Who Cares If It’s True? It Works.

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Still from Romney campaign's anti-Obama welfare ad

“Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check,” a Romney ad claims. The ad is a variation on a theme — The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein points out that if you click through the videos on Romney’s official website, you’ll find more ads about welfare than just about any other issue. “Of the 12 most recent ads posted, five are about welfare,” Klein writes. “That’s more than the number dedicated to health care (four) or introducing Paul Ryan (one) or the economy (one).”

Romney’s claim that the Obama administration has dropped the work requirements for welfare recipients has been thoroughly debunked, and that debunking has been widely reported. In fact, the administration “allows states to try different ways of meeting the work requirements of the federal law” in an effort to “make welfare-to-work efforts more successful, not end them,” according to Politifact, which gave the ad its lowest “pants on fire” rating.

Why then, do the ads keep running? Two Romney insiders offered some surprisingly candid insight into the question at a forum hosted by ABC News and Yahoo! News this morning.

“Our most effective ad is our welfare ad,” said Ashley O’Connor, one of Romney’s top ad strategists. The ads target white working class voters, a crucial demographic, who have in the past harbored deep resentment towards welfare recipients.

We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” added campaign pollster Neil Newhouse after the panel.

So where does the “who cares if it’s true, it works” attitude, as journalism professor Jay Rosen calls it, leave voters? And, as Rosen wonders in a recent blog post: what can the media — and the public — do about it? Rosen raises the question in a recent post on his Press Think blog, but can’t come up with an answer.

Any suggestions?

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  • sandys

    Call it out as a lie every time it is mentioned.
    Press the campaign representatives on this and every other lie at every opportunity so they can’t get other messages out until they get clean,

  • Br. John Magdalene

    Make it a crime to lie in political ads: treat it as perjury and it will stop.

  • Tom

    Pray for Hurricane Isaac to change routes quickly!

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t the fact that the Republicans are lying over and over about this issue, in itself make it newsworthy?.. Where is the media? It should be on the news channels, not as a story where the Obama campaign call them lies, but the fact that they are lies…Doesn’t the public have a right to be informed?

  • Shoo Fitz-Wearit

    Here’s how to handle the lies, courtesy Ed Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania, who said this on Charlie Rose recently, regarding how John Kerry should have responded to the swiftboat attacks:

    Look in the camera and say “How dare they attack my war record.”
    He does that, boom he’s POTUS. Because he looks like a leader.


    approx. 11:00 minutes in

  • http://www.facebook.com/george.polisner George A. Polisner

    There should be a fact general (like the surgeon general). When an ad is predicated upon an outright lie -there should be a scrolling banner at the bottom of the ad -something to the effect of “Warning: this ad is completely false, misleading and dishonest.”

  • Rod Hill

    Place a rebuttal ad after the most intense negative ads. Is it possible to buy follow up time immediately after the initial false ad?

  • http://profiles.google.com/gmwimpmccann Genevieve Wimp-McCann

    call it out, make it an obvious and blatant shout as to the lies this candidate and his entire campaign are perpetuating. Statistically the majority of people receiving federal aid i.e. food stamps, “welfare” etc. are whites, just by the sheer numbers in the demographic structure of the United States. Harummphff I detest the dirty tactics and the demonization or brown and black people especially the othering of the President.

  • yo yo jo ma

    This is brilliant strategy. We all at this point know that politicians lie. In this case you have the working poor who are actually a paycheck or so away from being on welfare themselves (or unemployment) . They are frustrated and not able to get ahead in life. This ad hits a nerve so there is that ‘truth’ that is real. Someone is perceived to be getting something for nothing. So the working poor are pit against those who are actually in a worse off place than they are. Bravo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/righan Kellee Kramer Byrd

    It’s being reported on daily on MSNBC, you just need to expand where you get your news from. also check out Factchecker.org, great source for debunking on both sides

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I do all of that.. But the people who really need to hear it don’t watch MSNBC… I have not heard it on ABC, CBS, or NBC, or FOX…Anytime there is a known lie, no matter who’s political camp it comes from, the media has a duty (or it used to) to inform the public… Not just that one side is taking issue with it, but state the facts… A lie is a lie and should be newsworthy….

    But when the media is mostly owned by the right, Its not happening.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jobrownbluesky Jo Brown

    Agree that political ads and candidate statements should be held to the same standard as are witnesses in a trial. Perjury is a crime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1423224144 Susan MacDonnell

    “The ads target white working class voters, a crucial demographic, who have in the past harbored deep resentment towards welfare recipients.”
    To make this statement more to the point, substitute “African Americans” for welfare recipients. Creating and reinforcing race animosity was honed during slavery, and after emancipation– when white businessmen and politicians pushed the strategy to turn poor whites’ anger about their own miserable condition against the freed slaves. Reagan picked up the thread with his “Welfare queen” and war on drugs rhetoric. It has always been about stoking the anger of poor, working class and now faltering middle class whites against people of color, keeping them at each others’ throats, while the wealthy and powerful elite run the country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/penwafrance Penny France

    Perhaps have people flood their state republicans and ask them if they have to continue working or training while collecting welfare or can they just wait for their check to come in the mail. Many of them have facebook pages, websites and phone numbers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=616676820 Herb Neu

    Our country’s principles have been hijacked and replaced with the birth of fascism.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1674662137 Melanie Bratko

    There needs to be some control over these campaign ads. I think a slander suit should be instituted. Maybe if fines were imposed, everyone would think twice about lying.

