Prologue—The press corps' novel: As it turns out, Paul Ryan is the person the press corps invented in 1999.

At the time, they called him “Al Gore!”

At the time, the mainstream press corps was in Year 7 of a very dumb serial novel. In this amazingly stupid novel, major Democrats were cast as Big Liars (“just like Bill Clinton”).

People who opposed those Democrats were cast as The World’s Most Honest Men. So was any major figure who posed as a “budget hawk.”

The press corps has been typing this novel for the past twenty years. By the rules of their stupid game, Paul Ryan was the world’s most recent Most Honest Man, even though the things he said never made any real sense.

As recently as last year, even “liberals” like Ezra Klein were playing this game of behalf of bold honest truthful Paul Ryan. But in the last week, the truth about Ryan emerged with such force that even the press corps took notice.

For one thing, Ryan told a series of ridiculous whoppers in his convention address. And uh-oh! Just a few days earlier, he had told a ridiculous whopper in a radio interview.

Smart truth-telling honest Paul Ryan spoke with conservative hack Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt asked him about his vast greatness.

Ryan began to expound:
HEWITT (8/22/12): Hey, in high school, what did you do in high school? Were you a speech and debate guy? Were you a bandie? What were you?

RYAN: No, I was student government and athletics, honor society, you know, that kind of thing. I was kind of a combination. I was class president my junior year, I was the school board rep my senior year. I lettered in varsity, you know, my first year in high school, mostly soccer and track. I was a distance runner and a soccer player. So kind of well-rounded.

I can’t—I can play a cowbell. That’s about it for instruments.
I was “kind of well-rounded,” Ryan modestly said. But Hewitt wanted more.

“Are you still running?” the gentleman asked. And just like that, The World’s Most Honest Man emitted his latest whopper:
HEWITT (continuing directly): Are you still running?

RYAN: Yeah, I hurt a disc in my back, so I don’t run marathons anymore. I just run ten miles or less.

HEWITT: But you did run marathons at some point?

RYAN: Yeah, but I can’t do it anymore, because my back is just not that great.

HEWITT: I’ve just gotta ask, what’s your personal best?

RYAN: Under three, high twos. I had a two hours and fifty-something.

HEWITT: Holy smokes! All right, now you go down to Miami University—

RYAN: I was fast when I was younger, yeah.
“I just run ten miles or less,” Ryan modestly said. But uh-oh!

Hewitt didn’t leave well enough alone. He asked for Ryan’s best marathon time—and Ryan issued his latest whopper, as you can see above.

Modestly saying how fast he once was, Ryan uttered his latest weird misstatement, concerning his very best time.

Absent his history and his status, Ryan’s latest weird misstatement would just be a weird misstatement. But as Paul Krugman notes in this morning’s column, Ryan has been making weird misstatements about budget matters for a very long time.

And not only that! Krugman omits this from his column, but Ryan’s misstatement to Hewitt came just a few days before the series of weird misstatements around which he built his convention address. How strange! The press corps’ latest Most Honest Man keeps making weird misstatements!

In fact, there's nothing new about this peculiar conduct by Ryan. For the past twenty years, the press corps has invented a string of Most Honest Men:

Paul Tsongas, Bill Bradley, Saint John McCain? All were pronounced The Most Honest Man—and all were soon issuing gruesome and weird misstatements.

Colin Powell was The World's Most Honest Man too. After that, he made that peculiar presentation at the UN! (When the time came, the ferocious Maddow knew that she mustn't ask why!)

During these horrible years, the press corps invented a string of The World's Most Honest Men. At the same time, the corps was also inventing a series of The World’s Biggest Liars. In 1999 and 2000, they pretended that Gore was a Big Major Liar. They invented a series of ludicrous statements, then pretended that Gore had made them.

But how odd! As it turns out, Paul Ryan’s the person the press corps invented and gave the name “Al Gore!”

