In a blog-driven world, truth is the first casualty

President Barack Obama‘s decision to release more information about his birthright than any elected leader in U.S. history speaks volumes about the out -of control conspiracy-driven culture that now drives American politics.

President Barack Obama walks across the tarmac in a light drizzle as he boards Air Force One in Chicago, Wednesday, April 27, 2011 to travel to New York City for campaign fundraising events. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“There are no more arbiters of truth,” former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tells Politico.Com. “So whatever you can prove factually, somebody else can find something else point to it with enough ferocity to get people to believe it. We’ve crossed some Rubicon into the unknown.”

Presidents have longed been dogged by unproven and often outlandish rumors but the blog-driven news cycle today puts undocumented speculation into the public debate with much greater speed and polls show an often-ignorant electorate buys into the falsehoods with little regard for truth.

The lunatic fringe accused Bill Clinton of plotting to murder White House aide Vince Foster — who committed suicide. George W. Bush, the same fringe claimed, was complicit in the terrorism attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Facts don’t matter to the conspiracy theorists. They are driven by hate, political agendas and — in the Obama birth certificate case — thinly-veiled racism.

Reports Jonathan Martin and John F. Harris of Politico:

It’s hard to imagine Bill Clinton coming out to the White House briefing room to present evidence showing why people who thought he helped plot the murder of aide Vincent Foster—never mind official rulings of suicide—were wrong. George W. Bush, likewise, was never tempted to take to the Rose Garden to deny allegations from voices on the liberal fringe who believed that he knew about the pending September 11, 2001 attacks ahead of time and chose to let them happen.

Obama did something like the equivalent of this, by releasing complete documentation from his Hawaii birth and then making a sober West Wing appearance to explain himself.

He did so, senior Obama advisers say, because of the radical reordering of the political-media universe over the past 15 years or so. The decline of traditional media and the rise of viral emails and partisan Web and cable TV platforms has meant the near-collapse of common facts, believed across the political spectrum.

It did not matter that the notion that Obama was born overseas (and thus constitutionally ineligible for the presidency) had been debunked by news organizations. Polls showed a startling percentage of Americans either still believed the myth or harbored uncertainty.

Truth no longer matters in a partisan era where most news is delivered with a slant and where unproven opinion replaces fact.

And it will probably get worse.

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7 Responses to "In a blog-driven world, truth is the first casualty"

  1. Almandine  April 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

    It seems, as we have all noted at one time or another, that the chickens are coming home to roost with regard to politicians and their believability. As the saying goes, ” you know they’re lying because their lips are moving.”

    In the current situation we have “President Transparency” who has finally found it necessary to become so on at least one point, although most else in his past remains hidden. If his political maneuverings and governing statements that have become bald-faced lies are any indication, not to mention his penchant for obfuscating the basis of much of what he does, any resultant disbelief must be entertained, if not applauded.

    Given a lack of of solid information, speculation will fill the void.

  2. Michael Griffith aka Griff  April 28, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Ha! That’s rich. The White House Press Secretary lecturing us on truth? What the hell planet did I wake up on this morning?

    I repeat…The White House Press Secretary lecturing us on truth?

    Pleeeaaassse.

  3. Marcel  April 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

    And who is the person that held back the certificate and caused all the speculation? If that person thought it a waste of valuable time, then that person should have revealed it 2-1/2 years ago. Maybe that person was the one trying to avert attention from other important matters? Now that’s truth!

  4. Carl Nemo  April 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    “Facts don’t matter to the conspiracy theorists. They are driven by hate, political agendas and — in the Obama birth certificate case — thinly-veiled racism.” …extract from article

    Facts…what ‘facts’ ?! When it comes to politics, religion and government there’s very little based on facts. Only science supported by valid, proven experiments and mathematical treatises can be anywhere close to what is perceived to be facts or the ‘truth’.

    None of us know anything for sure when it comes to human interactivity and generally only through our interface with those close to us. They’ll either be straight and dependable or biased towards treachery and lies.

    So to characterize all so-called “conspiracy theorists” as driven by hate, political agendas ranging from thinly manifested to possibly overt racism is disingenuous. Did it ever occur to you that there are people simply seeking the truth or something close to it when it comes to their government and the crimpols that ascend to high office? / : |

    Maybe I’m blessed, but I’ve never had a fingernail parings worth of hate towards anyone in my entire life. Maybe I’m a hazard to myself because I don’t have a vestige of such in my heart nor could afford the luxury of such in my career.

    I’ve noticed in your site editorials over time you seem to cling to words like hate, racism etc. in your article content. Questioning this President’s origin of birth isn’t un-American or entirely supported by folks which you characterize as such in this article. Believe it! You’ve maybe heard it here first, but not last.

    *****

    “Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.” …Albert Einstein

    *****
    Carl Nemo **==

    • Almandine  April 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      Nicely done, Carl… one man’s conspiracy is another’s truth. As for the purveyors, I agree with your suggestion of “regular” folks gone somewhat ballistic over the lack of investigative energy presented by MSM. Unfortunately, that mainstream crap appears to be erupting everywhere.

      Glad your nap’s over.

  5. Sandune  April 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

    We all look at reality with different eyes. I saw 9/11 as an example of lazy leadership and a chance to bring about a war in Iraq. Few others saw this and I was in trouble on many sites. The Commission Report has so many holes in it that it became less doubt in my mind that we were set up by the start of a religious war. I came to my senses and realized we elect men of little character and lots of vibrato. Until the voters do some research, we will slowly sink into disrepair watching our world collapse and our people in prison.

    The new “War on Abortions” is in the planning and it will be tied to Terrorism.

    • Carl Nemo  April 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      Good thoughts Sandune concerning our national state of affairs… : )

      Seemingly seeking truth in these end times for the Republic is equated to people being ‘haters, racists, and no doubt terrorists’ too in spades; I.E. enemies of the state!

      *****

      “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” …Josef Goebbels

      *****

      Carl Nemo **==

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