The futility of fact-checking politicians

Thoughtful post by Jack Shafer. Includes this:

You might as well fact-check a sermon as fact-check a campaign speech. Neither are exercises in finding the truth. That doesn’t mean we can excuse political lies. Please take a mallet to Romney’s fallacious assertion that Obama ended work requirements for welfare and to the Obama campaign’s ad that misstated Romney’s views on abortion. I pair these two fact checks not just to declare moral equivalence between the two parties or candidates but to demonstrate that the mutual-aggression pacts that govern politics make futile the fact-checking machinations of journalists. Give them a million billion Pinocchios and they’ll still not behave.

Sad but true. “I suppose”, concludes Shafer,

fact-checking would matter more to voters if they expected honesty from their politicians. But most don’t. Instead of vetted policy lectures, voters crave rhetoric that stirs their unfact-checked hearts. As long as the deception is honest, pointing in the direction they want to go, they’re all rght with it.

Americans (and we) get the politicians we deserve.