By Tim DeLong
For quite some time it has been apparent to most that Republicans lie a lot more than Democrats. So I decided to put together my own list of what I consider to be lies told by Republicans, as well as significant policy positions – most of which involved outright lies – that turned out to be very wrong. Some are worse than others. Some are more important than others. Almost all are simply out-and-out lies that are told again and again by not just these candidates but also Fox News (which each year heads the list of news organizations that lie the most), Limbaugh, the Drudge Report, etc.
Here are a few:
- President Clinton’s raising taxes on the wealthy will cause a depression. (Wrong)
- Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. (Wrong)
- Invading Iraq will only cost $50 billion, we will be greeted as liberators, and it will be over quickly. (Wrong x 3)
- We can trust Wall Street to self-regulate. (Nope)
- For thirty years the tobacco industry and their GOP politicians argued that there is no connection between smoking and lung cancer … which they knew was false. (Many died unnecessarily. Big Tobacco was prosecuted successfully.)
- Today, many of these same people argue global warming is a hoax, which they know is not true. (ExxonMobil is just now being investigated in a manner very similar to the Big Tobacco lawsuit for lying about climate change for the last 30 years. Great book/movie about this: “Merchants of Doubt.”)
- Fracking does not cause earthquakes, pollute ground water, or release large amounts of methane gas. (Yes it does.)
- Obama is a Muslim and was not born in the US. (Wrong x 2)
- Creationism is scientifically accurate. (Wrong)
- Obama’s 2009 stimulus plan will cause runaway inflation. (Nope)
- Bailing out GM and Chrysler will not save the US auto industry and jobs. (Yes it did)
- They used fear-mongering while contradicting the CDC and NIH as to the dangers of the Ebola outbreak and how to best deal with it. (The CDS and NIH were correct.)
- “More guns” is the solution to stopping US gun violence. (The evidence would suggest otherwise.)
- “We need to arm teachers” (No comment)
- Obama increased the deficit. (Actually cut it by 70 %.)
- Obama’s policies will lead to $8 to $9 a gallon gas. (Did not)
- Trickle-down economic policy will eventually trickle-down to the rest of us. (It has not and has resulted in the worst wealth inequality in US history.)
- Extreme wealth inequality is not necessarily a bad thing. (Yes it is as it threatens our democracy by giving way too much power to a few and greatly slows the economic growth.)
- With “legitimate” rape women have ways to shut that whole thing down. (Duh.)
- Obamacare will raise the cost of healthcare, create death panels, be a government takeover of our healthcare (insurance industry profits are at all-time high), be a job killer, and will cover illegals. (Nope to all of the above.)
- We need “significantly more American boots on the ground” in the Middle East. (Still a bad idea as it is coming from the same neocons who concocted the 2003 invasion of Iraq! These people just will not go away.)
And nearly half the country votes for this party.
Fox News plays the biggest role as the main perpetuator of this right wing misinformation. A January 27, 2015 scorecard indicated that about 60% of the claims made by Fox and Fox news were rated mostly false, false, pants on fire. (The scorecard for MSNBC and NBC indicated that about 44% of the claims were mostly false, false, or pants on fire. CNN has the best record among cable networks as 80% of the claims are rated as half true, mostly true, true.)
Here is a sampling from Fox:
- Sean Hannity said “during the Benghazi attack, a stand “down order was given, and our troops were told to change their clothes four times.” Mostly False
- Bill O’Reilly stated “Merrick Garland voted, so the folks know, in Washington DC, to keep guns away from private citizens.” False
- Sean Hannity said President Obama “said he’s going to bring in 250,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees into this country.” Pants on fire
- Dana Perino said on climate change “the temperature readings have been fabricated, and it’s all blowing up in their (scientists’) faces.” Pants on Fire
A study by Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) found that people who watch Fox news are less informed than people that don’t watch any news. It could be argued that watching Fox news makes one dumber about what is going on in the world. (Google “Fox News make you stupid.”)
More facts from the FDU study: The largest effect is that of Fox News: all else being equal, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic questions correctly — a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all. On the other hand, if they listened only to NPR, they would be expected to answer 1.51 questions correctly; viewers of Sunday morning talk shows fare similarly well. And people watching only The Daily Show with Jon Stewart could answer about 1.42 questions correctly.
So we have a political party, the GOP, and its candidate for president, who spew out lies constantly. We have various right-wing news sources headed up by Fox News reinforcing the same lies and misinformation. And we have a major segment of the Republican Party who hears these lies over and over again and eventually begins to believe them.
One more thing. Trump’s lawyer is quoted as saying that “Donald is a believer in the big lie theory. If you say something again and again, people will believe you.” It is therefore not surprising that one of Trump’s ex-wives noted that Donald kept a book of Hitler’s speeches next to his bed.
Oh, and one more one more thing. In Trump’s first ad buy for the general election campaign, fact checkers found an average of “one lie every four seconds” while Pulitzer Prize winner Politifact found that 76% of what Trump says is false or mostly false.
by Tim Delong