Even Fox News Thinks Paul Ryan’s GOP Convention Speech Was Dishonest

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Republicans, Ryan

So yeah, he did a decent job at delivering the speech…but let’s check out the whoppers that Fox News identifies.

From, well, Fox News…

On the other hand, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.

The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.

Fact: While Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama, the credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.

Fact: While Ryan blamed President Obama for the shut down of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush. Ryan actually asked for federal spending to save the plant, while Romney has criticized the auto industry bailout that President Obama ultimately enacted to prevent other plants from closing.

Fact: Though Ryan insisted that President Obama wants to give all the credit for private sector success to government, that isn’t what the president said. Period.

Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates (which, incidentally, save Medicare recipients out-of-pocket costs, too) and Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan.

Elections should be about competing based on your record in the past and your vision for the future, not competing to see who can get away with the most lies and distortions without voters noticing or bother to care. Both parties should hold themselves to that standard. Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many.

The last thing to add to Ryan’s whoppers…the idea that taxpayers fund things like roads. Yes, they do. But does anybody honestly believe that private businesses would get together and pool their money to make sure those same roads they use for their businesses are viable? That’s obviously unknowable…but where does this system exist elsewhere in the world? Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t. Anywhere.

So yeah, there’s that.

Wasn’t this the serious, thoughtful, fact-based guy?

Nope. Paul Ryan has been in politics most of his adult life and knows exactly how to play the game. He voted for all of Bush’s fiscally irresponsible programs, scuttled the debt commission panel’s recommendations and is now going all in on some clear mistruths…in his convention speech.

Oh well. His honesty was nice while it lasted.


This entry was posted on Saturday, September 1st, 2012 and is filed under Republicans, Ryan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

13 Responses to “Even Fox News Thinks Paul Ryan’s GOP Convention Speech Was Dishonest”

  1. David P. Summers Says:

    “Fact checking” is quickly becoming mired in politics and our political inability today to distinguish “fact” from “opinion” and “lies” from “things I don’t agree with”. It is quickly becoming little more than another partisan tool. Many of the whoppers are more complex than presented here. Here is a conservative defending his “side”, http://mrctv.org/blog/fact-checking-sally-kohn of all this (of course he spins it also, but he does give some points that the article ignores). A couple of these facts listed in the article above aren’t as factual as presented, the Janesville plant “partially closed” before Obama took office but was producing trucks into the Obama administration, and the credit down grade did cite the debt ceiling issue (which both sides contributed to) but it _also_ cited deficit spending.

    Such is nature of our political debate that even “fact” is becoming “spin”. IMO, this will never get better unless we break out of a two party system where we are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, no matter how bad both of those evils are.

  2. David Summers Says:

    “Fact checking” is quickly becoming mired in politics and our political inability today to distinguish “fact” from “opinion” and “lies” from “things I don’t agree with”. It is quickly becoming little more than another partisan tool. Many of the whoppers are more complex than presented here. Here is a conservative defending his “side”, http://mrctv.org/blog/fact-checking-sally-kohn of all this (of course he spins it also, but he does give some points that the article ignores). A couple of these facts listed in the article above aren’t as factual as presented, the Janesville plant “partially closed” before Obama took office but was producing trucks into the Obama administration, and the credit down grade did cite the debt ceiling issue (which both sides contributed to) but it _also_ cited deficit spending.

    And it worth noting that the one of the whoppers the article about facts cites is something that the author admits is unknowable but doesn’t believe will happens, ie something that is an “opinion”, not a “fact”. Such is nature of our political debate that “facts” are merely “things I agree with” and “lies” are “things I don’t agree with”. IMO, this will never get better unless we break out of a two party system where we are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, no matter how bad both of those evils are.