  • felliniquilter

    Yeah, MSNBC reports the Romney “welfare” ads and the lies–but many people come home from work and watch the prime time news which often spends its time reporting things like the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes break-up (opening 10 mins of the 23 they have to report news). The prime time news should do its job: inform he electorate about what truly impacts their lives. They present more of a People Magazine/Entertainment Tonight show far far too often.

  • http://www.facebook.com/art.gagnon Art Gagnon

    Grow a pair and let Faux News be the only network carrying the lies

  • roybro

    Allow rebuttal ads to use content from the original ad to debunk it. Turn the lie around back onto the liars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.lindberg.79 Brian Lindberg

    uhhh…could we tar and feather them?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-John-Martin/1094577884 Paul John Martin

    Ganges, I’m not sure about the media being mainly owned by the right, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as News is part of the Entertainment department, they will continue their bland, pitch it halfway between them and call it fair approach. Our only remedy is the Off button.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paula.matson1 Paula Matson

    A law for a maximum of $2000 contribution individual or corportation or PAC or anybody, anyway. Requirement for truth in advertising. Complete truth.

  • Taylorcat

    It could just be treated as defamation of character … most politicians won’t sue each other … but these Republicans are such sociopathic liars, new steps should be taken. Some of the stuff out there is just absurd. And some people will believe it is true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/glenda.meier Glenda Johnson Meier

    Are there no ‘truth in advertising’ requirements anymore? Freedom of speech should apply to opinions, not to flat out lying. There could be a disclaimer running across the bottom of the political ad stating that these words are contrary to facts.

  • slant_6_mind

    “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” added campaign pollster Neil Newhouse after the panel.

    Criminy. What the hell’s happening to my country?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1567837307 Charlotte Shapiro

    WHY does the FCC allow media to air proven false information? If they do not regulate airing information that is harmful to the public, and ALL LIES are harmful…then, the people must take legal action.

  • kenmar

    whatever happened to the concept “”truth in advertising.” How about holding political ads to the same accountability as an ad for ketchup.

  • slant_6_mind

    This, from an online LDS church manual, seems chiling in the context of this article.
    “The Prophet Joseph Smith warned: “When a man goes about prophesying, and commands men to obey his teachings, he must either be a true or false prophet. False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones” ( Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 365).”

  • kenmar

    “…and may be hazardous to your ‘intellectual’ health.”

  • R.thomp
  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.trousdale.587 Bill Trousdale

    Anyone remember the fairness doctrine? Which was established by the FCC to ” provide information in the public interest, convenience and necessity”. When you realize which party pushed for the relaxing of this provision, and when Reagan administration deregulated broadcasting which created a hand full of politically leaning networks…And when the Supreme Court agrees with Citizen’s United that money is freedom of speech. We need to take a look at the planned steps taken by Anti Nixonites in the Republican Party. This has been brewing since Nixon left office and has been driven by ALEC and the Koch Brothers. Learn our history or we are doomed to repeat it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1423224144 Susan MacDonnell

    I agree- though I have found MSNBC does a better job focusing on important stuff. Sadly, their preaching to the choir-

  • J. Tilly

    Another remedy… just VOTE for the one who isn’t lying. Don’t waste the chance to make a statement, as a whole country: “You lost our votes when you spent gazillions more on your campaign than your opponent, trying to trick us. Ha! The Joke’s on you!!”

  • Anonymous

    Realize that this is purely a GOTV contest at this point. There aren’t enough “undecided” voters left in the country to make up a decent bridge game. These are not ads meant to convert or convince anyone. Their sole purpose is to get the sociopath party base fired up enough to turn out. Part 2, of course, is to use voter suppression tactics, various tweaks to the polling logistics, and creative computer programming to make sure that the sane people are unable to vote or have their votes actually counted. The result is that the “official” results will differ from honest polls by orders of magnitude and the Republicult will be declared to have won….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1257373115 Barbara Blough

    There is none. Answer all slander digitally so that it can be shared, played and re-played. Stay calm. Stay focused. Don’t sweat the fight. You will never win. It’s the commitment to fight that counts. If you can’t make the commitment, don’t bother. It’s the war we want to win and chances are we won’t see the victory in our lifetime. It’s an on-going struggle. Do you have the guts for it? I hope enough people do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1005772334 Ann Kosa

    The press should be screaming about this at the tops of their lungs and front pages!!!! Where are they???

  • grandmother

    Scary isn’t it. I just can’t believe it….I remember when Truman beat Dewy, that is how long I have been around and I have never seen anything like this…grandmother

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1068096400 Margaret Reeve Panahi

    Good thought

  • Andrew Cohen

    Yeah, I got a suggestion. Call Romney and Ryan the God forsaken liars that they are, loudly and often!

