Slate’s Dickerson: Obama deceptions might be a deliberate attention-diverting strategy

posted at 2:01 pm on April 17, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, I wrote about the Fox News poll showing the erosion of Barack Obama’s standing on honesty, an unsurprising consequence of the implosion of his promises on ObamaCare, among other things. More than sixty percent of Americans now think Obama lies on important matters some or most of the time, which hardly bodes well for his latest campaign effort — which features a whopper of a lie about pay differentials between men and women. Even his normal allies accuse Obama of “revolting demagoguery,” and the claim revealed some interesting pay disparities propagated by the very incumbents Obama wanted to boost with this new “war on women” attack.

Does the White House regret these fibs? John Dickerson at Slate doubts it — and argues that even baldfaced lies promote Obama’s agenda through trollery:

How do I get you to pay attention to this story? I could type out a balanced tale about an incremental change in White House spin and message control, relying on your discernment, patience, and kindness toward all the creatures of the Earth. Or, I could say that Barack Obama is a cynical and manipulative liar. The first approach would get a modest number of thoughtful readers, but they probably wouldn’t stay on the page very long. The second would excite the emotions. Conservatives would approve. Liberals would denounce it and point out the exaggerations. My editor would smile because the controversy would attract more readers.

This is trolling. I’ve decided against it, but the White House has not. CBS’s Major Garrett writes in National Journal about a new version of the “stray voltage” theory of communication in which the president purposefully overstates his case knowing that it will create controversy. Garrett describes it this way: “Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness.” …

“Stray voltage,” the term Obama strategist David Plouffe used to describe this approach, is also a great buzzword that makes it look like you’ve got a theory for what might otherwise look like chaos. But this twist is a new, higher order of deception: creating the controversy for the purposes of milking it.

The White House denies that this is their strategy:

It’s a little difficult to believe this, though. The 77-cent myth has been so thoroughly debunked as a metric for “equal pay for equal work” that nearly everyone blew the whistle on it. Even after having it repeatedly debunked both now and when Obama included it in his State of the Union speech, the White House keeps using it as part of their argument, arguing that it’s “shameful” — which it is, but not for the reason they claim. If it’s not deliberate, then the only other possibility is that the entire Obama administration and the President himself are too dense to comprehend the explanation, offered a multitude of times across the political spectrum.

Similarly, the administration kept insisting for years that ObamaCare would not disrupt existing coverage — “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” — even while overwhelming evidence showed otherwise. When millions of people had their plans canceled in the individual markets, Obama and the White House feigned surprise, and then tried to blame insurers who were forced to end their policies as a direct result of the law. It later came out that HHS had predicted this outcome a few weeks after ObamaCare’s passage, but Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, and the administration kept pushing the lie until it was too obviously false to deny any longer.

If deception isn’t a deliberate strategy, well, it would be difficult for it to be worse if it was. Either way, it’s not playing in Peoria the way it does in the Beltway, as Salena Zito reported last weekend:

She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week.

A Democrat herself, she said she has carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant.

“I am in many ways my own boss,” she explained. “It is up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages.”

And she is “sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it’s insulting.”

I spoke with Salena about this on Tuesday’s TEMS.

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Racist azzhole in chief

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:03 PM

15% of American utter fools believe that every word obama mutters “is true”.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:04 PM

The black child is turning into a reverse-Urkel: “I MEANT to do that!”

And of course, the Kneepad Media repeats the lie, because to do otherwise would be a) racist and b) expose what imbeciles they were in pushing an unqualified, petulant, and narcissistic child for the Presidency because of his black skin.

northdallasthirty on April 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Troll in Chief

LilliPutin laughs his puny azz off.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

northdallasthirty on April 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Perfect summation!

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Satan is the father of all liars.

myiq2xu on April 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM

They should have to show an example of this pay disparity.

Have a woman come forward who, today, is being paid less than a man yet is working the same job.

Baggi on April 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM

obama has set race-relations in the USA back by at least 30 years.

He is the shame of the land and every sane minority should shun him.

Any smart women should do the same.

He makes them all appear helpless and lesser.

MLK fought and died for nothing. obama destroyed it all.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:08 PM

War on Women and Racism are the only cards left in the liberals deck!! Get ready for WOW and racism ads for the coming elections.

Deano1952 on April 17, 2014 at 2:09 PM

obama reached the level of incompetence early in life.

His latte skin catapulted him forward and the land has to suffer all the consequences.

The entire world laughs at the USA today.

For the record:

Bill Clinton was the first black president.

obama is the first half-black and gay president.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Speaking of leftist media sites…..

SEIU is petitioning NLRB to unionize Media Matters

Blue on Blue warfare?

lineholder on April 17, 2014 at 2:11 PM

“Fool and Weakling”

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Taqquya. And his disciple are fine with it.

CurtZHP on April 17, 2014 at 2:12 PM

The White House denies that this is their strategy:

Dan Pfeiffer can deny all he wants. obama uses surrogates do divide the land and then pretends “Moi? Non, not moi, Never”.

Then he goes golfing and eating lobster and the massaged beef.

