Romney pollster: We don't need no stinkin' factcheckers
The Kansas City Star
Now hear this. The Romney campaign is not going to be bossed around by fact checkers.
So said Neil Newhouse, Romney’s pollster. Specifically, according to this story by Buzzfeed, he said, “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.”
Such is the unfortunate state of information today. Everything, it seems, is fungible. If someone establishes that something is factually inaccurate, or even a blatant lie, you simply accuse the fact checkers of bias.
What’s prompting this discussion is Romney’s television ad that accuses President Barack Obama of “gutting” the work requirements for welfare recipients.
Let’s leave aside, for now, the sheer cynicism of raising welfare as an issue in this presidential campaign. We’re trying to climb out of an economic hole caused in part by unparalleled greed among financial executives and other very wealthy people, and welfare recipients are the problem? Please.
The key point is that Romney’s accusation is factually untrue. The Obama administration hasn’t diminished the work requirements of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. Rather, it heeded the requests of some governors, including Republicans, who asked that states be allowed to propose better ways to administer the law. That’s a very Republican idea — except when the Obama administration initiates it.
Romney has been called out on this ad by every reputable fact-checking service. They’ve awarded it “four Pinocchios,” “pants on fire,” and other designations indicating that this is a whopper of a lie. But hey, in the parallel reality of the Romney campaign, the problem is not the ad; it’s the fact checkers.
The Democrats are not pure in this arena. An ad by an outside group that suggested a remote link between the death of a Kansas City steelworker’s wife for lack of health insurance and Romney’s management of Bain Capital was farfetched and denounced as false or mostly inaccurate by the fact checkers.
The difference is that Obama said he didn’t agree with the ad, and it only aired briefly. The deceptive welfare ad is a product of Romney’s own campaign, and he is sticking with it through thick and false. It’s hard to respect that kind of intransigence.