy who chose her.

Now obviously I like to post the interview failures and comedic parodies but all of that is based on some basic truths: she was not vetted responsibly by the McCain campaign, she is wholly unqualified to lead this country and she is an inveterate, bald-faced liar. I've focused a lot on the former two points but I haven't had the time to catalog all of the lies referred to in the latter; fortunately, Andrew Sullivan was kind enough to write a comprehensive roundup of her numerous prevarications, replete with documentation (I find that I run across far less documentation when I read that Barack Obama is a Muslim or that he wants to raise taxes on the middle class):

Palin could not have asked her girls for permission to accept McCain's veep offer if she also says she accepted the offer unblinkingly and right away. Palin did fire a police chief even as she insisted to a reporter she hadn't. She did violate the confidential medical records of Mike Wooten. She hasn't met with any trade missions from Russia. She does not have any gay friends that anyone can find. She did not oppose the Bridge to Nowhere. She did not sell that plane on eBay. Her Teleprompter did not fail in her convention speech. Alaska's state scientists did not conclude that polar bears were in no danger. She did deny publicly that humans had anything to do with climate change.

Alaska does not provide "nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy," as she claimed. The gas pipeline she touts as her major "mission accomplished" has not broken ground and may never do so. She did not take a pay-cut as mayor of Wasilla. And on and on. Anyone with Google can check all of these out. Including reporters.

These are all documented, bald-faced factually irrefutable lies. More to the point: she refuses to cop to them or be held accountable for them or take questions about them. Until she does, we can rightly infer there is no reason to believe anything she says, and that includes her recent medical history. A liar like this cannot be taken on trust. We have to verify it all.

She's been doing this for years but has had very little media coverage or, more importantly, follow up by the press to expose these falsehoods. Of course this campaign's practice of telling lies on a regular basis started with McCain himself and I really think that his lack of understanding of the scope and power of the world wide web has in part led him down this path: you just can't do that anymore and get away with it! The modern day dissemination of information renders it virtually impossible and he either doesn't grasp that concept or he is so cynical as to believe that he can get elected this way (sadly, I'm sometimes that cynical as well). Farhad Manjoo catalogs both camapigns' falsehoods and wonders why Obama doesn't lie more often:
Since July, John McCain and his campaign have made 11 political claims that are barely true, eight that are categorically false, and three that you'd have to call pants-on-fire lies—a total of 22 clearly deceptive statements (many of them made repeatedly in ads and stump speeches). Barack Obama and Joe Biden, meanwhile, have put out eight bare truths, four untruths, and zero pants-on-fire lies—12 false claims. These stats and categories come from PolitiFact, but the story looks pretty much the same if you count up fabrications documented by FactCheck.org or the Washington Post's Fact Checker, the other truth-squad operations working the race: During the past two and a half months, McCain has lied more often and more outrageously than Obama.
The power the Internet has provided to the average voter in terms of gathering information about these two candidates is unprecedented and historic; this technology will most likely affect future elections in ways we can't even imagine at this point. One of my great fears however is that this will do little to sway people from believing the lies that they themselves want to hear; why make an effort to find out the truth when the lie is so much more comfortable? Further proof that evolution seems to lack any intelligent, guiding hand; wouldn't it be great if we were getting smarter as a species? But no, we're just getting more superstitious and ignorant, and we seem perfectly content to let that happen so long as we can still drive our cars and watch our TVs. Sad.


Intrepid Californio said...

Yeah I can't wait for this one. Hopefully the watchers of the debate discern how controlled her responses are and her inability to answer the questions directly and accurately. I don't think she is natural spinster, just a dip dong.

JBW said...

Did you say diphthong?