The Ultimate Romnesia Collection
Section: Spin News
The purpose of this story is two-fold. First, it’s to document the extent of Mitt Romney’s flip-flopping or misstatements. Second, it’s to illustrate how fact-checking organizations and the main stream media failed in their role to truly document the extent of Mitt Romney’s problem.
The Problem with Fact Checking Organizations
There are two major Fact checking organizations: FactCheck.org and Politifact. Both organization have a problem with the way they check facts. Instead, of attempting to determine the candidates position on an issue and then determine whether their statements are consistent or misleading, they instead check individual sentences or short statements which leads to highly unstable results. For example, candidates from time to time make honest mistakes and other times it’s equally clear that the mistake is an attempt to change position in an attempt to appeal to a difference audience or source of funding. Using the current fact checking approach, one will never figure which statements are honest or minor mistakes and which statements are part of a consistent pattern of deception. A slight mistake will appear the same as a short misstatement that displays a consistent pattern of dishonesty.
Each of these organizations has some additional problems that are unique. In order to give the appearance of impartiality, FactCheck attempts to find an equal number of problems with each candidate. However, that strategy only works if both candidates are equal in their numbers of misstatements. Another problem FactCheck has is that it won’t correct obvious errors in it’s analysis. When The Impartial Review News discovered that Bill Clinton had out-facted Factcheck, the organization refused to correct the problem.
Politifact has a tendency to move the goal posts by demanding a very high level of accuracy at times and at others accepting a low level of accuracy. In short, their truth-meter needs to be better defined. For example, they claimed Jon Stewart was flat out wrong when he argued Fox News viewers were less informed than other viewers. Their evidence was that studies show Fox News viewers understand civics as well as anyone and they even got Stewart to apologize but he shouldn’t have. His argument was about issues and not civics. Politifact moved the goalpost.
The above video is called the Ultimate Flip-Flop collection of Romney and the 15 minute collection contains quite of few examples of Romney’s flip-flopping or what has come to be known as Romnesia. It also shows how easily a competent reporter can illustrate Romney’s problem. However, it didn’t show itself in the debates. As The Impartial Review News has noted, the moderators were hand picked by a Republican dominated group so it’s not surprising that the reporters shied away from asking any tough questions and moderator Candy Crawley was assigned the role of asking questions from the audience.
For the second debate, The Impartial Review News identified numerous issues andh 82 additional questions that could have put the candidates on the spot and informed the public. She also had a tendency to ask questions in a certain way that precluded the candidates from giving a complete answer. In contrast, the questions asked at the townhall meeting from citizens were much better but here moderator Candy Crowley didn’t get around to asking some questions (e.g., about pollution, Citizen’s United). In addition, the citizens at the townhall debate were undecided voters who tend to be low information voters. A better townhall debate might have included highly informed voters. The debates also excluded third party candidates that almost certainly would have led to a more informative discussion.
The moderators also ignored those issues that most Americans are concerned the most about. The Impartial Review News has also been able to identify many issues that the main stream and alternative media didn’t cover 1,2,3.
Mr. Romney also has showed that he believes he can mislead or misdirect the press. For example, he has given the press a number of false stories about Sensata. One that was promoted and shot down on Meet The Press today was a false claim by Mr. Romney that Chrysler was planning on shipping jobs overseas. Another distracting idea from his campaign was that President Obama purchased stock in the company. The reality is that President Obama has a pension which he has no control over that has invested in funds that include Sensata. A similar Romney campaign argument was that Democrats were involved in the management of Bain without noting that the head of Sensata made a $655,000 donation to the Romney campaign and the RNC’s largest donor is Bain. Republicans also have attempted to misdirect the public by accusing the American Sensata protesters of being communists when Bain is off-shoring the jobs to Chinese communist workers. A full time line of Mr. Romney’s false campaign claims about Sensata can be found here.
In some cases, the Romney campaign succeeded in planting these stories in the press. For example, most of the press continue to report that he has a blind trust that limits what he can do with his investments. However, his private attorney manages the trust so it doesn’t meet Federal guidelines for a blind trust. Another problem we identified is that the media tended to report the story piecemeal. For example, many stories reported on protesters but left out an explanation about why they were protesting or Mr. Romney’s connection to the problem which really could be explained in a sentence or two. That is, Mr. Romney claims he will create jobs when his business practices and financial success include using complex tax laws profit from to off-shoring high paying high tech jobs to Chinese women who live in barracks and work 84 hours per week for $1.35 an hour or less. That one sentence leads to the important question of how can America compete with slave labor and should it have to?