  • Phd Candidate

    Your kindergarten teacher taught you what was right and wrong if you didn’t get BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF – at home. I want to hear it all and decide. I don’t want to sit on a jury for a rape and find out AFTER THE TRIAL that he’s been convicted 50 times before and just let out of prison. Do they still like eating? That’s motivation enough for me and I don’t need a government training center like after the race riots of the 60’s, to blow me off!

  • Phd Candidate

    Don’t give Congress a vacation if they haven’t done their job – Give them the boot with no 5 week vacation when the schools don’t have a clue as to the monies they have for the fall. Gone – and no retirement. This doesn’t take much thought. Why do only SOME GROUPS not get fired for inferior work and others do not? Can’t be their color this time!

  • ben commons

    I like ganges suggestion. Instead of this ridiculous game of “comparative equivalency” that the mainstream media has been playing in order to appear ‘fair and balanced’, when ANY candidate or his campaign OR HIS SURROGATES (Super PACS) lie, don’t report the lie and then say “critics have challenged the statement blah blah blah). Make it clear and blunt: “So and so alleges this in his campaign, however the following facts show that this statement is a lie.”

  • Sam Vacca

    Call the Better Business Bureau, (joking). #1) Is there a Ruling body over the networks that allow these ads to run once they have been proven untrue? Maybe charge some sort of fine prorated to hopefully entice the networks to be part of the solution by better screening/less fines? Make them run twice as many correction ads at their own expense? #2) Or maybe “Explain the Tactic” ads countering with a “The Romney Campaign team openly admit that they are aware that they are lying about President Obama’s stand on Welfare yet they continue because they say “It is working”. This means that they fully believe that we are just dumb and angry enough to believe everything they say. If they will prey on our anger to do their bidding, divide us only to conquer us, knowingly and ADMITTEDLY (Arrogantly) spread lies in order to win an election. WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY WILL DO IN ORDER TO WIN A WAR? Will our children’s lives matter to someone who is willingly using us and admittedly lies in order to get what he wants? This man, these people, these tactics. Are you sure you want someone like that representing America to the rest of the World? How about some counter ad campaign like that?

  • Chris

    However there are NONE that are not lying…..all of them-and the idea that any of them care about anything outside of themselves is laughable……so that leaves the option of not reelecting anyone….

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jeff.D.Rankin Jeff Rankin

    I would love to see a neutral fact-checking agency vetting all ads before they could run. If they can’t pull the dishonest ones, there should be an honesty meter in the corner of the screen, showing what percentage of the ad is truthful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/markhgiese Mark Giese

    We need to call this what it truly is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie

    Joseph Goebbels would be proud!

  • ezra

    this is one of the best ideas i’ve ever heard. of course, following this up in practice would be difficult- how do you prove most of these claims from being factually correct or not? how would anyone put together a jury or choose a judge that is perfectly independent?

  • Lee M

    Contact the FCC? It is a crime to knowingly broadcast slander.

  • Lee M

    Mother Nature, take out the Republican Party!

  • Anonymous

    This is the nut of it. The fact that Romney told a lie is a one-day story. The fact that the campaign is based on shameless lying is a real news story, and provable. Where the hell is the press on this?

  • Anonymous

    My concern isn’t what is printed where we get our information. Its with all the news outlet that the low-information voters who swing elections read.

  • Don Jones

    This is the time when we hear the most lies, just prior to the election, when there is not enough time for legal recourse. Perhaps it would be best to call a halt to the process of political campaigning three months before elections to allow time for individual reflection and lies to be exposed. I know it sounds naive but it might work.

  • suzanne

    Seems to me that there is a lot of “I’ve made up my mind, so don’t bother me with the facts” thinking being promoted by many of the ads run by Republican candidates, the GOP itself, as well as by the billionaire-backed Super-PACS. Scary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/denise.smelley Denise Goodlin Smelley

    Why doesn’t this fall under the same regulations that prevent “false advertising”? After all, we are ultimately being “sold” the “product” of leadership.

  • http://www.facebook.com/denise.smelley Denise Goodlin Smelley

    unworthy, folks, now really. unworthy.

  • Doc

    We need to follow England’s lead on political ads. If you lie, you lose. I don’t remember what the position was for, but the winning candidate was found pushing false facts about his opponent, and after the election, the court ruled he broke the law. His opponent was awarded the position. Kink of like showing us the healthcare plan that is better, AFTER one is voted on. Still haven’t seen that one. Or AFTER I am elected president, I will show you my economic plan. Stop lying. You don’t have any plans, you just don’t like the ones that are on the table.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1612906009 Elsie Collins

    Nice idea, but as you may already know, the Koch brothers would pay those fines and consider them pocket change!!!

  • jonbsolar

    I’m disgusted that the TV networks accept these ads. I expect no integrity from Romney and company, but don’t the broadcasters have a responsibility to monitor content? Would they run ads that claim eating junk food is good for you? Or that drinking makes you attractive? OOPS – guess they already do! It’s all about the money, and in marketing the ends always justifies the means.

  • jaggedlittlepill

    Yeah, whatever you do, don’t confuse them with the facts. And, btw, the Romney camp HAS to use these tactics, lies and underhanded tricks to get votes because he couldn’t possibly get any votes based on merit, experience, or rhetoric. He has to cheat to even get close to winning.

