Lying About Lying

Our intelligence agencies told the American people that in 2016, the Russians spread disinformation on social media which changed the outcome of the 2016 election. They claimed that President Donald Trump had colluded with the Russians to pull off this disinformation campaign. This was such an outrageous offense and threat to our democracy, that it was necessary to appoint a special counsel, spend over $40 million, and two and a half years investigating this crime. In the end, the investigation proved that Donald Trump had not colluded with the Russians, and the Russians influence on the 2016 election totaled the purchasing of few hundred thousand dollars of political ads on social media which amounted to a fraction of 1% of all of the political ads purchased on social media that election cycle.

Let’s be honest the overwhelming majority of political advertising whether it’s on TV, the radio, in the newspaper or on social media, is a form misinformation or disinformation. There’s very little truth in advertising when it comes to political ads. The candidate who bought the ad presents himself as the next coming of Abraham Lincoln, and his opponent is the next coming of Richard Nixon or even Adolf Hitler. Neither claim is anywhere near the truth. But we see these phony claims again and again, and it continually influences elections again and again. One of the most famous examples of such advertising was in the 2012 Presidential election, when a progressive action group ran an ad literally showing Paul Ryan pushing a grandmother in a wheelchair off a cliff, and that ad immediately swung the polls in Barack Obama’s favor. That is why campaigns raise hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle so they can run ads which distort their own or their opponents record and positions. Make no mistake, that’s their right. They should want to present themselves in the best possible light and show their opponent in the worst possible light. That is what political campaigns are all about. So, even if they are not being completely truthful, there’s nothing we can or should do about it. The alternative is worse.

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Posted by juddgarrett

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