We’ve mentioned one omission from Krugman’s informative column. Presumably for reasons of space, Krugman failed to mention the series of whoppers in Ryan’s convention address.

But Krugman omitted a second point about Ryan’s whoppers. He failed to mention the role the press corps has played in this misadventure—the role his colleagues have played in inventing the myth of Paul Ryan.

In the highlighted passage, Krugman makes a perfectly accurate statement. He also leaves something out:
KRUGMAN (9/3/12): Obviously nobody cares how fast Mr. Ryan can run, and even his strange marathon misstatement wouldn’t be worth talking about in isolation. What makes this incident so striking is, instead, the way it resonates with the essential Rosie-Ruizness of Mr. Ryan’s whole political persona, which is built around big boasts about accomplishments he hasn’t accomplished.

For Mr. Ryan, as you may recall, has positioned himself as an icon of truth-telling and fiscal responsibility, while offering policy proposals that are neither honest nor responsible.
Krugman is right in what he says. Without question, Ryan has “positioned himself as an icon of truth-telling.”

But uh-oh! Perhaps for reasons of space, Krugman fails to say that the mainstream press corps has “positioned” Ryan the very same way! Ryan couldn’t have “positioned himself” without the help of a lapdog press—without the help of liberal strivers like the aforementioned Klein.

Once again, the larger story:

For twenty years, the press has been writing a serial novel—a novel so dumb that Ayn Rand would have liked it.

In their novel, some major pols were Big Major Liars. Others were Most Honest Men.

All the liars have been big Democrats. In 1999, the press corps produced its greatest confection, it string of fake claims about Gore.

Joan and David and Jonathan let them. George Bush went to the White House.

Thirteen years later, the truth has emerged. In reality, Paul Ryan is the person the press corps invented under the name of “Al Gore!”

All week long, we’ll help you relive the history of that serial novel—the novel in which Gore was cast as The World’s Biggest Liar and Ryan was cast as The Most Honest Man. Krugman omitted this theme this morning, and make no mistake: This is a story your liberal heroes will work very hard not to tell.

For twenty years, the liberal world slept in the woods while this stupid novel was written. Career liberals allowed Al Gore to be slandered. Even worse, some of them played leading roles in the war which sent Bush to the White House.

Career liberals also agreed to pretend that John McCain was The Most Honest Man. As recently as last year, careerist climbers were still pimping this theme on behalf of Bold Honest Paul Ryan.

Joan and David played this game; we will recall their story all week. People are dead all over the world because of the game these liberals have played.

This story explains how lyin’ Paul Ryan came to be known as The Most Honest Man. Krugman omitted this story today.

Will this truth ever be told?

Tomorrow: What Fineman said


  1. The litmus test for honesty among such creatures is the willingness to cut Social Security and Medicare. Anyone who proposes it is instantaneously an honest man, as long as they have no other heavy baggage.

    I wonder who will replace Lyin' Ryan as the recipient of Beltway puffery. Chris Christie looks like a safe bet for now, but Krugman has been laying in to him for awhile, and I suspect the Beltway types are tired of being on the wrong end of Krugman's justifiable "I told you soes." Bobby Jindal is a dark horse candidate, as he's relatively unknown, but he looks funny, like Don Knotts after spraying on too much fake tan, and he looks kind of wimpy as well -- the Beltway types seem to like manly men.

    Anyway, there's going to be someone, unless they are going to, finally, abandon that narrative in favor of something else, in which case, I wonder what the new narrative will be. If I had to guess on a new narrative, it would be one where the "honest Republican" is the guy who is willing to "take on" the far right of the Republican Party, pretending that there is anything other than a far right in today's Republican Party. It allows the Beltway to pretend to challenge the precept of right wing extremism, while continuing in their role of actually cheering it on. Postmodern journalism + wads of cash = what we see now.