Suffer fools, and work harder. You brung/kept him, you deserve him in full.

The world, who cheered for this narcissistic buffoon, deserves him in full. I hope he exploits all, royally. Only suffering will wake the fools up.

May LilliPutin take half of Europe, a Igor said. Only then will the West wake up. Btw. obama and the wild Islamists, and LilliPutin, hands s/b full…alas, obama goes golfing and Kerry speaks French, with panache.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:16 PM

a as Igor said

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Also, we have to remember that we are in the mind of a delusional, paranoid narcissist now.

Barack Obama is not normal. He is an abandoned child who was raised by incompetents, indoctrinated by a pedophile Communist, and then dumped into an educational system where he was promoted as a “magic Negro” for white liberals like Bill Ayers, Harry Reid, and Joe Biden because he was “clean and articulate” and “had no trace of a Negro accent”.

And he truly believes his lies. Or if he doesn’t, he simply expects reality and his minions to believe them for him.

And he never hires anyone who is more competent than he is. He bragged about the fact that he can do everyone’s job in his administration better than they can.

And the media lies for him and covers up for him.

This is a given. Obama is divorced from reality by choice and by the fact that reality is never allowed to intrude into his inner circle.

northdallasthirty on April 17, 2014 at 2:17 PM

MIGHT BE! …wow,….just wow

Offhanded on April 17, 2014 at 2:18 PM

How about this theory…they lie because telling the truth wouldn’t win them elections?

Or how about they lie because if they told the truth the American people would reject it wholesale?

Or how about they lie because they are arrogant, pompous power-grabbers who get a kick out of deceiving the American people and making a mockery of our government in the process?

lineholder on April 17, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Did Barry’s handler approve of this strategy?

Sven on April 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Or, I could say that Barack Obama is a cynical and manipulative liar.

It’s pathological. To play amateur psychiatrist, I bet he was lied to as a kid as to why his dad abandoned him and his mother left for a while. He learned that and was spoiled as overcompensation. So his narcissism was then marinated in marxist theology in which lying to further the goals is not merely encouraged but mandatory.

He’s a sick pup.

rbj on April 17, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Latrine-rats in action

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Dan Pfeiffer ✔ @pfeiffer44
Follow
@mckaycoppins FWIW this theory is wrong.

“We are in fact just liars and the media goes along with it,” was left unsaid.

Flange on April 17, 2014 at 2:23 PM

They lie because low-information voter.

John the Libertarian on April 17, 2014 at 2:24 PM

“America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”

Claire Wolfe (1996)

PatriotRider on April 17, 2014 at 2:26 PM

The media is full of intentional deceptions.

oscarwilde on April 17, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Mother Jones actually did Martinez a big favor. They’ve raised her profile, and the attack will bring a lot more support from the national grassroots than Martinez may otherwise have attracted. By targeting her, they’ve also increased her credibility as a national figure. Assuming she wins re-election — and this little firecracker popped way too early to affect her chances in New Mexico — she’s going to get plenty of attention for the 2016 cycle now.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:27 PM

The 47% are too stupid to know better.

Tater Salad on April 17, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Goebbels loves obama and Carney.

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:28 PM

They lie because they CAN and get away with it. Too many low information voters and people who want to believe because the liberals give them everything they want. All the free publicity from conservatives about his lies gives them the opportunity to deny and people believe the lies. It’s a strategy that is working for the liberals.

onesheep on April 17, 2014 at 2:28 PM

It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.”
Claire Wolfe (1996)

PatriotRider on April 17, 2014 at 2:26 PM

I expected a whole lot of shooting going on at the Bundy ranch.

John the Libertarian on April 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Good one

H/t RWM

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM

He lies about everything. Which ones is he diverting attention from?

crankyoldlady on April 17, 2014 at 2:32 PM

The President is very much a figurehead – he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government media, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.
On those criteria Zaphod Beeblebrox King Putt is one of the most successful Presidents the Galaxy US has ever had. He spent two of his ten Presidential years in prison for fraud. Very very few people realize that the President and the Government have virtually no power at all, and of these very few people only six know whence ultimate political power is wielded. Most of the others secretly believe that the ultimate decision-making process is handled by a computer. They couldn’t be more wrong.

dentarthurdent on April 17, 2014 at 2:32 PM

How about this theory…they lie because telling the truth wouldn’t win them elections?

Or how about they lie because if they told the truth the American people would reject it wholesale?

Or how about they lie because they are arrogant, pompous power-grabbers who get a kick out of deceiving the American people and making a mockery of our government in the process?

lineholder on April 17, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Or how about they lie because it’s who they are?

bigmacdaddy on April 17, 2014 at 2:34 PM

It’s probably a combination of things. First, Obama and many Dems are pathological liars. That’s the nature of politics these days, but this bunch takes it to a level I’ve never seen. Second, the Democrat base is full of morons and people who believe the ends justify the means(remember what they allowed Clinton to get away with?). Third, the media may occasionally give Obama 3 or 4 Pinocchios in a WaPo editorial, but they’ll never ridicule or criticize him for any extended period of time. And they’ll certainly never turn on him. And fourth, Obama’s a narcissist who is incapable of admitting he either lied or screwed up in any way. That’s why he never fires anyone and it’s why someone else is always to blame when things go wrong.

