Who could forget Senator Jon Kyl’s statement before the Senate regarding Planned Parenhood spending “well over 90%” of its funding on abortions? Jon Stewart ripped him a new one over this statement which Kyl later explained was not intended to be a “factual statement.” It seems that it is common for statements of Republicans to be lies. Republicans don’t call them lies. Instead they may be described as “not factual.” It’s like an affliction that prevents conservatives from telling the truth. Once the lie is told the “echo chamber media” repeats the lie so often that it becomes “truth” in the minds of vulnerable listeners.
Examples that come to mind of these lies, would have to include Glen Beck’s statement that conservatives founded the civil rights movement, and virtually everything Michele Bachmann says. Even matters that are an undisputed part of American history, that really have nothing to do with politics today, seem to be vulnerable to fabrication. Remember when Michele Bachmann spoke about the shot that was heard around the world being fired from New Hampshire? Then there was Sarah Palin’s account of Paul Revere warning the British that the Americans were coming.
Then later when she was given a chance to admit that it was a mistake, she repeated the lie.
However the lies come from a broader group of Republicans. Examples include David Barton’s book, The Jefferson Lies, and Arthur Jones who claimed that the Holocaust “never happened” and that it was “nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews.” Republicans from the Republican Debate this year, worked together to perpetuate lies, and others suggested that Obama had actually tried to raise the price of gas.”
Recently Sarah Palin has resurrected her “lie of the year” regarding Death Panels.Most liberals assume that by now most conservatives realize the absurdity of Palin’s claims of “death panels.” Yet those who are fearful and conservative, are quick to believe even the untruthful rhetoric. My mother is one such person. My mother has spent the last 50 years of her life living in Oklahoma and listening to conservative talk radio. If she hears something on the radio she believes it to be true. They wouldn’t lie on the radio!?! Mom was in Dallas this last weekend, and although I try very hard to avoid political discussions, it seems that the members of my family are unable to gather without discussing politics. Mom was particularly focused on “Death Panels,” which she believed would be in control of end-of-life decisions that would determine if she would live or die, and what treatment would be available for her, even though she has health insurance in place. My mother has a college degree. She is a bright senior citizen, She plays golf several times each week, participates in charitable organizations, and very active in her church. She keeps informed about current events by listening to the radio, and watching Fox News. She is a victim of misinformation without realizing it. It is incomprehensible to her that Europeans infected entire tribes of American Indians with Small Pox, that Death Panels do not exist, or that the values of Islam are not at odds with American values.
It seems obvious that if a political party must rely on lies, misinformation, and frightening people, that there must be something inherently wrong with that party’s ideology. It seems that we should be able to educate Americans about the truth and dispel any factual errors. Our country would be stronger, and better able to address the many difficulties we face, if we could begin with consideration of only the facts. I long for the day of Joe Friday who taught us to look for “just the facts.”