What Passes as News These Days
Those of us on the right have certainly become familiar with the term 'low-information voter' recently, and for good reason. But perhaps we should be more concerned with the 'mis-information voter'. These include many well meaning, otherwise educated people whose worldview is shaped largely by the 'information' they consume, but are not particularly discerning as to the sources of that information nor the agendas of those supplying it.
Much of this information is offered under the guise of 'hard news' as opposed to editorial opinion or political spin. But when this 'hard news' strays from simply presenting the facts and allowing the reader to interpret them as they will, to blatantly misconstruing those facts, though often in a very stealthy manner, the result is not the aforementioned 'low-information' voter, but, perhaps worse, the 'mis-information' voter.
Exhibit A, from yesterday's Los Angeles Times in an article on the 'Fiscal Cliff Negotiations':
The challenge of squeezing tax increases out of a Republican-led House will get harder, not easier, in the new year. Without the threat of an automatic tax increase, Obama has much less leverage, said Jared Bernstein, the former chief economist and economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. And Republicans will gain leverage through their threats to refuse an increase in the debt ceiling, which would cause the government to default on its bonds.
The end of the last sentence is the target here:
which would cause the government to default on its bonds.
This is not factual, rather complete speculation and conjecture on the part of the reporters. Republican refusal to increase the debt limit does not cause the government to default on its bonds, merely to prioritize the spending of the available revenue. There is no reason that debt service can't or shouldn't be the first item on that list.
But there it is, in black and white, plus it was on the internet, so it has to be true! I can't say whether this is willful deceit by the reporters, or just a case of them repeating something they have heard so many times before, without ever questioning its validity, that they take it as fact and present it as such. You know the adage, repeat a lie often enough and loud enough and eventually people will believe it.
Regardless, the result is that this piece, by design or not, though not very good journalism, is excellent propaganda. Multiply this about a thousand times a day and consumed by millions of voters (not to mention future voters) and it's not too difficult to see why the Republicans are losing the messaging war.