Ted Cruz Says Accurately Quoting Him is Yellow Journalism

Ted Cruz has a fact problem. It goes like this:

  1. Ted Cruz says something crazy-sounding;
  2. His words get accurately reported, complete with video;
  3. Ted Cruz gets a justifiable reputation for being a “wild-eyed lunatic”;
  4. He says it is the “liberal media’s” fault.

Reality is not Ted Cruz’s friend.

Now you would think it would be obvious that the problem is with what Cruz is saying, since the media – to the extent they bother to actually report it at all – is only accurately reporting it.

But the Cuban Anarchist says liberals use “yellow journalism called PolitiFact.” As though PolitiFact were a branch of the DNC and not a creation of the Tampa Bay Times.

CNBC’s John Harwood sat down with Cruz and told him that “You’ve said a few things that don’t necessarily comport with the facts,” for example, Cruz’s claim that Obamacare would kill jobs, or that there are “125,000 I.R.S. agents, [so] send ’em to the border.”

“They’ve only got 25,000 agents,” Harwood pointed out.

And then it came, the question media figures should be asking EVERY political candidate when they play with the facts:

“Why shouldn’t somebody listen to you and say, ‘The guy’ll just say anything — doesn’t have to be true?'”

Because like every Republican candidate in recent years, Ted was only joking:

There is a game that is played by left-wing editorial writers. It’s this new species of yellow journalism called PolitiFact. Colloquially I was referring to all the employees as agents. That particular stat is in a joke I used. So, they’re literally fact-checking a joke. I say that explicitly tongue in cheek.

It turns out Harwood was a little off, but Cruz was a lot off. The actual quote was,

There are 110,000 agents at the IRS. We need to put a padlock on that building and take every one of those 110,000 agents and put them on our southern border.

But there aren’t 110,000 employees at the IRS. There were 90,000 in 2013, when Cruz made his “joke.” A discrepancy of 20,000. Which is a lot. An inflation of over 25 percent.

We have seen Republican presidential hopefuls dodge facts before; even dodge questions. We’ve witnessed the “I’m not a scientist,” routine. But Cruz has a new twist on an old trick:

Harwood: A third Texas president, L.B.J., created Medicare in the mid-’60s. Your hero Ronald Reagan campaigned vigorously against that, saying it would lead to socialized medicine, would end liberty in the United States. Who was right: L.B.J. or Reagan?

Cruz: It’s not worth tilting at windmills. I don’t know. I wasn’t alive then.

Oh, you weren’t alive then. So if not being alive then precludes you from having an opinion, you can’t have an opinion on what the Founding Fathers may or may not have intended through writing the United States Constitution.

Yet you repeatedly claim the United States was founded as a Christian nation for Christians. How can you know? You weren’t alive then.

Rick Ungar pointed out at Forbes that by choosing a religious institution to make his presidential announcement, Cruz automatically excluded all non-Christians from his constituency. He is supposed to be president for all Americans, but he has decided that he will be a Christian president for Christians.

Well…people who pretend they are Christians. But you get the idea.

This is nothing new. As a Houston Chronicle editorial said of Cruz following his announcement, “We’re not so happy about his disdain for 30 million Texans he was elected to represent just a couple of years ago.”

In truth, to judge by what he said at Liberty University – “Imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel” – he cares more about Israel than about 30 million people in Texas.

His absence will hardly be noticed. Unlike Kay Bailey Hutchison, his predecessor in the Senate, Cruz isn’t in Washington to get things done for his state. He’s not there to govern. He sees himself as an agitator, a disruptive force who disdains crafting solutions to problems or compromising with his colleagues toward a pragmatic end. He’s made a lot of noise during his time in Washington, but except for partially shutting down the federal government in 2013, it’s hard to point to much of anything Cruz has done.

This point has been made before, but of course, Cruz’s own delusional view of himself is that he is not a “back-bencher like Obama” but a guy who gets things done. The trouble is, the only person Cruz gets things done for is Cruz.

Thirty million Texans learned that lesson. Every person in America who is not a far-right Evangelical will learn it if Cruz becomes president.

Ungar points out what we have pointed out many times here:

Call me crazy, but it seems logical to expect that had our nation been intended to be a Christian nation, there would have been some reference to the same in the Constitution—and yet there is none. Indeed, the words, “God”, “Jesus Christ”, “Christianity”, “Bible”, and “Creator” are never so much as mentioned in our founding document —not even once. In fact, the only time religion is discussed in the Constitution is in Article 6, Section 3 requiring that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Ungar says of Cruz’s announcement, “Personally, I think most of our Founders were turning over in their graves.”

Cruz has a fact problem. Every Republican candidate has a fact problem. The facts, simply put, argue against every shred of the ideology they are trying to force down our throats. They can dance around it, as Cruz did with Harwood and as Rand Paul did with Sean Hannity, but the facts are what the facts are.

It is not the media’s fault, and CNBC is far from being “liberal media” just as PolitiFact is far from being a left-wing website. The problem isn’t CNBC or PolitiFact. The problem is the GOP and their misuse of facts. As Stephen Colbert once quipped, reality has a liberal bias. But that is because liberals are cognizant of that reality, and conservatives are not.

If you don’t want to sound like a lunatic, don’t say crazy things. It’s that easy. But it’s a lesson Republicans can’t learn because their ideology does not permit it. They’ve become lost in the very alternate reality bubble they created to ensorcell Americans.

We don’t know if Ted Cruz is really crazy. We can only judge him by his words and deeds, and according to those, he is that wild-eyed lunatic he claims not to be. And that’s not the media’s fault; it’s his.

Welcome to reality, Ted.

Photo: Screen capture from CNBC

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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