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The Tire Gauge Lie


My friend Michael Scherer writes for Time:

To rub in the point about inflated celebrity, the campaign jumped on Obama's seemingly mild suggestion that Americans could save money on gas by inflating their tires properly. In its new hardball mode, McCain's team distributed tire gauges labeled OBAMA ENERGY PLAN, underlining the campaign's contention that Obama offered nothing but more air.

Look, this isn't just a contention, it's a lie. McCain is saying, day after day, that Barack Obama's "energy plan" consists of urging Americans to inflate their tires. That's the entire reason why he keeps saying it. It's just a simple lie. Obama has an energy plan that does not consist of urging people to inflate their tires. Agree with it or not, he has one.

I don't want to pick on Mike, because most reporters are in the habit of repeatign campaign contentions without informing their readers whether or not they have any truth to them. That's journalistic standard operating procedure. It's exactly this practice that makes lying such a successful and common strategy.

--Jonathan Chait