Keystone Cops

The press is all a-twitter over the Romney campaign's recent brazen disregard for facts. Mitt lies, and the press stammers, and Mitt lies again. They've discovered that decades of refusing to point out falsehoods in the context of any controversial issue has lead to a situation where one party has decided to simply run against a fictional candidate that they've named after their opponent, and there's nothing they can do about it.

“Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
– Romney pollster Neil Newhouse

Way back in January, the New Your Times cautiously asked Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante? People were stunned and furious that the NYT would even have to ask. We'd all been assuming that they were - if not "truth vigilantes" then at least truth security guards - someone who could maybe blow a whistle or yell loudly when someone tried to sneak something past the public. Oh sure, they were never very good at the job, bumbling, afraid of causing a stir, corrupt, but they were at least ostensibly dedicated to policing the truth. Or so we thought. Turns out, as that op-ed let slip, that they thought their real job title was stenographer, and that pointing out lies was some kind of crazy, taking-the-law-into-your-own-hands kind of thing, which no respectable journalist would do. Controversy! Well, they fooled us.

That was in January 2012, and one of the examples in that still-baffling Vigilante piece was another blatant Romney lie: his "Obama is apologizing for America" nonsense. The press didn't know how to react to that, and so they let him slide. And then they let him slide on many other blatant lies. And now? Well now he and his team have learned that the press is nothing but a way to spread lies (err... factual shortcuts!) for free. And the press is standing their with their mouths open, trying to figure out, as Jay Rosen says, "what to do about the truck that just ran their checkpoint, carrying the brain trust of the Romney campaign, who are inside laughing at how easy it all was."

And it's not like Karl Rove didn't tell you what was coming in 2004's classic:

The aide [Rove] said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

He had you all figured out, didn't he?

Heckofa job, liberal media.