Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top PolitiFact reads reveal talk radio corrosive presence

Interesting that among the five most read Wisconsin Politifact analyses this year is a "false" rating for national blowhard Rush Limbaugh praising Scott Walker with bad jobless data and a "pants on fire" rating - - the only one on this top five list - - earned by US Senator and frequently fact-challenged Ron Johnson for an even worse claim.

Johnson sounded like one of those angry anonymous blog commenters when he falsely claimed that one of every four dollars spent in large federal programs heavily used by low-income citizens was lost to fraud: 

Speaking at a "pints and politics" gathering in January, Johnson said the average rate of fraud in the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps programs "is 20 to 25 percent."   
Improper payment rates are in the 20 to 25 percent range in the tax credit program -- but are 10 percent or less in the other three programs. So, even the average among the four programs would be far less than what Johnson claimed. More importantly, those are error rates; there are no figures on the rate of fraud, which is believed to be a small component of errors.
That kind of blather is typical Tea Party-tinged, anti-government talk radio propaganda, where hosts, guests and callers can toss out all sorts of wild claims into the ether with any challenge screened out.

Johnson - - who'd said the Senate would benefit from his private sector management and accounting skills - - has massacred the facts about government programs before.

Remember his false and doubled-down claim that then-incumbent Senator Russ Feingold was lying about his support for giving illegal immigrants Social Security benefits?

Also rated "false" by PolitiFact:

Johnson has pounded away at the issue in a radio ad, automated phone calls and on his website. In the Oct. 11, 2010 debate, Feingold answered Johnson’s charge flatly: "Well, of course I don’t support Social Security benefits for undocumented people. That’s just absolutely false."
Now, Johnson is denying Feingold’s denial, charging in a news release the three-term senator is lying about his own record.
Right-wing talk radio masquerading as news programming is heavily responsible for the ubiquitous distortion and disinformation served up for partisan and power-protecting  purposes to activate low-information, resentful voters.

Little wonder that Johnson is a regular on these shows in Wisconsin, as is Walker, where guests and their hosts who worship and imitate Limbaugh give the audience all the wrong stuff: ideology, bile and myth.


Jake formerly of the LP said...

Here's another example- 3/4 of those polled by Bloomberg do not believe the deficit has been lowered under Obama. This is a mathematical FACT that is not believed because of constant media lies.

Time to play hardball- we need to create a lawsuit factory like the one Sleaz-enberg works for, and drop the bomb on any station or politician that blatantly lies over the air. Since our media is filled with Chuck Todd's who won't do their job and call these lies out,it is time to hit them in the pocketbook.

The only thing worse for democracy than low-info voters are mis-info voters.

Anonymous said...

Jake formerly of the LP -
I agree 100% with everything you said. I am so fed up with people lying at the drop of a hat. Where are the morals we all grew up with. Why do people think it is the right thing to do to lie about anything and everything just to make it sound as if you are right? I firmly believe in freedom of speech, but not freedom to lie nonstop just because you can.

Anonymous said...

"If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed." A.H.