  3. Tillyosu Says:

    Justin, let’s not pretend this piece is some impartial fact check of Ryan’s speech, or that it’s representative of Fox News. This is a piece that ran in Fox’s OPINION section, and is authored by Sally Kohn, an UNPAID contributor to Fox, who also happens to be a liberal activist. So for you to state that “Even Fox News Thinks” that Ryan was being dishonest is, well, dishonest. More accurately, Sally Kohn thinks Ryan was being dishonest, and Fox let her make her case on its website. BTW, if anyone wants to read Fox’s ACTUAL fact check of Ryan’s speech, they can do so here. Oddly, it’s titled “Fact Check: Paul Ryan’s convention address.

    But let’s take a closer look at Ms. Kohn’s “fact check”. I find it amusing that for a speech that “set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations”, she could only find four. And had to “misrepresent” what Ryan actually said in order to get there.

    1. Kohn states “Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama.” But here’s Ryan’s actual quote “It [the Obama Administration] began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.” I didn’t see anything about spending in that statement. Now we can bicker about what the actual reason for the downgrade was, but Ryan is saying nothing more than that it happened on Obama’s watch.

    2. Kohn states “Ryan blamed President Obama for the shut down of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin” That is absolutely, positively not what he said. From Ryan’s speech:

    A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

    Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

    I have yet to hear a single person identify a single falsehood in that statement. Clearly, the argument that Ryan is making is that Obama was swept into office because of lofty promises that he couldn’t or didn’t fulfill. And just to clarify, that plant was operating and making trucks until April 2009. I don’t know of very many “closed” plants that continue to operate and produce goods.

    3. Kohn states: “Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates” Wow. That is some professional spin. I’d like for Ms. Kohn to explain what exactly is the difference between “savings” and “reductions”. Let’s be clear, Obama is reducing spending on Medicare, so he can increase spending on Obamacare, and keep it deficit neutral. Ryan is absolutely right, Democrats needed the money to pay for Obamacare, so they raided Medicare. Pure and simple.

    And just for good measure, Justin adds: “But does anybody honestly believe that private businesses would get together and pool their money to make sure those same roads they use for their businesses are viable? That’s obviously unknowable…but where does this system exist elsewhere in the world? Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t. Anywhere.” Actually, I think what you’re referring to is called a “private road,” which is “a road owned and maintained by a private individual, organization, or company rather than by a government.” According to Wikipedia, there are about 40,000 private roads in England and Wales alone.

    So yea, there’s that.

  4. mdgeorge Says:

    Tilly, you are doing something unusual, which is to take things out of context in order to argue for them.

    Point 1: Yes, it is indisputable that the debt rating went from AAA to AA during Obama’s presidency. The obvious part of the argument that you’re ignoring is the implicit “…because of Obama’s policies”. If you really believe that wasn’t an argument that Ryan was making, then you didn’t watch the speech.

    Point 2: Likewise, this statement is completely accurate but only if you ignore the content and clearly implied “…because of Obama’s policies”.

    Point 3: The cost reductions came from reducing subsidies to insurance companies (Medicare Advantage) and from negotiated reduction in payment to hospitals to treat the uninsured. That’s not “raiding”, that’s “reducing waste” (of “waste, fraud and abuse” fame).

    Moreover, Ryan included the exact same savings in his budget.

    As to point 4, I suspect your 40,000 roads are things like driveways and small roads within complexes, as opposed to things like municipal roads and interstates that are shared by multiple parties and enable commerce. But I could be wrong.

  5. Tillyosu Says:

    Oh that’s interesting. So I guess we can ignore what Ryan actually said, and consider only what he implied (whatever we take that to mean), in order to call him a liar. That totally makes sense.

  6. mdgeorge Says:

    I agree that putting words in others’ mouths is a bad idea in general. But are you really arguing that Paul Ryan was not talking about Obama’s policies?

  7. Tillyosu Says:

    I think he was talking about Obama’s policies, his lack of leadership, his false promises…it just depends which part of the speech you’re referring to.