  2. I'm sure the Koch brothers will inform their servants in the press of which Republican will be anointed as the new Last Honest Man (with his sidekick: BiPartisan Guy)

  3. i appreciate somerbys, krugmans and the other commenters takes and i dont disagree with their theories in general, but this is big time -- not your ordinary media character generation. there is so much money on the table and then there is the, i forget the proper word, but a kind of a genocide involved with the ryan proposed austerity measures.

    from a couple weeks ago here:

    lachrymose August 15, 2012 2:06 PM

    “Do commentators “want to tell a story about US politics that makes them feel and look good?[krugman]” Or could the story be somewhat simpler? Are they simply bending to the rise of conservative power in Washington, as they did when they spent a decade sermonizing both Clintons, then Gore?” - b. somerby

    >>> somerby correctly questions krugmans analysis. although quite interesting as a general theory, its lacking here.

    as somerby suggests, the media have been over the years bowing to the rise of the radical right. but specifically with regard to paul ryan, the media moneyed interests and the moneyed interests generally found a way that they could avoid getting hurt too bad in the eyes of the american public now or in the history books. 'we' americans with an irish-catholic heritage -- as though we are a coherent social group -- will shoulder the blame, largely deflecting it away from the true malefactors.

    the perennial american scapegoat, another american with an irish-catholic heritage in the person of paul ryan*, was found to take the blame for the austerity measures, should they come to pass. ryan takes his place among the great gop/new-left tools like reagan and mccarthy.

    *like reagan and mccarthy before him, the ryan ethnic heritage is only half irish-catholic.

  4. The Real Unknown Confused Idiot GregSeptember 3, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    "Will this truth ever be told?"

    Only here.

    And even you should just shut up about it!

    "All week long?!?!?"

    No no no no. Shut up shut up shut up.

    1. lowercaseguys casemanagerSeptember 3, 2012 at 6:41 PM

      also, it's all being blamed on the catholics!!!!!!

      No, there's no evidence "people" are widely blaming "Americans with an Irish-Catholic heritage" for the parlous state of the country. (But some lowercase guys just don't care much about "evidence"...)

      (You just CAN'T make them up!)

    2. “also, it's all being blamed on the catholics!!!!!!”

      >>> heres my response to a similar reply, which i took to be meant sarcastically, noting that reagan himself was protestant . . . from the same August 15 howler column i referenced before:

      lachrymoseAugust 15, 2012 4:21 PM

      yes reagan was protestant, not catholic by religion. but his father was of irish-catholic heritage, hence the perceived inherited irish-catholic heritage of ronald reagan.

      the term 'irish-catholic' is commonly used to indicate a particular *ethnicity* as it is the common wisdom that irish-protestant is different ethnically, not just religiously.

      [actually the the latest gene-based research shows that not only are the irish orange and green identical genetically, so are the welsh and scots. and also the english who only show a minimal legacy from the germanic invasions 6% and roman occupation (2%). see “Saxons, Vikings and Celts: the Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland” by Bryan Sykes or “Origins of the British” by Stephen Oppenheimer.]

    3. and i wasnt talking about catholics generically but rather specifically about americans of irish-catholic heritage. the religion here is mainly an identifier of a perceived ethnicity.

    4. "No, there's no evidence "people" are widely blaming "Americans with an Irish-Catholic heritage" for the parlous state of the country."

      >>> again from the august 15 column in response to a similar reply:

      lachrymose August 15, 2012 4:32 PM
      "...[reagan]who is generally blamed for messing everything up..."

      >>> i assume youre being sarcastic here. but do you ever tune in to progressive radio and their callers-in? two which come to mind which ive heard are the thomas hartmann and norman goldman shows.

      >>> and to clarify my first comment then (and today), i added:

      lachrymose August 15, 2012 7:28 PM

      [ . . . ]

      the reason i include the new left or cultural left here is because i see them as an effective long-term extension of the rightwing in america.

    5. and just in case you somehow think i am greg, im not.

    6. Excuse me, real, unknown and confused. But it seems Greg hasn't commented on this thread today.

      You still hearing those voices in your head? Or is the only way you can "win" a debate is to argue with someone not here?