  • jaggedlittlepill

    Oh, God. I remember Tricky Dick. He would have sold his own mother down the river just to acquire and retain the power of the Oval Office. Another instance of a power-gorged felon who thought the rules didn’t apply to him. A “J. Edgar wanna-be” if there ever was one. And since when did we start nominating and electing criminals???

  • jaggedlittlepill

    Naive? I think it’s the absolute greatest idea I’ve ever heard. What a wonderful concept!!! For my aching, ringing ears to get a reprieve from the over-accelerated verbage that spews forth along with all the lies and spittle would be the best gift any government ever gave its election-weary citizens!!!

  • jaggedlittlepill

    Especially if they are pro-whoever is running the ad. Fox repeats the lies and delivers them to the public as if they were hard, proven facts. They will even quote themselves on some bogus “fact check” they invented to give proof to the lie they just spouted. And with a straight face, no less.

  • StockTsi

    I like this idea as well. But to pass it, you would need the (lying) politicians to pass, or at least sponsor, a bill saying they can’t do it. Conflict of interest?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.burns.16144 Bob Burns

    As long as pols can buy votes from uninformed voters they will kick the can down the road just like the people who want freebies..It is already at the point where U.S. credit card is maxed out but who cares the kids-grandkids great grandkids will pay!! Live it up on the borrowed money that is buying your votes and giving
    future generations HELL..

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.knifong David Knifong

    Make it a felony for frauding the citizens in any type of ad political or product ad, any ad has to have a mandatory origin whoever the author is has to take responsiblity for the content, if a complaint is made and they can’t prove the content is factual they “will” be arrested prosecuted fined and possible jail. That goes for all political parties!

  • MKL

    BOTH sides lie. There are places to go to “fact check” (e.g. politifact and factcheck) …but that takes effort. The majority of people prefer to get their information from bogus email chains, 60 second “commercials”, or biased media outlets that confirm their preexisting bias. Since the public refuses to penalize (via their vote) TV ad “lies” it will continue. Propaganda works.

  • Anonymous

    Fox News attempted to start a network in Canada but ultimately decided to not go ahead with the plan. Why? Because Canada has a long standing legally enforced “truth in advertising and truth in news” mandate. It is possible to mandate truth wrt facts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.pierce.mcnamara Cynthia Pierce

    Seems to me we used to have “truth in advertising” laws. Can’t we apply them (if they still exist) to political ads?

  • http://treegrower.org/ Calvin Leman

    Rocky Anderson is my candidate voterocky.org

  • http://twitter.com/SarahJDensmore Sarah Jane Densmore

    Unfortunately, we’re a fast food nation. We ingest whatever is put in front of us. It’s no different with political fare. It’s a quick fix coated in fat, sugar and salt. It’s a diet that will eventually kill us. It is the voter’s responsibility to demand higher quality and it is the responsibility of those who prepare the meal (the media and the various political camps) to fill our plates with life-sustaining nourishment, not nihilistic deep-fried nachos.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing like bleeding heart liberal media to twist anything to favor Obama, who is just as guilty in running false ads

  • http://www.facebook.com/art.dickinson.1 Art Dickinson

    I agree, in most cases, i’ll vote for “the other guy”

  • MilestoneArts

    Isn’t the job of the FCC to regulate this? Isn’t it empowered to shut down false adverts?

  • PRdream

    People/viewers should call the televsion station and demand that it be removed for lying to them. Have the facts to back your demand. If there is resistant, bring media attention to the issue by suing the station and the owner of the ad.

  • PRdream

    I meant “resistance”.

  • PRdream

    Remember the days of equal time? Remember when local stations allowed commentaries from the public. Well, maybe people should demand that of their local stations since we own the waves and if they refuse, we should try to have the station’s license suspended for not meeting the federal directive concerning the air waves. Someone quote it to us. Have to run.

  • Anonymous

    brand the GOP as the lying hypocrites that they are in tons of political ads

  • Anonymous

    Hey Bill, maybe you should write a similar piece under the same headline opposing the Democrats for blatantly lying about Romney murdering a woman with cancer and Ryan pushing granny off a cliff. That way at least we would know you are objective. But alas, you really aren’t, are you? Nah, just another Leftwing spinster with an agenda. Of course, that this ad you whine about is actually true since Obama did issue a decree allowing States to determine the work requirement, your not really an objective journalist now are you.

  • Anonymous

    Get this Ganges, your post is another Leftwing lie as dirty as the river of your name. The fact is that Obonehead did issue a decree from his lofty perch allowing for States to decide on the work requirement. So all good ole Billy Boy here does is issue another blatant lie in the myriad of lies the Left tells and people like you continue to fall for.

  • Anonymous

    LOL – MSLSD isn’t a real news source, Kellee.

  • Anonymous

    What the right is saying is that he removed it.. He didn’t…. He has allowed the states themselves to make adjustments however, and that has been the mantra of the right for many years.. Move authority to the states….By the way, the states aren’t going to remove it either.

    Lets move on to something else that you will twist beyond recognition.