    But the bigger issue here, for me, is the use of “fact checks” as political cudgels employed for partisan reasons. I think the media in general got a lot of deserved criticism last week for its use of “facts checks” following the Ryan speech (Glenn Kessler is a notable example, though he’s much better at fudging around the edges than Ms. Kohn). But it is particularly shameless when the author uses outright falsehoods to construct their fact check – especially when the falsehoods are so easily disproved simply by looking at the transcript. I suspect that Justin didn’t take the time to read the transcript to check the veracity of Ms. Kohn’s claims. I further suspect he neglected to do so so that he could further the left’s “Ryan-is-a-LIAR” talking point of the week.

  8. Chris Says:

    Tilly you really can’t be that dense as to think that Ryan wasn’t implying to his low-information voters that it was Obama’s fault for all of those things?

    Really?

  9. Tillyosu Says:

    I guess you’re right Chris. After all, he was speaking to a hall full of stupid Republicans. Or was he?:

    “The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.

    “Republicans fare substantially better than Democrats on several questions in the survey, as is typically the case in surveys about political knowledge,””

    But…I’m sure you already knew that, since you’re such a “high information” voter.

  10. cranky critter Says:

    Tilly, I totally see your point that Ryan’s statement contains not a single falsehood.

    And I totally see the other point, which is that he phrased it in a way which invites the audience to make an inference about causality. This is a natural byproduct of politicians being weasels who are skilled at juxtaposing little bits of factual information and leaving out other relevant bits.

    Very few people remember exact phrasing. Politicians know this, and they leverage it all the time. Ryan’s goal was to make people see Obama in the least favorable light possible.

    That means our only defense as audience members is to listen carefully, and provide full context when it gets left out, because it will always get left out if that’s politically useful.

    Ryan didn’t lie. Lots of politicians mislead and invite erroneous conclusions by being weasels. IMO it’s sort of a waste of time to “fact check” if it leads to some sort of rating, and focuses on scolding some personality. Instead, they should just analyze parts of a speech, and then say what the whole known truth is, by accounting for the details that were selectively left out.

  11. Chris Says:

    Tilly that survey is pretty fluffy and doesn’t really prove what you’re trying to say it does.

  12. David P. Summers Says:

    Ryan didn’t lie. Lots of politicians mislead and invite erroneous conclusions by being weasels. IMO it’s sort of a waste of time to “fact check” if it leads to some sort of rating, and focuses on scolding some personality. Instead, they should just analyze parts of a speech, and then say what the whole known truth is, by accounting for the details that were selectively left out.

    This is, IMO, one place where they are going wrong. They have gotten caught up in the conflation of opinion (or “analysis”) and fact. And have done so inconsistently. I’ve seen fact checks of comments that called them true because the facts were literally true, while others call them false because their interpretation of the over-all point. The whole “true”/”false” thing was probably a mistake. In the Janesville plant closing, they stopped the SUV line the month before Obama took office and stopped a truck line after he took office (and had the plant on “standby” after that). So when it “closes” is open to interpretation (as it the issue of whether Obama’s tauted government action could have saved it).

    I agree that it might be better to, rather than rule things on how true they are, simply summarize the key points on how interpretation differ and allow the reader to decide.

  13. Angela Says:

    I agree with Mr. Summers and Cranky. If analysis of a speech is to be done, then provide all the information and let the audience decide. I’ve said this before, politics has become, for many, an emotional cause. Thus, many journalists have lost their ability to separate their personal feelings from what should be intelligent, thoughtful analysis.

    If there be a single reason why I don’t vote for Romney, it will be because he has spent way too much time pointing the finger and blaming, and not enough time talking about, in some detail, his solutions.

    I believe there are a lot of Americans who are just like me. They neither claim to be republican, nor democrat, but fall into a more moderate political category. I also believe that many of us are silent and our hand is forced, at election time, to vote for right or left, because there really isn’t anyone out there to represent us.

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