    7. Excuse me, but if you are you here to agree with the insane person that it's all being blamed on the "perennial american scapegoat, another american with an irish-catholic heritage" just man up and say, "Yes, I am just as crazy as lowercase guy!"

      No apologies today for lumping all my lunatics into one barrel, champ. Go cry to your mother.

  5. If the honesty of the nominee for vice president is the issue of the day, let's recall good times:

    Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued a formal statement today acknowledging that he had misstated several facts about his past last April in a campaign appearance in New Hampshire.

    But the Delaware Democrat insisted today, as he had Sunday night in an interview with The New York Times, that some of the disputed statements were true and that his misstatements were the product of a faulty memory and the fact that he lost his temper.

    . . .

    The tape, which was made available by C-SPAN in response to a reporter's request, showed a testy exchange in response to a question about his law school record from a man identified only as ''Frank.'' Mr. Biden looked at his questioner and said: ''I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do.''
    . . .

    In his statement today, Mr. Biden, who attended the Syracuse College of Law and graduated 76th in a class of 85, acknowledged: ''I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school and my recollection of this was inacurate.''

    1. And here is how the game is played folks.

      Paul Ryan can lie his bee-hind off, and nobody can call him on it because Biden admitted he told some fibs.

      25 years ago.

    2. "and nobody can call him on it ..."

      Who said that?

      Please call Ryan on it.

      And also please call Biden on it.

    3. Biden was already "called" on it. He was forced to drop out of the 1988 Dem presidential primary for it, a primary in which he was one of the clear favorites at that point, along with Dukakis. So the idea (implied by the original post) that he somehow got a pass for his dishonesty is absurd, if you actually know what happened, or had the interest and/or intellectual honesty to actually look it up. More false equivalence.

  6. Give it a rest, Bob.

    Krugman has an 800-word bucket to fill at The Times. You spent 1288 words criticizing him for not saying more.


    1. To iterate:
      "For twenty years, the liberal world slept in the woods while this stupid novel was written. Career liberals allowed Al Gore to be slandered. Even worse, some of them played leading roles in the war which sent Bush to the White House."
      "People are dead all over the world because of the game these liberals have played."
      At some point "the liberal world" needs to be roused from their golden slumbers, find their balls, and start raising Cain.
      Do you really want a Romney/Ryan administration? That prospect, to me, is appalling.

      Horace Feathers

    2. Well, here is what has always bothered me about this particular Somerby meme.

      Somerby blames it all on "career liberals" who "allowed" this to happen. Not the people who were actually slandering Gore. But these "career liberals" who, when he gets down to naming names, includes people like Maureen Dowd and Chris Matthews who are "career liberals" only in Somerby's head.

      And of course, Gore bears no responsibility for defending himself as he chose to take the "high road" and allow himself to be defined by his opponents.

      That defense should have been done by these "career liberals."

    3. The "career liberals" repeated Republican talking points instead of being journalists & they besieged Gore as "having a problem with the truth" whenever he opened his mouth Whatever side you think Dowd & Matthews are on-their crap reinforced RNC spin & their reach is way more than Bob's blog

    4. And what did Gore do about it, other than expect "career liberals" to carry his water for him?

      This is what's wrong with Somerby's "Blame the Media" meme that he's been crying about for lo these many years. Gore chose to take the high road, and in the process he let his opponents define him.

      As I noted in another thread, the mainstream media told far, far worse tales about Bill Clinton, long before he even announced for office and through his entire two terms.

      Yet Clinton defeated a sitting president handily, won re-election after being declared dead two years earlier, and left office with one of the highest approval ratings in history.

  7. Clinton won, therefore the press is irrelevant.

  8. I don't understand what the marathon whopper is?

  9. this is simply as well neat with regard to words and phrases! :)
    great job! Diablo III Gold

    Billig Diablo 3 Gold