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Posts Tagged ‘Brooks Jackson’

STRATEGI | Medan seriös media ägnar allt mer tid åt att kontrollera politikers utsagor spelar sanningen en allt mindre roll i valkampanjerna.

En förklaring till denna paradox är att väljarna i allt större utsträckning hämtar information från källor som bara överrensstämmer med deras egna åsikter (och fördomar).

Är man höger i USA tittar man på Fox News, läser The Wall Street Journal och surfar på Drudge Report. Är man vänster blir det istället MSNBC, ledarsidan i The New York Times och The Huffington Post på nätet.

“We don’t collect news to inform us. We collect news to affirm us,” säger t.ex. Frank Luntz som är opinionsanalytiker för republikanerna. “It used to be that we disagreed on the solution but agreed on the problem. Now we don’t even agree on the problem.”

Och det gäller säkert även här i Sverige. Skulle man göra en opinionsmätning här för att ta reda på vem av de två presidentkandidaterna man anser är  mest sanningsenlig skulle med största sannolikhet Barack Obama vinna med hästlängder över Mitt Romney .

Michael Scherer och Alex Altman på tidskriften Time har tittat på hur presidentkandidaterna använder och förvränger fakta om varandra. Och de kan konstatera att verkligheten är mer komplex än så.

Obama har t.ex. medvetet och kontinuerligt misstolkat Romneys åsikter om immigration och aborter. Romney däremot har på motsvarande sätt förvridit Obamas politik när det gäller välfärdsfrågor, immigration och presidentens ekonomiska stimulansåtgärder.

En annan skillnad: Obamakampanjen har varit betydligt subtilare i sitt sätt att måla sin motståndare i mörka färger. Romneykampanjen däremot har varit betydligt mer uppenbara i sitt sätt att agera.

Så vem ljuger mest? Obama eller Romney? Alex Altman skriver:

Compared with the Obama campaign’s, the Romney operation’s misstatements are frequently more brazen. But sometimes the most effective lie is the one that is closest to the truth, and Obama’s team has often outdone Romney’s in the dark art of subtle distortion. On both sides, the dishonesty is “about as bad as I’ve seen,” says veteran journalist Brooks Jackson, director of FactCheck.org.

The lying game unfolds on many –levels. Campaigns obfuscate, twist the truth and exaggerate. They exploit complexity. Most of all, they look for details—real or unreal—that validate our suspicions.

[…]

Even for the most open-minded and informed voters, truth is often subjective. Discerning it is that much harder when the campaigns cater to two different groups of voters who seem to prefer two very different sets of facts.

Michael Scherer har några talande exempel från den pågående valkampanjen.

“The truth of the matter is you can’t just make stuff up,” [Obama] told the scribblers who get paid to check his facts. “That’s one thing you learn as President of the United States. You get called in to account.” It was just what reporters wanted to hear, even if it was not exactly true.

At the time, Obama was speaking about a campaign ad from Mitt Romney that falsely claimed that the President had eliminated the work requirement for welfare. The ad was unmistakably deceptive. But just five minutes earlier in the very same press conference, Obama had offered some misdirection of his own. “Nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon,” he said. In fact, one of the President’s senior strategists, Stephanie Cutter, told reporters a month earlier that Romney was misrepresenting himself either to the American people or to securities regulators — “which is a felony,” she said.

Cutter’s was a conditional accusation but an accusation nonetheless, and at the time it allowed the Romney campaign to take its turn playing truth teller. “A reckless and unsubstantiated charge,” protested Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades, who asked Obama to apologize. Of course, no apology was forthcoming. So the posturing got worse.

[…]

Indeed, the 2012 campaign has witnessed a historic increase in fact-checking efforts by the media, with dozens of reporters now focused full time on sniffing out falsehood. Clear examples of deception fill websites, appear on nightly newscasts and run on the front pages of newspapers. But the truth squads have had only marginal success in changing the behavior of the campaigns and almost no impact on the outside groups that peddle unvarnished falsehoods with even less accountability. “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” explained Neil Newhouse, Romney’s pollster, echoing his industry’s conventional wisdom.

Similarly, the so-called Truth Team for the Obama campaign has found itself in recurring spats with journalists brandishing facts. One of the most galling Obama deceptions, embedded in two television ads, asserts that Romney backed a bill outlawing “all abortion even in cases of rape and incest.” This is not true. Romney has consistently maintained, since becoming a pro-life politician in 2005, that he supports exceptions for rape and incest and to protect the life of the mother.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget, den amerikanska utgåvan av Time den 15 oktober 2012, illustrerades av Dylan Roscover.

(Inlägget publiceras parallellt på Makthavare.se)

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