As Abraham Lincoln once so famously tweeted: "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you can't always be sure of their authenticity." So it goes with much of the left-leaning news media. You cannot trust them either.
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell made the case nicely when she decided to pimp the left's tiresome narrative about presidential hopeful Mitt Romney being an out-of-touch, Richie Rich guy.
Romney made a campaign whistle stop in Cornwall, Pa., the other day and visited a Wawa convenience store, part of a successful chain of about 600 such enterprises centered in the Mid-Atlantic region.
He told the crowd the visit was "instructive" for him and illustrated a clear difference between government bureaucracy and private business; that competition is good and the "challenge" for the federal government is that it has none.
Romney clearly was taken with this particular Wawa and its touch-screen ordering system. He appeared excited, talking about "touch this, touch this, touch this," paying the cashier and quickly getting his sandwich. "It's amazing," he said.
"People in the private sector have learned how to compete," Romney told the onlookers. "It's time to bring some competition to the federal government and to get it smaller and then to respond to the customers, which are you."
It seemed so reasonable. He sounded tuned in, with clear ideas about what is wrong with bureaucracy and what is right with private enterprise.
What did the propaganda commissars over at MSNBC decide to show the viewing public instead of what really happened?
In her zeal to marginalize Romney, and unburdened by any commitment to the truth, Mitchell smirked as she set up the video of her report: "Maybe this was Mitt Romney's, uh, supermarket scanner moment but I get the feeling -- take a look at this -- that Mitt Romney has not been in too many Wawas along the roadside in Pennsylvania." She actually chuckles.
Romney's remarks were cut at "It's amazing ...," which Mitchell mocked afterward. All the stuff about competition and government and the private sector was gone. The effect was what the editors had hoped for -- Romney came off as a goofball, awestruck by push buttons at a sandwich kiosk.
This, by the way, is not the NBC family's only recent crime against the canons of "journalism." Remember how it edited the George Zimmerman 911 tapes to show him as a racist after Trayvon Martin was killed?
It is especially appropriate that Mitchell referred to a "supermarket scanner moment," yet another in a long line of bold lies by the news media. At a grocers' convention, George H.W. Bush -- reported later by reporters who were not even there -- appeared amazed by a supermarket scanner. The idea? To make him look like an out-of-touch goofus. It turns out he was looking at a then-commercially unavailable, space-age scanner that could weigh groceries -- not your usual gizmo -- and read virtually destroyed bar codes. It was, well, amazing.
In the wake of the Romney ambush, there was the expected uproar. MSNBC did not apologize but, instead, ran a longer piece of the video later. Mitchell yammered something about cutting the original piece short because of time constraints but never apologized for the calculated editing -- or the setup that played to the editing and leftist meme. I'm surprised Dan Rather does not work for these people, what with his penchant for abandoning the truth to trash GOP presidential candidates.
What is really amazing is that MSNBC actually must have thought it would not get caught; that nobody in the crowd had a camera or a cell phone; that nobody cared about the truth. How dumb are these people?
What drives this sort of bad behavior? Is it a slavering commitment to the left that situationally abrogates journalism standards? Is it Democrats good; Republicans bad? Is it that MSNBC is desperate for numbers? Is it that the story line the editors envision supersedes reality?
At some point, Americans will tire of the lies. None of this is good for a gasping news industry already being reduced to a giant propaganda machine by the stupefyingly partisan Andrea Mitchells of the world -- who would risk their already tattered reputations to help the leftist cause.
It is no wonder George Washington once opined, "Who in their right mind would trust cable news or The New York Times?"
I read it on the Internet.
Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com.