As the Republican National Convention gives way to the Democrats this week, the political press is still aglow with its newfound #presspushback role. Which allows the rest of us a rare opportunity to judge the media by its own new, vigorous standard of calling out political lies in real time. How will they fact-check a president and party who are already in power?
A preliminary answer: By worrying out loud that Americans aren’t ready to accept the “facts” of President Obama’s success, from the stimulus to Obamacare…
“So what is this election about? To be sure, it’s about different visions of society — about Medicare versus Vouchercare, about preserving the safety net versus destroying it,” Krugman wrote. “But it’s also a test of how far politicians can bend the truth. This is surely the first time one of our major parties has run a campaign so completely fraudulent, making claims so at odds with the reality of its policy proposals. But if the Romney/Ryan ticket wins, it won’t be the last.”
It’s a delicate proposition, warning voters that they might be too stupid and/or venal to understand a politician’s brilliance. We don’t know yet how that strategy will pay off in the voting booth, but if the president and his party get the kid-gloves treatment from the media this week after the RNC festival of overheated fact-checking, then the institution of political journalism may creep into still more unchartered territory: taking sides in the very polarization it usually claims to abhor.