If it isn’t too painful, try to remember the 2000 presidential campaign for a moment. If you can do that, you might remember that Al Gore was persistently called a “serial liar” in the mainstream press.
Bob Somerby has a good background article on how that happened. According to Somerby, the “serial liar” meme that was built around allegations that Gore claimed to have invented the Internet or was the inspiration for “Love Story” originated in an editorial in the New York Post, the same rag that more recently went overboard churning up dirt on OWS. And as we all witnessed, the bobbleheads picked up each alleged example of the Vice President’s lies, and repeated them over and over, even after the alleged example was debunked.
What was especially pathetic, as Somerby points out, was that the so-called lies were all about trivial matters that had little to do with Gore’s policy proposals. They were just bits of trivia taken out of context, distorted beyond recognition, and then repeated endlessly by every “pundit” or reporter covering politics.
Meanwhile, George W. Bush could make claims about his economic proposals that were false on their face, and the mainstream media (except for the New York Times‘s new economics columnist Paul Krugman) said not a word. And as I remember, Krugman complained later that his editors wouldn’t allow him to say that Bush was lying.
These days there should be headlines when a Republican tells the truth, since it’s such a rare occurrence. But Steve Benen points out today that a large part of Mitt Romney’s campaign shtick amounts to repeating long-debunked lies about President Obama. So can we all call Mittens a “serial liar” now?