Watching the watchmen: Fact-checkers missing the mark on Ryan, GOP

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

In Latin, this means ‘Who watches the watchmen?’ and as media evolves, fact-checkers become more popular,and frankly, more important, this question has to be asked.

For most of the last 10 years, the only person who ‘watched the watchmen,’ was Jon Stewart, or at least he was the only person of consequence.

Conservative media outlets like Breitbart have taken the torch to some degree and now we have Politifact, among a sea of fact-checkers as CNN and other news organizations have decided (gasp) to do their jobs.

In other words, there are entities out there now who pay attention to what the media says, pay attention to how they cover politics and how politicians attempt to contort themselves in the media.

But that doesn’t mean they always get it right, particularly when you’re talking about liberal hacks who don’t care much for facts.

There’s an inherent conflict when you’re a fact-checker, but also incapable of discerning what characterizes a fact.

And the left is so horrified that Paul Ryan could help Mitt Romney win this election, they will say anything, no matter how ridiculous and stupid – not to mention patently false – to undercut Ryan’s credibility.

Apparently, we still haven’t solved this, “You didn’t build that,” beef.

The lefty media says the conservatives have taken the president’s words out of context, while the GOP (and most of America) thinks the president accidentally said what he really meant.

But, I guess, only a Republican can do that, given that the media tarred and feathered Todd Aiken for saying something he claims he didn’t mean under the identical premise that he probably really did mean what he said.

Even more importantly though, if the President really was only talking about building infrastructure (which I find to be unlikely), that makes his statements even more incoherent.

So a small business doesn’t get to be successful because it didn’t build the roads and bridges it uses to transport its goods or bring its customers? That’s literally one of the most unintelligible political statements in my lifetime, and I lived through Dan Quayle.

More to the point, this argument is simply and patently false. Small business did build that. You know how federal contracting works?

The U.S. Government gives money to the states for infrastructure projects. The states’ DOT, for example, will work with local communities to come up with projects, design them and construct them.

But do you know who doesn’t build the roads? The government.

Local government contracts with private businesses to pave the roads, install the curbs and gutters etc.

Did you catch that? Small businesses, in many cases, literally do build that. Furthermore, you know who pays them? The government. You know who pays the government? US!

It’s as if liberals forget that the government draws not only its power from the people, but its funding as well. For our president to discredit the hard work and sacrifice done by small business owners and entrepreneurs to say they didn’t pay for something or build something they actually did build in addition to their small business is insulting.

Paul Ryan said it best in his speech last night:

“Behind every small business there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our cities, all the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, these didn’t come out of nowhere. A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small business people say they made it on their own, all they’re saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place. Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning. Nobody did their thinking and worrying and sweating for them.  After all that work and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear their president say that the government gets the credit.”

This is exactly the issue the GOP is raising. So, when Jon Stewart loses his shit over the Republicans “taking the president’s remarks out of context,” he’s just plain wrong both in principle and in practice.

Even Politifact can’t get it right when it comes to Paul Ryan, and the issue came up again last night because Ryan told his pet Janesville GM anecdote, causing a firestorm of twitter criticism (I find it hilariously ironic that GQ insists on making its left-leaning politics known when the only people who can afford the $3,000 coats or $20,000 watches in their magazines are not writing checks to the DNC).

Their claim, which was then repeated yesterday, that Ryan’s story about president Obama being to blame for a GM plant closing in Janesville should receive it’s own ‘Pants on Fire’ rating.

Ryan never claimed it was the president’s fault the plant closed. What he did claim, and he doubled-down on it last night, was that then-Candidate Obama promised that plant would stay open “another hundred years,” despite the fact it was already set to be closed. In fact, Ryan specifically mentioned that the plant was already set to be close when Candidate Obama made that promise.

Candidate Obama said that, despite the plans already in place to close it. Whether Candidate Obama knew that or not is a question, but it doesn’t matter, he said it.

Ryan uses the anecdote to illustrate the slew of broken promises, particularly economic ones, made by this administration. He wasn’t blaming the president for the plant being closed as the left has tried to accuse (accusations Maddow, Schultz, and Sharpton reiterated in attempting to berate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker last night)

It could end being a stroke of genius that Ryan included this anecdote again, because it’s given powerful figures like Scott Walker the opportunity to successfully defend the claim against the three-headed monster of liberal hacks at MSNBC, as well as given journalists who care about facts (there are a few) a chance to defend his claim.

There’s nothing inaccurate about what Ryan claims, but rather with the erroneous inference Politifact and others make that Ryan is somehow blaming Obama for the plant closing. They’re inferring something that was not implied.

Quite the contrary. Ryan is blaming Obama for failing to keep a promise. For failing to be accountable.

I guess I shouldn’t have expected the mainstream media to understand what that means.

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