May 2012, Week 4


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Tue, 22 May 2012 22:35:15 -0400
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Romney's Extraordinary Detachment from the Truth

By Berry Craig 
L.A. Progressive 
May 22, 2012


Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, was
on the money when he said Mitt Romney will "tell a bunch more
whoppers about unions" (and President Obama).

Romney fibbed anew when he claimed Obama "denies an American
company the right to build a factory in the American state of
its choice."

The claim is vintage Romney obfuscation, apparently based on
 the dispute - settled last year - between the International
 Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and Chicago-
 headquartered Boeing over the aircraft manufacturer's new
 non-union plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state
 where most business owners and most politicians - even some
 Democrats - are less than union-friendly.

For years, Boeing was based in Seattle , where the company
was founded in 1916. The union said - and the National Labor
Relations Board agreed - that Boeing broke federal labor law
by building the factory in South Carolina in retaliation
against union members for exercising their federally-
guaranteed right to strike.

The IAM asked the NLRB to file the case, then requested that
the panel drop it after the union and Boeing agreed to a new
contract in which the company pledged to expand aircraft
production in the Seattle area. The South Carolina plant
stayed open.

"This case was never about the union or the NLRB telling
Boeing where it could put its plants," Steven Greenhouse of
the New York Times quoted Lafe Solomon, acting NLRB general
council. "This was a question for us of retaliation, and that
remains the law."

Solomon, the union and Boeing are all glad the dispute was
settled, Greenhouse wrote. Presumably, Obama is, too.

But you wouldn't know any of that from news reports of what
 Romney said. Once again, a Romney fib evidently went
 unquestioned by reporters.

Yet Romney's getting a free pass from the media all over the
place, according to bloggers Jamelle Bouie and Steve Benen.

"Constant mendacity is the norm for Romney and his campaign,
and odds are good that he won't suffer for it," Bouie wrote
for The American Prospect online. "Campaign reporters don't
have a strong incentive to challenge him on his
misrepresentations, and interested parties have a hard time
dealing with the deluge. In other words, we should strap
ourselves in and prepare for five more months of Romney's
truth-free operation."

I don't understand what Bouie meant by "campaign reporters
don't have a strong incentive to challenge him on his

But elsewhere in his piece he mused that "for political
 reporters with time and space constraint, there is no way to
 counter all this, even if you have the inclination. On a
 regular basis, the Romney campaign issues so many
 distortions-so many lies-that it's nearly impossible to keep

Of course, that's idea of telling whoppers a mile a minute.
It worked for Ronald Reagan, who was dubbed "the Great
Communicator." His critics called him "the Great
Prevaricator" to no avail.

Anyway, on the Maddow Blog, Steve Benen has been regularly
"Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity." The last time I looked, he
was up to Volume 17, in which he quoted Bouie.

Benen also wrote that "it's up to media professionals and
 voters to determine whether Romney's extraordinary
 detachment from the truth is going to matter in this
 election or not. So far, the former governor is gambling he
 can get away with falsehoods that are as extraordinary as
 they are routine, and by all appearances, for now, he's

Amen, but don't get me wrong. Reporters are just as obligated
to scrutinize President Obama - and every other politician,
Republican, Democratic, liberal, moderate or conservative.
I've got no problem with our reporters even putting our pols
on the hot seat face- to-face as British reporters routinely
do to British politicians. more from berry craig Romney's
Extraordinary Detachment from the Truth

My guess is "Romney's extraordinary detachment from the
truth" is helping him. His roll of the dice that "he can get
away with are as extraordinary as they routine" seems to be
hitting sevens and elevens.

Romney is close to Obama in some polls and even a tad ahead
in others. How much press coverage has to do with that is, of
course, debatable.

So is bias, which is often in the eye of the beholder.
 Conservatives like Romney gripe about the "liberal media."
 It's the same media the Soviets scorned as the "bourgeoisie
 capitalist media" during the bad old days of the cold war.

In the end, the economy will be the main factor in
 determining the winner on November 6. But it's hard to beat
 good press. Romney and his campaign staff must be high-
 fiving and fist-bumping each other over the Fourth Estaters
 who are, for whatever reason, acting more like lapdogs than
 watchdogs in covering him on the campaign trail. Meanwhile,
 Londrigan wants working people, especially union members, to
 be news hounds and check out the Romney record themselves.

"Voters only have to look at the type of vulture capitalism
 that Romney practiced at Bain Capital to know where he
 stands on unions and workers' rights. Just ask the thousands
 of workers whose jobs were destroyed at GST Steel in Kansas
 City, Missouri, when Bain Capital took over and sucked the
 life out of the company so that Romney and few other Bain
 executives could reap millions.

"Of course, this is only a single example of the type of
slash and burn predatory capitalism that Romney ascribes to
and from which he made his fortune. A worker voting for Mitt
Romney is like a chicken voting for Col. Sanders!"

Berry CraigLondrigan suggests a good place to start
scrutinizing the Romney record is by taking a gander at the
first video shown here from the International Union of
Painters and Allied Trades, my late grandfather Vest's union.
He also recommends the second video shown here.

What Does Miitt Romney Think of Unions?

Romney Economics: Bankruptcy and Bailouts

[Berry Craig is a professor of history at the West Kentucky
Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance
writer. He is a member of American Federation of Teachers
Local 1360, the recording secretary for the Western Kentucky
Area Council, AFL-CIO, and the author of True Tales of Old-
Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo. He is a
native of Mayfield, Ky., where he lives with his wife of 31
years and their teenage son]


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