What to read this week: Sept. 2

Here is a collection of articles that I read and liked this week:

Paul Ryan – The liar, exaggerator extraordinaire

If one fact about the Romney-Ryan ticket was made clear this week during the Republican National Convention, it’s that the two candidates aren’t afraid to lie. Now I know that politicians from both sides stretch the truth, but to the extent that Rep. Paul Ryan did during his vice presidential acceptance speech might be unprecedented. Both of these articles document his lies:

“Facts Take a Beating in Acceptance Speeches” by Michael Cooper – The New York Times

“Ryan’s VP Spin” – FactCheck.org

Even more disturbing seems to be Ryan’s willingness to tell small, meaningless lies, like he told during an interview with Runner’s World Magazine. He told the magazine that he ran a marathon in two hours and 50 minutes–a very impressive feat. Unfortunately, it took him more than four hours to finish the only marathon he ever ran. I’m OK with this lie since under “Ryan time,” I can tell conservatives that I ran my three hour and 45 minute marathon in two hours and 30 minutes.

But what does this mean for the campaign? Well, it isn’t Kim Jong Il-world’s-greatest-golfer disturbing, but it’s not too far off. Joan Walsh nails Ryan’s free reign under the media.

“Paul Ryan’s Marathon Lie” by Joan Walsh – Salon

Last week, Ryan also mentioned that he’s a huge Rage Against the Machine fan (who isn’t?!). Unfortunately, their music doesn’t exactly fit his politics. Group leader and guitarist Tom Morello let him know:

“Paul Ryan Is the Embodiment of the Machine Our Music Rages Against” by Tom Morello – Rolling Stone

Republicans and Race

Talk to a Republican and bring up race and he or she will flip. “Why do you have to bring race into this?” “You guys always bring up race.” “I have black friends.” “Marco Rubio is my favorite senator.” But it’s obvious that Romney is running a campaign meant to tap into the base of the Republican Party–lower-middle to middle class white men.

Generally, I don’t believe Republicans are purposely racist or even know that they are racist or harbor racist tendencies. (Even though some from the GOP base did throw peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman saying, “This is how we feed the animals” or chant “USA! USA!” when a Puerto Rican Republican woman started speaking.) But I do believe that white, middle class men do feel a certain, albeit it understandable, anxiety about their place in the United States today. They are becoming a minority.

Tapping into this anxiety is what Romney hopes to accomplish with his disproved claim that President Obama is gutting welfare reform. This superb analysis by Ron Fournier, a former Associated Press Washington bureau chief, explains why this Romney tactic is “playing the race card”:

“Why (and How) Romney is Playing the Race Card” by Ron Fournier – The National Journal

Exciting Links

PressThink by Jay Rosen

Rosen is a professor of journalism at New York University and media critic. I found Fournier’s story about race through Rosen’s post “#pushback.”

Rosen doesn’t waste his time or the reader’s time with talk about the “liberal media” or the “conservative media.” He just writes and explains what he sees out there.

Start with the “About” section in which he explains what “PressThink” means.

Read “#pushback,” which is about the GOP’s dismissal of the fact-checking news media.

Then read “‘You’re not entitled to your own facts’ vs. That’s your opinion. Kiss my ad.” It’s an amazing take on what “facts” mean in today’s political landscape.

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