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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Scherer’

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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INTERVJU | Alla politiker är beroende av att få ut sitt budskap till väljarna. Här skiljer sig inte president Barack Obama från någon annan politiker.

Men en återkommande kritik som riktats mot Obama under hans tid i Vita huset är att han aldrig riktigt har lyckats kommunicera sin politik till det amerikanska folket. Detta i skarp kontrast till hans banbrytande valkampanj 2008.

Inför demokraternas partikonvent ställde Michael Scherer på Time några frågor till Obama om detta och hans syn på skillnaderna melllan honom och Mitt Romney.

You said one of the mistakes you see in the first term was not telling that story better. What does it mean to tell the story better in the next four years?

Well, what I meant by that is that we were in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, so we had to just do stuff fast. And sometimes it wasn’t popular. And we didn’t have the luxury of six months to explain exactly what we were doing with the Recovery Act, which was basically a jobs act and making-sure-middle-class-families-didn’t-fall-into-poverty act.

And there were all kinds of things we could do to have explained that effectively, but we didn’t have time. The auto bailout — now a lot of people are coming around and saying that was the right thing to do. But at the time, I think it polled at 10%. And we didn’t have time to worry about that. We had a million jobs at stake in places like Ohio and Michigan, and we needed to make sure that we acted quickly.

So moving forward, what I want to make sure the American people understand is that investments in education, investments in basic science and research, an all-of-the-above American energy strategy, in making college more affordable, in rebuilding our infrastructure, our roads and our bridges and our ports and our airports — all those things that help make us grow are compatible with fiscal discipline as long as everybody is doing their fair share.

And that’s a story I’m doing my best to tell during the campaign. That’s a story I will continue to try to tell, if I’m fortunate enough to have a second term, in Inaugurations, in States of the Union. I want to make sure that people understand that I’ve got a focus on growing this economy, not growing the public sector, but doing enough to ensure that we’ve got the best workers in the world, we’ve got the best technology in the world and we’re competitive in the 21st century.

[…]

I assume you’ve done a pretty close study of your opponent, Mitt Romney. I know you admire him for his family and for the work he did on health care in Massachusetts. But I wonder if you could point to a couple of other things in his record and things he has accomplished that you actually admire.

Well, you took away a couple.

I did. I took away the two good ones.

He strikes me as somebody who is very disciplined. And I think that that is a quality that obviously contributed to his success as a private-equity guy. I think he takes his faith very seriously. And as somebody who takes my Christian faith seriously, I appreciate that he seems to walk the walk and not just be talking the talk when it comes to his participation in his church.

But the fundamental difference between Governor Romney and myself, aside from some of our life experiences, I think is really a matter of how do you grow an economy that is strong and healthy over the long term. And when you look at the history of this country, when we’ve done best it’s been when everybody did well — when the middle class was strong, when wages and incomes were keeping up with the cost of living, when the doors of opportunity were widening, when we were giving more people a quality education, when as a country we were willing to make investments in things like science and research that any individual enterprise wouldn’t find profitable. That’s when we do well.

When we do badly is when we have a philosophy in which everybody is on their own and a few people are doing very well, and they amass more and more economic power, political power, and ordinary folks start feeling left behind. That skews not only our economy, but it also skews our politics.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Time den 10 september 2012.

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RICK PERRY har köpt Mitt Romneys strategi. Attacker mot Barack Obama istället för mot de republikanska motståndarna skapar en image av ledarskap.

Detta är en utmärkt video. Skaparen är kanadensaren Lucas Baiano. Under 2008 jobbat han för Hillary Clinton och John McCain. Nyligen var han engagerad för Tim Pawlentys presidentkampanj innan han anslöt sig Perrys team.

Michael Scherer, Time, skriver:

Obama is in for a hard year on television. The quotes that Baiano selects from Obama, boasting to economic improvement that never lasted, will be, I would guess, ubiquitous next year, especially if the economy remains in its current rut. The White House and the Obama campaign simply don’t have an answer, beyond blaming the Europeans and the Japanese earthquake. The issue here is not whether Obama deserves credit for the great recession–he doesn’t. It’s whether he has properly handled the recovery. And when you are caught making predictions that don’t come true, playing a confidence game that never comes to pass, there tend to be consequences.

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VITA HUSET:  President Barack Obamas popularitet har dalat. Idag ligger siffrorna kring 45 %.

När han tillträdde i januari 2009 hade han rekordhöga siffror på 68 % i en opinionsundersökning från Gallup.

Det var en siffra som ingen hade nått upp till sedan John F. Kennedy. Något har uppenbart hänt.

 Michael Scherer, Time Magazineförklarar

One explanation for Obama’s steep decline is that his presidency rests on what Gallup’s Frank Newport calls a ”paradox” between Obama and the electorate. In 2008, Newport notes, trust in the federal government was at a historic low, dropping to around 25%, where it still remains. Yet Obama has offered government as the primary solution to most of the nation’s woes, calling for big new investments in health care, education, infrastructure and energy. Some voters bucked at the incongruity, repeatedly telling pollsters that even programs that have clearly helped the economy, like the $787 billion stimulus, did no such thing. Meanwhile, the resulting spike in deficits, which has been greatly magnified by tax revenue lost to the economic downturn, has spooked a broad sweep of the country, which simply does not trust Washington to responsibly handle such a massive liability.

[…]

As his poll numbers fell, Obama responded with his perpetual cool. His appeals to the grass-roots army that he started, through online videos for Organizing for America, took on a formal, emotionless tone. He acted less like an action-oriented President than a Prime Minister overseeing some vast but balky legislative machinery. When challenged about his declining popularity, the President tended to deflect the blame — to the state of the economy, the ferocity of the news cycle and right-wing misinformation campaigns. Aides treated the problem as a communications concern more than a policy matter. They increased his travel schedule to key states and limited his prime-time addresses. They struggled to explain large, unpopular legislative packages to the American people, who opposed the measures despite supporting many of the component parts, like extending health insurance to patients with pre-existing conditions or preventing teacher layoffs.

[…]

Instead of shifting course, Obama spoke dismissively about Republican efforts to play ”short-term politics.” […] At the same time, the base voters Obama had energized so well in ’08 went back into hibernation. […] In a rich irony, many of the same groups Obama turned out for the first time in record numbers had suffered the most from the recession and were the most likely to tune politics out.

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