You might recall the TV ad that ran a couple of weeks ago in which President Obama told a campaign audience that, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." Trouble is, the comment was made in 2008, and it was Obama telling the crowd what his opponent, John McCain, had actually said. The president's folks pushed back on the blatant distortion, but the Romney folks offered up numerous justifications for the lie: Obama did say those actual words; Obama has been negative before, etc. But the latest excuse, offered by a Romney operative to reporter Tom Edsall, will take your breath away:
"First of all, ads are propaganda by definition. We are in the persuasion business, the propaganda business.... Ads are agitprop.... Ads are about hyperbole, they are about editing. It's ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context.... All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art."
From NY magazine Jonathan Chait:
This new justification is a frank embrace of the postmodern approach to truth. The assumption here is that, since a campaign's arguments are designed to persuade the audience of a predetermined conclusion, they do not need to uphold any standards of truth whatsoever.
Sadly, this is already a leitmotif of the Republican campaign: Just make stuff up.