  • Anonymous

    What the Leftist are saying is “trust Obama, he knows what he is doing” and then putting their hope in this change. Well, we know that his hope and change were empty mantra. First, the passage of the Bill was bipartisan and signed by Bill Clinton therefore becoming the law of the land. Second, therefore, it is an abuse of Executive Power to circumvent legally passed, congressionally authorized legislation. Third, to think that some states wouldn’t change the work requirement on their own is a baseless fallacy. Finally, while States rights should always apply (as Chief Roberts recently decided with respect to Medicaid funding for States who were being strong-armed by this Administration, or when a State decides to protect the voting process but is strong-armed by this Administration) they don’t get willy nilly applied by a sitting Presidential decree but through a proper change in the law. But of course this President thinks he can decree his will by EO to drive his agenda. Of course, Leftists are little concerned with the law if it serves their agenda so they see nothing wrong with his lawlessness.

    What’s twisted beyond recognition is your failed logic.

  • Anonymous

    Court decisions say “no.” The First Amendment protects even known and acknowledged dishonesty. Fox News went to court over it and won. There is no obligation to tell the truth. And sadly it’s probably a good thing; requiring that ads or onair statements be true would shut down most politicians, over 3/4 of advertisements, and all of AM radio – plus Clear Channel and Fox in their entireties.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ronjay.gage Ron-Jay Gage

    i wonder if romney can be sued for false advertising

  • lbbls

    Make it a crime. Also, they should make it a law that the media MUST report the truth. If they can’t report the truth or at least provide equal time for opposing sides (point/counterpoint without shouting over each other), they cannot call their program NEWS….it must be labeled “Entertainment”. It’s the media that is creating all of this chaos and letting the politicians get away with it. They should be fined for allowing it!

  • Elizabeth


  • http://www.facebook.com/pdeotte Penelope Deotte

    so true – everything is “infotainment” not NEWS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emitchellswann Mitchell Swann

    If a commercial company aired an ad which made false claims about its product or the products of their competitors, they can be fined and sued. Let’s make a similar arrangement for political ads. But let’s up the ante. A chief benefactor of these ads are the media outlets that air them. There is a hefty $$$ for buying that time. Well, since the media outlets all have ‘news’ functions, then it should also be incumbant upon them that they bear some responsibilityliability for the ads they take $$ for. Banks have an obligation not to aid and abet money laundering; media outlets should have an obligation not to aid and abet disceitful advertising. Would they take an ad from an orgainzation saying that the Holocaust never happened? That slavery was a good thing?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.leichliter Lisa Thornton Leichliter

    The media needs to be held accountable for allowing these false ads! WHERE IS THE MEDIA? I will say that the Denver NBC affiliate does a “truth test” on political ads. However, the “truth test” story is done at 10 p.m. when a lot of people aren’t watching the news. We need journalists and tv stations to go after these kinds of stories full force and to not be afraid to report on them.

  • Patty08

    Love it!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.baloghrobinson Robert Balogh-Robinson

    Hmmm. What could reporters and voters in a free country do to expose the culture of lies and eliminate the reward for producing such lies? I bet we could think of something if we really tried. Perhaps not creating a bunch of false equivilences to try to appease Roger Ailes and Murdoch on the part of reporters, and not voting for the ones who produce those lies. No that couldn’t be the answer. Lets just write articles bemoaning how both sides are equally guilty, even if they aren’t, so it doesn’t matter who you vote for, even if it does, so that more and more people will become discouraged and not vote at all. Yeah, lets do that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.christensen.102 Greg Christensen

    Perhaps we all need to start making calls to these news organizations and putting the pressure on them to start doing their jobs better. Floods of calls and emails might get their attention.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edward.zingraff Edward Zingraff

    I think that an important answer to untruthful advertising lies in the existing “truth in advertising” laws. A “Citizens of the United States VS Producers of Lying Ads” case or two could be a good long-term effort to rap knuckles and keep the issue of electoral process reform in the public consciousness, where it needs to be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Allan-Scott-Helgeson/1427876021 Allan Scott Helgeson

    We need a new law enforcement arm to protect the public from lies by either party. An arm of the FCC perhaps with the ability to level stiff fines against those who knowingly lie or distort issues which are of importance to voters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/NeilRFriedman Neil R Friedman

    They have been lying about Welfare for as long as welfare has been around. What I find most disturbing is the language some republicans use when they describe President Obama has being a lazy unproductive president. A man who doesn’t understand what it means to be an American. A person who never really worked a day in his life. All this code language is part of a broader theme. He’ just like them. All hew ants is a piece of the pie without having to work for it. . .The lies are bad enough. It’s the core belief system that they rise out of that really scare me.

  • C. Thomas

    Could you sue on the grounds that it’s slanderous to the man and the campaign, not to mention that it’s not based in fact?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.gardella Dan Gardella

    no you would need to change the constitution. The 1st amendment in particular.

