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Marshall Fine Headshot

Defending Fact-based Reality Against Propaganda

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While visiting family in the Midwest recently, I was startled when two different relatives asked me, "Have you seen that film 2016?" Both were eager to see it; neither, needless to say, is a fan of Barack Obama.

As it turns out, I haven't seen Dinesh D'Souza's hysterical screed against the president -- but I have seen D'Souza baying at the moon on Real Time with Bill Maher and elsewhere. And I'm familiar enough with D'Souza's work to understand how incredible -- and lacking in credibility -- his film no doubt is.

But then, facts seem to be Kryptonite (and not "criptonight," as one online wingnut spelled it) for Republicans. Why should a Republican documentary be any different?

"We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," as one Romney pollster put it, while even Fox News called bullshit on much of vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention. Because, hey, what does it matter if they're lying? Half the country already assumes they are; the other half wants to swallow the lie whole, like a large pill washed down with cod-liver oil.

More like castor oil. With the same results.

It's not like this is anything new. Go back to 2004, when an unnamed George W. Bush aide (later identified as Karl Rove) scoffed at a newspaper reporter as being part of the "reality-based community." Rove went on to say, "When we act, we create our own reality."

Or as Humpty Dumpty told Alice in Through the Looking Glass, "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." To which Alice replied, "The question is, whether you can make words mean so many different things."

To which, like Humpty, the Republicans reply, "The question is, which is to be master -- that's all."

This commentary continues on my website.