Hold on tight, America is now in an era of “post-truth.”
What started with Mitt Romney attacking President Obama over some perceived failing and then repeating the claim despite being proven wrong anyway, continues through to the present day. Last week in Arkansas, Rep. Tom Cotton displayed this tendency when he was caught in one of the most brazen lies of the 2014 campaign season.
Cotton had previously claimed that he voted against this year’s Farm Bill because President Obama “hijacked” it, and turned it “into a food-stamp bill.” He also said that it added “billions more in spending.”
Naturally, none of that is true. Fact-checkers called him out, and, unsurprisingly, Cotton did not care. As Peter Urban reported yesterday:
Rejecting criticism of its latest TV ad, Republican Senate hopeful Tom Cotton plans to keep running the “Farm Bill” message beyond its current ad buy.“We’ve gotten such great feedback from farmers, taxpayers, and supporters that we’re actually going to increase the size of the ad buy,” said David Ray, a spokesman for the Cotton campaign.
Cotton embraced the lie, saying that he was “proud” of his dishonest commercial, adding that the fact-checkers didn’t spend time “growing up on a farm,” and because he did, he knows “a little bit more about farming than they do.”
Naturally, this defense is utter garbage. Growing up on a farm does not — or should not, anyway — divorce someone from the basic tenets of reality. He lied, he knew it was a lie, and the public knew it was a lie. And instead of owning up to it, he decided he likes his new reality and held fast, accusing the other side of being wrong.
This is where we’re at right now in America as far as public discourse is concerned: post-truth. He, and others like him, think that they can say what they please without regards for honesty or truth since there are no meaningful consequences for deceiving the public on purpose.
And while we know how well it worked out for Romney, Cotton is in a better position to win in Arkansas. And if he does, what kind of precedence are we as voters reinforcing?
h/t MSNBC, image from the National Review