  • Helen Caldwell

    Uh, yeah… The perpetrators should be prosecuted, just like the Nutella people, for making untrue claims in an effort to win your patronage. Only the fines should be bigger. They should be doing jail time as traitors to America. Even the Olympic Committee had the good & honest sense to disqualify those teams that weren’t putting forth the effort in hopes of more advantageous conditions at some point in the future. America has no committee or umpire to blow the whistle and call a foul – to speak up and condemn criminal activity. Hopelessly corrupt and owned by the wealthy. If the High Courts of this nation haven’t been bought off yet (I know, there’s slim chance of that.) – then PROSECUTE THEM, CHARGE THEM AS A TRAITOR, TAKE THEIR WEALTH & THROW THEM IN JAIL!!!! That’ll bring a stop to it. When Dan Rather can lose his job for reporting the truth — you know this nation is beyond corrupt, and you know there’s very little chance of ever getting to hear the truth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=761685213 Tom Pashkov

    The mainstream media favors sensationalism and conflict. I’ve reasoned this is why they are (in this election) much more critical of Obama and gloss over the blatant lies and bad ideas of the GOP. The current ‘for profit’ news media needs a tight race; a tight race is good for business. No one gives a rat’s ass about a blow out. If profit was removed as a concern, the news media could be what it was meant to be: A stand alone entity, charged with the mandate of informing the public; full stop. What we’d see today is reporting about another Obama landslide victory, with the inenlightened, lying Republicans wandering in the forest of ignorance and hate, trailing far in the polls. The ratings may tank, as the Republicans truly to not have any new/good ideas and therefore there would be no real battle of ideas, but we the people would have the facts, namely: Most people are liberal, taken issue by issue, in the literal meaning of the word.

  • Rick

    The people who make the the adds should have to be held accountable in civil or, perhaps, criminal courts. There should be laws governing campaigns that make it illegal to intentionally use false information for campaigning. However, it will never happen. The election system is so corrupted it will never become fair or honest again. Anyway, republican voters have been so brainwashed into believing they have to beat Obama at any cost they are willing to overlook dishonesty from their own candidates. Both sides have enough hypocrisy that there is no way either will ever come clean again. This is not the America I learned about in school as a child, ot even close. I wonder where we went wrong. When did we as a country lose our values and ehtics?

  • http://www.facebook.com/vickie.starbuck.9 Vickie Starbuck

    We could educate people to think critically. The erosion of the US Educational System, from a cynical point of view, seems to work very well for the Republicans. If we had a public that could analyze the facts, whether they liked them ideologically or not, it would go a long way to getting the whole Republican agenda ignored, for pretty much what it is – smoke, mirrors, and fantasy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vickie.starbuck.9 Vickie Starbuck

    There are laws against lying in “news casts” in Canada =which prevented Fox News from starting up a channel there =:) Not sure how that translates to laws against lying in campaigns. Since we have Governors, such Jeb Bush, ignoring courts on cease and desist orders, it even questions if a legal approach could work. I can see cases coming to court about the time a candidate was leaving office, regarding lying in his/her campaign. …

  • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.pierce.mcnamara Cynthia Pierce

    You’re not going to like this, Bill, but under the truth in advertising law, any media outlet that airs a false or deceptive ad, is fined and electronic media run the risk of their FCC license being pulled. Of course, you’d never believe we already have such laws, by the way our political advertising is running wild. I can’t fathom why the media continues to spew this horse doo, unless (of course) the media AND our judiciary have been sold to the highest bidders. Where are the teeth in those laws we have on the books to protect the public? What happened to honest journalism? Are you the last bastion of the free press? We passed yellow journalism WAY back … I get my news from abroad these days. America’s honor has been bought and paid for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.pierce.mcnamara Cynthia Pierce

    Remember the uproar when Orson Wells broadcast the “War of the Worlds ?” The broadcasters nearly had their licenses pulled. Heads rolled because a fiction, a lie, was broadcast … and folks were panicking. Well, welcome to “War of the Worlds, Redux.”
    Political ads should be prepared and submitted enough in advance to be cleared by an independent commission for approval before airing. (If you make it a bipartisan commission, that’d be the best … they’d be locked in uncooperative argument for so long, we could get through election season depending on our own resources! The airwaves would be safe once more!) Oh … I forgot … Big Brother doesn’t think we know how to think anymore … not since they’ve dumbed down our educational system to accommodate the lowest common denominator.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000575623429 Scott Ramirez

    The sad truth is there likely is no solution. Neither side is willing to sign on the dotted line to commit to the truth while they think they can get ahead with lies. Nor will these same people pass laws to prevent themselves from telling lies. The press is the only side which holds sway and much of it is biased to one side or the other and seeming unwilling to hold all politicians to equal measure as to what they say.

    What is needed is an agreed upon referee but again all sides are so polarized we can not get there. It would require compromise which is the root of our political problems to begin with. Our parties have become party above country and have no room for the business of running our country.

    How do you change the rules of politics with two parties in control and unwilling to do what is required?

    My Two Cents!

  • scarletbanner

    It’s called propaganda, and it doesn’t rely on anything more than repeating a statement until the brain records it as probably true. Classic.

  • Sophie

    How about they get one mulligan, then they are fined, with the money going to the other party’s campaign? But the third time they are fined and subject to an audit for ten years that will be made public? Or three strikes and you’re out? Just sayin’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Kat.Vic.Fix Kathy Vickers Fix

    Having worked in Wyoming’s Medicaid program, I can assure people that making the same regulations work in a state where the population is small but widely dispersed and a state like California where the population is large and highly concentrated is not easy. Our saving grace was waivers that allowed us to say “yea, we’re going to meet the requirements, just in a little different way than other states.” That is what the welfare to work waiver is about. No State gets to say “we aren’t going to make people train or otherwise work towards getting off welfare,” they get to say “in our state we have a way that will work better in helping our welfare recipients achieve self dependance. The Feds then get to decide if that way is, in fact, better for that state. Not only is this the correct way to achieve goals, but it has been happening this way, in republican and democratic administrations for many years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1355735088 Alan Yungclas

    Public execution for people who produce campaign ads.

