Two things were unquestionably true about Paul Ryan’s speech last night: One, it was unquestionably a well-written and well-presented speech and Two, it was filled with a lot of out and out lies or things that were so hypocritically or comically misleading as almost to amount to the same.
In itself, that’s not a huge surprise. What’s notable is how many pundits and news reporters couldn’t help noting right off the bat that well … he sure lied a lot.
Now, very few felt able to quite come out and say that, though interestingly some did. But in most cases it was reporters basically straining at the bounds of euphemism that reporters feel allowed to use. Last night I already mentioned Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett came at it on CNN right after Ryan concluded his speech …
Erin, a powerful speech. Although I marked at least seven or eight points I’m sure the fact checkers will have some opportunities to dispute if they want to go forward, I’m sure they will.
The fact-checkers will have some opportunities!
Anyway, he wasn’t the only one. It’s come up again and again overnight in follow-up questions and editorials. I’d even go so far as to say there are two big discussion points coming out of Ryan’s speech — 1) how good it was and how much it charged up Republican convention-goers and 2) man, he sure said a few whoppers.
So did Ryan and the convention handlers tempt fate? Go too far for even the most establishment and timid reporters to feel either obligated or entitled to start focusing on this fairly indisputable fact?
The real question to watch over the next 24 hours is whether that lying thing breaks through into its own issue, as something reporters who are afraid of getting smacked around by campaigns are actually willing or feel they need to discuss.
We’ll know more tomorrow morning and what we find out then will have a big effect on how the next two months play out.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.