The Republican budget strategy: lie

In politics, the liars pretty much always win (typical news story: “Democrats say X, Republicans say Y” without mentioning that X is much more true than Y), thus the Republicans have hit upon a smart strategy for selling their budget plans.  Here’s Cohn:

It’s becoming pretty clear how Republicans plan to defend their budget. They’re going to lie about it…

Here’s what Rubio said:

The Ryan plan doesn’t cut Medicare. Actually, it increases funding in it. And the only people in this town that have voted to cut Medicare are the people that supported Obamacare, that cut half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years out of Medicare and is using it to fund a healthcare experiment somewhere outside of Medicare. The only people in this town that have voted to cut Medicare spending are the people who voted in favor of Obamacare. That’s a fact. And so the truth is the people.

Sigh. This is pretty much the opposite of the truth.

If you want to know why, Cohn really lays it all out.  Otherwise, just take my (and Cohn’s word for it).  And, there’s every reason to believe they’ll get away with it.  Here’s what I wrote about lying before:

From what I’ve seen, the secret is to lie all you want, but just stop any particular lie when the media calls you out on it.  McCain’s problem was that he kept on lying so egregiously and pervasively about Palin’s reformer credentials (e.g., the Bridge to Nowhere) well after several media sources debunked this.  That basically pissed off the media.

When it comes to a fairly complicated and very policy-oriented issue, it’s safe to say most journalists will just throw up their hands and say, “that’s policy,” or “that’s too complicated” rather than do something like read Cohn’s blog and try to understand the issue.  That means, the burden is on Democrats, then, to loudly and pervasively call Republicans out on this.  Only then is there any hope of pushing back against the lie.  Even then, there’s still a good chance you just get left with “he said, she said” journalism that doesn’t get at the truth for the public.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to The Republican budget strategy: lie

  1. David says:

    Even if journalists do read blogs by Cohn, their incentives still point toward he-said she-said style journalism when it comes to policy: if there exists substantial partisan disagreement, and by that I mean opinion-leaders in the news take party-line positions, and journalists point out that one side has truth on its side, they’ll lose a substantial portion of the opposing party’s viewership/readership if the opinion leaders do not change their opinions. I think this is a pretty substantial deterrence, especially given the flak that they get from fellow journalists for “editorializing.”

  2. Ryan Vest says:

    If Marco Rubio said it, it must be true.

  3. John says:

    There is another strategy: universally callout the media for it’s complicity. The cons have been doing it for years with their mythical allegations of a non-existent “liberal media” which has essentially created the climate we’re currently in. Dems may not be able to go the other way with a “conservative media” moniker (besides Faux news which is just horrible) but they can use the meme about the sensational, gossip-driven or the incomplete and irresponsible media.

    The real problem though is the approach to the issues. “Cutting the deficit” is an easy to pick up and distribute meme that all the media begins their story as a starting point. But why can’t dems frame more complex ideas more easily? Instead of “cutting the deficit” why can’t the media approach the story from a growing our economy or like the President’s “winning our future” perspective? Hundreds of Tea Baggers & repubs reps are all saying “cut the deficit” while hundreds of dems are each saying something different including “cut the deficit.” It’s hard to have a conversation in the media when 1 side is monolithic and the other is scattered and disparate. It leaves the impression that there’s a widespread & bipartisan disagreement of the facts.

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