  • Joyce

    Probably won’t happen, but why not make the media outlets take some responsibility. If their fact checkers say ‘pants on fire’ they pull the ad. Oh, but that’s revenue for their bottom line…in the immortal words of Roseanne Roseanna Danda “Nevermind!”

  • Roy

    They need to apply the commercial free speech standard to political advertisements. We would never allow blatant false advertisements of consumer products, yet we are allowing blatant lies to taint one of the basic tenant of America: Democracy. Democracy is predicated upon an informed citizenry making choices. However, when political parties are allowed knowingly to flood the market of information with blatant falsehoods, the most basic and fundamental tenants are subverted.

  • Voter

    I’m surprised you’re not used to the BS. Its been going on since George Washington. The definition of politics … poli meaning many and tics, little annoying bugs.. i think one term for all. be held accountable for what you say and do. Remember you work for us. Where is Judge Dredd when we need him……..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002894667690 Greg Castro

    Come on now? this is our Government,For By,and Of the people,the belief that this country was ever founded is a lie! Can you say you never have lied? Our Constitution has been sold by both party’s!! and is being replaced with corporate bylaws,Privatizing all functions of our Government,for profit

  • Fmw

    Most politicians wear their Christianity like a badge of honor. Why do the not honor thE commandment “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”.

  • Anonymous

    This is the role of the press, to keep the pressure on until the lies are retracted. Unfortunately, the press is owned by special interests who dictate content. The Supreme Court designed this stalemate. Plus, you can’t shame the shameless. Headlines don’t even bother them. The interviewers on TV don’t ask hard questions and let the rats off the hook too easily. Maybe the questions in the upcoming debates will force some truth. Bottom line is that too many Americans are as twisted as the Repubs who consider the means justifies the end. We should stop bombing other countries for being corrupt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Sampson-Hudson/594925661 Karen Sampson Hudson

    What do you mean, “deception on both sides,” Bill? That is false equivalency. The deception is on the Republican side. Don’t hesitate to say that!

  • Beth

    If the internet and social media can trigger an democratic uprising in the Middle East, then surely we can pummel these prime time ads. Post, tweet, post, and repost. Go viral. Go international. Get the global media to pick up the story and MAYBE the US press will cover it.

  • T. Reid

    Take the money out of it. All national elections should be federally subsidizes, and there should be NO private contributions allowed. Money is wrecking the system and both sides are culpable.

  • Gabby

    I would like one of the debate moderators to ask Romney about this. He tells lies that are widely revealed on a consistent basis and is complicit in their repetition.

  • Rain,adustbowlstory

    I would like to see Bill Moyers convene a quick group of innovative Democrats–Howard Dean comes to mind–to discuss this very issue. What strategy can we use that is effective against the Republican strategy of lying? We know they’re going to do it; so let’s be prepared.

  • http://twitter.com/ajswillis Andrew J.S. Willis

    “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising” David Ogilvy

  • murphbigsky

    Limit air time for political commercials! Limit the electoral season to six months rather than a year, this would limit the exposure to all the “lies”. Post political resumes’ of the candidates – as I know our reps do not communicate often enough with their constituants.
    Get BUY money out of politics. I think we have to realize that there is a small portion of people who vote based on informational facts and the remainder vote because of what they see, think or believe based on visual cues. Educate the population more about how our political system actually works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/loretta.alterman Loretta Pekowski Alterman

    You should click and read the whole quote. It is blantently taken out of context.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cheryl.bailey.3348 Cheryl Bailey

    Sorry Cynthia, I could be wrong, but I don’t believe that applies to politcal ads, as they aren’t considered advertising as such.

  • Anonymous

    How does one
    make the distinction between when a person tells a lie, who talks bull[1], commits perjury or
    treason? From the Oxford English Dictionary:

    Lie: A false statement with the intent to deceive.

    Bull: Bluff one’s way through (something) by talking
    nonsense; one who exaggerates or talks nonsense, especially to bluff or

    Perjury: The action of swearing to a statement which is
    known to be false, or of taking an oath which it is not one’s intention to
    keep; specifically in Law. The crime of wilfully uttering a false statement or
    testimony in reference to a matter material to the issue involved, while under
    an oathor affirmation to tell the truth, administered by a competent authority;
    the wilful utterance of false evidence while on oath.

    Example: Should all campaign speeches require a sworn oath?

    Traitor: One who betrays any person that trusts him, or any
    duty entrusted to him; a betrayer. One who is false to his allegiance to his
    sovereign or to the government of his country.

    Treason: The
    action of betraying; betrayal of the trust undertaken by or reposed in any one;
    breach of faith, treacherous action, treachery.


    When one develops and supports legislation that allows a
    company to throw destitute families out of homes, allow the uninsured to
    die, wage useless wars, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social
    assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder
    the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working
    men and women.

