The Lies of Sarah PalinComments
Bob Somerby correctly notes that Palin’s extravagant claim that she “told Congress thanks but no thanks on that Bridge to Nowhere” is simply an “outright lie.” And this is true not only in the sense that she was for it before she was against it, but also because by the time she become governor Congress had given up the earmark. Her self-praise was simply nonsense. And this lie might seem rather consequential, given that her fictitious opposition to federal pork is central to justifying McCain’s selection (cf. David Brooks.) And this isn’t even getting into the fact that she’s still using federal pork to build a road to nowhere. And yet, Palin’s lie has been soft-pedaled into a mere “slight exaggeration.” The contrast with how the Times treats Democratic candidates is obvious:
But so it has gone in the past sixteen years, as lying became a Democratic disease in the press corps’ reliable scripts. In the journalism of the past sixteen years, Republicans have been allowed to misstate as much as they pleased. By way of contrast, the press corps has often invented lies, then pretended that Major Democrats said them. Covering Palin, hapless news orgs like the New York Times are enacting this drama again.
Compare the treatment of Palin’s straightforward lie with the treatment of Gore’s (accurate) statements about his role in the development of the internet (let alone the stuff that was entirely made up), and I think it tells you what you need to know.
I do have one quibble, though. Somerby says that “Liberals, of course, are busy examining photos of Palin’s waist-line. Did she really bear that child? Liberals demand to know this!” Certainly, the thigh-rubbing conspiracy theories about Palin’s fifth child are absolutely idiotic. But nor do I think that there has been any significant interest in this non-story from liberal bloggers of any influence (and, no, Andrew Sullivan hardly counts as a liberal.) The idea that “liberals” or “the left” as opposed to “some random, non-front page Daily Kos diarist” or “some blog commenter somewhere” were drooling about Palin’s recent pregnancy is itself a GOP script that shouldn’t be repeated without naming names. I do agree, however, that the lies underlying Palin’s reputation as a pork-buster are a far more important and far more politically fruitful line of attack than her daughter’s pregnancy.