Wednesday, September 10, 2008

As Campaign Heats Up, Untruths Can Become Facts Before They're Undone

From the moment Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin declared that she had opposed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," critics, the news media and nonpartisan fact checkers have called it a fabrication or, at best, a half-truth. But yesterday in Lebanon, Ohio, and again in Lancaster, Pa., she crossed that bridge again.

"I told Congress: 'Thanks but no thanks for that Bridge to Nowhere up in Alaska,' " Palin told the crowds at the "McCain Street USA" rallies. "If we wanted a bridge, we'll build it ourselves."

Palin's position on the bridge that would have linked Ketchikan to Gravina Island is one example of a candidate staying on message even when that message has been publicly discredited. Palin has continued to say she opposed a project she once campaigned for -- then killed later, only after support for it had collapsed in Congress.

As the presidential campaign moves into a final, heated stretch, untrue accusations and rumors have started to swirl at a pace so quick that they become regarded as fact before they can be disproved. A number of fabrications about Palin's policies and personal life, for instance, have circulated on the Internet since she joined the Republican ticket.

Full article at the Washington Post

Here’s the money quote from the article:

John Feehery, a Republican strategist, said the campaign is entering a stage in which skirmishes over the facts are less important than the dominant themes that are forming voters' opinions of the candidates.

"The more the New York Times and The Washington Post go after Sarah Palin, the better off she is, because there's a bigger truth out there and the bigger truths are she's new, she's popular in Alaska and she is an insurgent," Feehery said. "As long as those are out there, these little facts don't really matter."

Liberal Arts Dude sez:

I’m speechless. The only thing I can really say is this quote from Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebels

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”


Brian said...

Good insight Redante.

That appears to be the Republican strategy... repeat the lies enough, until it takes hold. They are doing it because they know it is effective. They know that they don't have to trick all Americans... they only have to trick a few hundred thousand...or a few million voters... enough to flip the election in their favor.

And they know this stuff works... look at the whisper campaign about Obama's religion for example. There are thousands of folks today (probably more) who still believe that Obama is a Muslim. And that was the result of Republicans and their surrogates communicating to voters indirectly through false emails, and indirectly on TV networks (dog whistling). And it was still effective.

Brian said...

And that Goebels quote is great...

I was actually looking for this the other day...couldn't find it.

I will save it this time.


redante said...


No problem. I can't say which depresses me more about this election. That the McCain and Palin are running a campaign based on the assumption that people are too stupid or ignorant and unsophisticated to notice their style of propaganda -- or the fact that despite that, a heck of a lot of people still seem to be ready to vote for them. Sheesh...