    When one
    “signs” allegiance to Grover Norquist

    When a
    company or individual outsource jobs or place funds in international tax-havens,
    which result in a societal and/or economic detriment to the home country?

    [1] http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7929.html

  • MikeyIII

    If you want to stop lying in political adds there’s only one way to do it…stop letting the republicans advertise and it will then become (mostly) factual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamestennier James Tennier

    Only when pigs fly, sadly…

  • Lynne

    Here’s an ad that I imagine:

    Screen1: (words on a black screen with voice over) “Usually there are consequences for lying.”
    Screen two: quick vignette of a child lying and being sent to his room.
    Screen three: quick vignette of an employee lying to the boss and getting fired
    Screen four: quick vignette of a spouse lying and being asked for a divorce
    Screen five: quick vignette of one of Paul Ryan’s lies in his convention speech
    Freeze frame – words and voice over “only you can provide the consequences for these lies. Vote.”

  • Marky C


    The core of the problem is that the many, many, news services (some legitimate and many created to proffer lies) like to spin the “dysfunctional government” line that sells so well.
    Anything that pushes a “who got the best of it” analogy is the first run story. The truth is boring. “if they lied, why didn’t the other side lie back?” It’s like the news puts a stick on the shoulder of one party and dares the other party to knock it off.
    Your recent news story on Ralph Reed and Grover Norcrist that proves how they manipulated the Christian Bloc of voters is an excellent example. After one of their cronies was sent to prison, the other two are still flourishing as political insiders.
    Why would any American citizen support an elected official who signed a pledge that overrides their oath of office?
    The way out is back through the News chain that created this mess. When politicians lie or tell half truths, the News should expose them as unethical liars with the same energy as they do to promote the fighting between parties. The “Fact Checking” thing is far too reserved and laid back. America wants to know who is lying and who is not.

  • MountainJim

    No, you’d just have to add a malice requirement like they have with libel cases.

  • yo yo jo ma

    i love it…i did not know te origin of the word politic. thank you. a lot more would get done in 1 term. 1 term and no pay… civil servant… no lobbyists. No pledges to anyone but to the people you represent not the people who buy you.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q2TDFHN3TMLU7PE5TSQDW57V7U Texasconservative


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q2TDFHN3TMLU7PE5TSQDW57V7U Texasconservative

    Susan, you like the class warfare stuff don’t you? Wealthy to you means anyone who works for a living.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q2TDFHN3TMLU7PE5TSQDW57V7U Texasconservative

    Good Lord, the Romney campaign would have to spend YEARS debunking Obammie’s lies!

  • truth4me

    Been saying the same thing for years and sooo glad to see others are ready to move on this…….lets do it.

  • Anonymous

    Consider the summary below from a study conducted by Brendan Nyhan an
    Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College and
    Jason Reifler an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at
    Georgia State University;

    “Misinformation and Fact-checking: Research Findings from Social Science”.

    Motivated reasoning: People’s evaluations of new information are shaped by their beliefs. Misperceptions seem to generally reflect sincere beliefs. Information that chal­lenges these beliefs is generally unwelcome and can prompt a variety of compensatory responses. As a result, corrections are sometimes ineffective and can even backfire.

    Belief perseverance and continued influence: Once a piece of information is encoded in memory, it can be very difficult to eliminate its effects on subsequent attitudes and beliefs.

    Sources matter: The source of a given statement can have a significant effect on how the claim is interpreted. People are more receptive to sources that share their party affilia­tion or values and those that provide unexpected information.

    Identity and race: When information about race or social identity is salient, it can under­mine the effectiveness of corrections about public figures from different racial or cul­tural backgrounds.

    Threats to control: When people feel a lack of control, they compensate with strategies that lead to greater acceptance of misperceptions.

    The above provides the foundation for a simple political strategy; pitting one group
    against another. Robert Reich in “Beyond Outrage” http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Outrage-Expanded-economy-democracy/dp/0345804376/ writes

    “Average Americans are competing with one another for slices of a shrinking pie. There
    is now more intense competition for a dwindling number of jobs, a smaller share
    of total income, and ever more limited public services. Native-born Americans are threatened by immigrants; private sector workers are resentful of public workers; unionized workers are threatened by the nonunionized; middle-class Americans are competing with the poor.” (My Italics)

    Responding to the question in Lauren Feeney’s column, where does the “who cares if it’s true, it works“, attitude leave voters?

    Isolated; rather than feeling we’re all in it together, we increasingly have the sense
    that each of us is on his or her own. The process is condescending, insulting,
    and manipulative of the voting public and it has worked.

    What can the media, and the public do about it? From Howard Zinn

    “We have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they
    do not have; which has the potential of causing them to re-think long-held ideas.”

    This must continue until each person experiences as Howard Zinn writes

    “a moment in our lives when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then
    caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness;
    embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, and imbibing
    of newspapers, radio, and TV.”

    Without factual information we are out of touch with what’s going on; others will impose their will on us; we lose the ability to create our own identity. Individual identity
    (not isolation) contributes to diversity, which when brought together under the
    umbrella of shared needs creates and maintains a vibrant, strong society.