S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, February 06, 2006

FactCheck: selective facts and strategic omissions

It is a puzzlement: When we hear something that does not "ring true," it is very disconcerting because we should be able to trust what our president says. The well-being of the nation, and, indeed, our own well-being depends on his veracity.

The shape of truth can have twists and turns: Outright untruth is one form of lying; distortion of the facts is another; and crazy-making language akin to Orwell's "1984" is a third kind of affront. This post is another in a series focused on the rhetoric (Webster: "insincere or grandiloquent language") of the current administration (see various links to my previous posts).

What fits with the facts: The worldwide web is a rich resource for evaluating the trustworthiness of the current Bush administration's statements of fact and policy, as set forth in the recent State of the Union address. The speech is still insincere, but less grandiloquent that last year's. Following is a sample of what is currently the SOTU "buzz" out there.

The bigger picture: There are outright lies of "commission" and lies of "omission." The American people were led into supporting the invasion of Iraq through the use of both kinds of misstatements. We can look for new clues as to OCP's foreign policy intentions in his speech., from the Annenberg Center at the U. of Penn., did what I had hoped with our current president's State of the Union speech, presenting a very objective check on the facts behind the policy statements. This was the fact-checkers' summary,
We found nothing that was factually incorrect in the President's Jan. 31 State of the Union address to Congress and the nation. However, we did note some selective use of statistics. We also found that Bush omitted some relevant facts that tended to make the state of the union look less rosy than he presented.
No claim of objectivity here: Alternet borrowed liberally from Think Progress to do its own fact check on the president's speech, headlined, "A guide to the truth behind the lies and fabrications in George Bush's State of the Union speech to Congress." It dissects the issues of Hurrican Katrina, energy policy, Iran and tax cuts. In every case with these items the truth has often been manipulated to achieve the ends of avoiding responsibility, maintaining fear or favoring corporations and the rich. There is no visible change this year.
World also affected by words: Alternet carried this Christian Science Monitor (by Tom Regan) scan of foreign reactions to OCP's SOTU speech. It is headlined: "Some believe a change is gonna come but many see the same old ham-fisted militarism." Just as United States citizens have a stake in the truthfulness of OCP, other nations' futures can be dependent on his truthfulness. It is not good for the stability of the world if foreign leaders' heads are set to spinning, as our are, by rhetorical missteps in this administration.
My "creative" post today at Southwest Blogger is about myths.

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