These bizarre claims demonizing The Affordable Care Act – Boehner called it “Armageddon” – are a perfect example of how Republican leaders speak on every subject. They have no interest in truth or even a semblance of accuracy. As someone, maybe Bill Maher, said, “They just make shit up” – whatever they think is going to play well with the nasty, mean-spirited, bigoted dittoheads that make up their base. They do the same thing with global warming, and now they’re demagoguing gas prices. They distort and lie about every issue, and they conspire to make sure they’re all repeating the same lies. Because even though they are always wrong about everything, when low-information citizens hear the same lies often enough, they believe them. And Fox News guarantees those lies will be played and replayed until their viewers have internalized them.
Is it really that simple? Yeah, people who believe Republigoons™ and their Ministry of Propaganda, Faux News, really are that simple. They want to hear what reinforces their biases, and the Ministry/Faux does not disappoint.
This isn’t politics, it’s a propaganda war. Unfortunately, only one side seems to realize it. So when liberals and moderates repeat right-wing lies in the process of refuting them with facts and reasoned arguments, guess what the net effect is? You can’t defeat mass propaganda with arguments appropriate to a scholarly debate; you defeat it with more effective framing of the issues, based in truth. (Don’t you hate it when Democrats are caught being deceptive, as happens far too frequently at FactCheck.org? Is it necessary for Dems to distort the facts? Doesn’t truth have a liberal bias?)
When the goal is persuasion, you must necessarily tailor the presentation to the audience; but if in the process you distort the facts, it will come out and the other side will be able to say, “See, they do it too,” or words to that effect. They would say that anyway, of course, but let’s not make it easy on them; and let’s not be truthful and accurate just because we might be caught – let’s do it because that’s who we are.
There’s just so much more liberals and moderates need to be doing to begin to reverse the right-wing tide. Paying more attention to the framing of our messages would be a good start.