Add it all up, and they probably figure it’s safer to keep telling bald-faced lies even after they’re disproved than to try to debate within the boundaries of the truth.

Doughboy on April 17, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Obama deceptions might be a deliberate attention-diverting strategy

What does he ever do that isn’t a deliberate attention-diverting strategy?

whatcat on April 17, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Tough life

Schadenfreude on April 17, 2014 at 2:39 PM

Anybody see the Masters over the weekend? The twenty-year old, Spieth, was being lauded for his maturity at such a young age. Well that all changed in the final round when he started making mistakes. He was throwing a bit of a temper tantrum with each successive bad shot.

That’s what we’re seeing with the lazy stupid rat-eared wonder. He’s pulled off the facade of “No Drama Obama” pretty well with two noteable exceptions being when a reporter dared ask him a question about his unilateral move to provide amnesty to illegal DREAMers and when his gun-grabbing scheme went down to defeat in the Senate. But now, five years into it, the bad decisions are coming back to haunt the bastard and he has nothing to respond with but bluster, bullying, and outright lies.

Happy Nomad on April 17, 2014 at 2:40 PM

What does he ever do that isn’t a deliberate attention-diverting strategy?

whatcat on April 17, 2014 at 2:38 PM

His ego is going to face a massive shock when he’s out of office and nobody cares as much about his actions.

Happy Nomad on April 17, 2014 at 2:42 PM

John the Libertarian on April 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Your answer…

“I estimate we’re about three more 1200-page bills away from a revolution”

David Burge@Iowahawkblog

PatriotRider on April 17, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Have a woman come forward who, today, is being paid less than a man yet is working the same job.

Baggi on April 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Better yet, use an example the low-info crowd would understand. I’m sure that there was a time when Regis Philbin made more money than his cohost Kelly Ripa. But now he is gone and Kelly anchors the show. I’m sure she makes more money than her current cohost – Michael Strahan.

monalisa on April 17, 2014 at 2:46 PM

What does he ever do that isn’t a deliberate attention-diverting strategy?

whatcat on April 17, 2014 at 2:38 PM

His ego is going to face a massive shock when he’s out of office and nobody cares as much about his actions.

Happy Nomad on April 17, 2014 at 2:42 PM

What makes you think he has any intention of even leaving office? He’s known his entire life that he is Above the Law, and has lived his entire Presidency with absolutely no regard for the Rule of Law.

Del Dolemonte on April 17, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Of course, in a case such as this, saying that you aren’t doing it is doing it if you are in fact doing it.

Akzed on April 17, 2014 at 2:51 PM

1. The One is a pathological liar.

2. His mind is a stew of unfocused hatreds,and screaming, scenery-chewing grievances, most of them imaginary.

3. He exists in his own parallel universe between his ears, where everything he says is absolutely true, and if you can’t see that, you’re evil and must be destroyed.

4. Or the Short Form;

The President is a gibbering dingbat.

clear ether

eon

eon on April 17, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Notice how this article ignores black racism? Its always “older white rural” folks who are racist to the msm. What dies it say about blacks that they voted 95% in two elections for a black man? What about “polar bear hunting”? This POTUS and the Dem party have set race relations back decades. It was intentional, planned, and part of their strategy from day one.

neyney on April 17, 2014 at 2:52 PM

They lie because Brian Williams or Steve Pelley or Diane Sawyer would never, ever call them on it. Never. And they know it.

HornHiAceDeuce on April 17, 2014 at 3:01 PM

neyney on April 17, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Blacks themselves admit that more blacks are racist than whites are racist:

More Americans View Blacks As Racist Than Whites, Hispanics

“…Among black Americans, 31% think most blacks are racist, while 24% consider most whites racist and 15% view most Hispanics that way…”

slickwillie2001 on April 17, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Liberals have no character, no honor … if they did theses deceptions and lies would not be standard practice.

Whitey Ford on April 17, 2014 at 3:20 PM

northdallasthirty on April 17, 2014 at 2:17 PM

I agree completely with you. We have our first mentally ill president who is being kept afloat by those that use the melanin in his skin, and his megalomaniac predisposition to destroy this nation.

avagreen on April 17, 2014 at 4:00 PM

2016.

galvestonian on April 17, 2014 at 4:07 PM

avagreen on April 17, 2014 at 4:00 PM

America’s completely insane Nero.

God help us.

avagreen on April 17, 2014 at 4:12 PM

In a cult, even lies are genius.

faraway on April 17, 2014 at 4:50 PM

“Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness.” …

The downside is that if you do this often enough, people no longer even listen to you.

Are we there yet?

GarandFan on April 17, 2014 at 5:17 PM

It’s called telling so many lies one can not keep them straight so just keep lying about the lies.

albill on April 17, 2014 at 5:41 PM

The country owes Joe Wilson an apology. “You lie” was an understatement!

Christian Conservative on April 18, 2014 at 12:13 AM