A simple picture of Mr. Romney emerges that the press refuses to acknowledge. He is a politician that plays fast and lose with the truth in order to sell himself. He is supported by large financial institutions that profit at the expense of the public by engaging in either indirect or direct discriminatory practices. Since mucht of the press has refused to acknowledge the obvious facts or confront Mr. Romney during the debate, one is tempted to describe their coverage as complicit campaign support. That’s not to say they haven’t let the President off the hook as well. However, they only seem to let him off the hook when Mr. Romney supports the President’s positions (e.g., drone strikes).
Worse, yet the media promotes very short stories that paint only a partial or misleading picture. One of The Impartial Review News’s most popular stories pointed out that there is no known connection between beauty and intelligence after main stream media went wild with the story which appears to be an endorsement of certain negative stereotypes.
Currently, there is widespread media report from the AP that argues racism is worse under President Obama. Most stories fail to acknowledge that the survey found that racism is less among Democrats and only worse among Republicans. Second, the story fails to acknowledge that sources of the increased racism 1,2 which include blatant attempts to block the President’s legislation for political gain or to acknowledge that Romney donors have paid huge large settlements for race discrimination or to mention conservative race bating tactics or those who are blocking equal protection under the law. After reading a few stories, one has to wonder if the purpose of these reports is to create the false impression that the problem is the President’s fault.
The press also narrowed the 47% tape issue to one statement when the tape included many disturbing comments.
The Impartial Review News has indicated that most politicians have a particular political strategy. Mr. Romney is a Pig in the Poke Politician. A Pig in the Poke strategy is a dishonest political tactic where the politician only presents a partial position or policy on an important issue. Using an incomplete story gives the politician many advantages. First, the politician can adjust the story to make it more appealing to different audiences. This can be accomplished because the politician never gives enough details to let anyone fully understand what he’s proposing. The tactic also hides from your audience what you’re true intentions are. I also published a shorter updated version of the Pig in the Poke tactic at Reader Supported News here.
The Impartial Review News has a comprehensive guide to Romnesia from the second presidential debate. This article brought up a new term that we called Conesia which involves making highly deceptive comments about Mr. Romney’s own plans that appear to be designed to make his plans sound more appealing to his audience. The article identified Anterograde Romnesia(18), Classic Romnesia(8), Conesia(16) and eight Sketchy Deals for a total of 50 misleading statements.
Another misleading phrase that Mr. Romney and other Republicans (e.g., the Koch Brothers) have begun to use is the term economic freedom. The way the tern is used, it’s not freedom they are referring to at all. Rather, it’s the freedom of employers to do whatever they want even if it inhibits the freedom of employees. This article illustrates the false values associated with those who value personal freedom over others’ freedom, justice, equality or public safety. However, the idea is appealing if the person is misdirected away from the idea that they are hurting others and told to just focus on the idea that their personal freedom is all that is important.
As a Pig in the Poke or Sketchy Deal politician, Mr. Romney told different stories to his largest donors and middle class donors on the same evening as his infamous 47% tape and these stories were different from the stories he presented to TV viewers during the debates. Mr. Romney can do this because his plans are incomplete so he can emphasize different aspects of the plan to different audiences. However, Mr. Romney goes well beyond the typical Pig in the Poke politician and actually changes the facts.
Mr. Romney has spoken on the issue of health care a number of times has a few odd notions that are listed here. During the second debate, The Impartial Review News identified thirteen misleading statements about Mr. Romney made about either his health care policy or President Obama’s. In addition, he attempted to convince a reporter that no one would be hurt by lack of health insurance. In fact, estimates range from 36-72,000 people would die each if Mr. Romney’s plan was implemented.
