If Everyone Is Lying, Does the Truth Matter?

In the wake of the Republican National Convention, New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow runs down the ratio of truth to lies -- and the breakdown scares him.

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Some of the speeches delivered at the 2012 Republican National Convention were full of inconsistencies, but that's not what's worrying New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow. Instead it's the fact that Republican candidates like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan felt comfortable spouting untruths, and the American public just seemed to be used to it.

But Romney's restraint does not erase the damage already done. Mediaite's Tommy Christopher looked at the fact-checking site PolitiFact's tallies on Aug. 10 and found that:

"Mitt Romney's statements have been judged Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire 46 percent of the time, versus only 29 percent for President Obama. In the Pants on Fire category alone, Romney is more than four times as likely to suffer trouser immolation than the president. Nearly 1 in 10 statements by Romney earned flaming slacks, versus 1 out of every 50 for Obama."

On Friday, PolitiFact still had Romney's statements as Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire 42 percent of the time, compared with 27 percent of the time for Obama.

Propaganda is one thing; prevarication is another.

There is some degree of mythmaking and truth-stretching in every campaign, but the extent to which Republicans have embraced ignobility in this campaign is astounding. They have used their convention podium to unleash a whole lot of half-truths, so many that fact-checkers have been working overtime. But trying to chase down every lie is like trying to catch every bug in a log. It's almost impossible.

Read the rest of Charles M. Blow's piece at the New York Times.

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