Similar to many Republicans, Mr. Romney makes overly broad misleading statements about taxes and regulations by claiming that regulations will create jobs and that taxes will hurt the middle class. The reality is that decreasing regulations can tax the public. Higher taxes can lead to lower costs due to regulations. For example, Mr. Romney’s largest supporters are wall street banks that want to be deregulation because over the past four years they have paid billions in lawsuits where some of that money was directly returned to consumers. Similarly, Obamacare will lower the deficit by about $100 billion over the next decade and lowers consumer costs by putting a cap on insurance company profits.
Before considering Mr. Romney’s budget, tax and jobs plans, it’s important to consider the type of politician his running mate Paul Ryan is. Paul Ryan is a Starve the Beast Politician. A starve the beast politician uses a highly unethical strategy in order to achieve his results. According to Progressive Economist Paul Krugman the Starve the Beast Political Strategy
“Rather than proposing unpopular spending cuts, Republicans would push through popular tax cuts, with the deliberate intention of worsening the government’s fiscal position. Spending cuts could then be sold as a necessity rather than a choice, the only way to eliminate an unsustainable budget deficit.”
As noted in The Impartial Review News story Historian Bruce Bartlett, former domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan, called the Starve the Beast Strategy
“the most pernicious fiscal doctrine in history”
and blames it for the increase in US government debt since the 1980s.
Mr. Romney has argued that he has used Paul Ryan’s Starve the Beast budget as a model for his. Although Mr. Romney has claimed that he going to lower the deficit, his budget doesn’t indicate that. His only claim is that he will close loopholes to pay off the deficit but he hasn’t specified any so it’s difficult to estimate the seriousness of his plan particularly when he has personally profited from these loopholes and remains deeply invested in companies that profit from tax loopholes. If he doesn’t pay off the debt with these loopholes and there appears to be no reason to believe that he would his budget will increase the deficit and lowers wages.
A number of analysts seem confused by his numbers and assumed he has some deficit lowering policy when he doesn’t. Others looked just at the budget but didn’t include an analysis of how his plan to cut the size of government and other cost cutting measures would influences his numbers.
In terms of jobs, Mr. Romney estimates that his plan will create 12 million jobs which is consistent with CBO estimates that argue that over the next ten years that number of jobs will be created regardless of who is President. However, Mr. Romney claims he will create that many jobs in four years. However, he hasn’t explained how he will do that. His plan states he will cut 10% of the Federal workforce and will lower Federal worker wages. He also proposes to reduce union influence in negotiating contracts with the government and union funding in the private sector. By doing this, he will lower wages across the board. He believes that these lower wages will be more competitive on the world market but that’s questionable when his other policies set U.S. business taxes overseas to 0%. This aspect of Mr. Romney seems to have been missed by almost everyone in the media which is odd because it’s listed on his website. The question is how many Americans would vote for Mr. Romney if they knew his jobs plan lowers wages?
For example, Sensata is a company that Mr. Romney has profited from in the last couple of years. This company uses Chinese women that are paid $1.35- 99 cents per hour. They live in company barracks. They work 84 hours per week. They are replacing high tech workers in the U.S. at a Sensata plant in the U.S. There are only two possible ways U.S. workers can compete. First, the U.S. could completely deregulate, de-unionize and accept minimum wage jobs but even in that case the U.S. workers would be more expensive. Alternatively, you could argue that the Chinese women are slave labor that produces a lower product without quality, pollution and safety regulations. As such, such products should not be allowed in the U.S. because they are made unethically. However, our current trade agreements with other countries don’t reflect that position. Companies like Bain usually quickly sell their off-shore companies before things happen such as a fire in a Korean Sensata plant so some have argued they are making short-term profits at the expensive of U.S. jobs. For these reasons, The Impartial Review News doesn’t believe that lowering wages will end up creating many jobs and that decreasing middle class benefits (e.g., Social Security or Medicare) in the long run creates political instability that doesn’t foster economic or social growth.
The Impartial Review News doesn’t believe the situation is hopeless. An editorial suggested ten ways to increase jobs and pay off the debt. However, Mr. Romney only supports one of the ten methods – small business creation. In sum, it appears the press has failed to communicate t the American public who Mr. Romney is, how he made his money, his approach to politics or his policies. The lack of quality press coverage in also one reason why we have an Occupy Wall Street Movement in this country and why it will continue unless the press changes or people stop listening.
Sorry! No Links