But as Paul Krugman said on ABC's This Week, "The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat-out untruths," so you get articles like this in Politico today:
The GOP presidential nominee is telling voters in Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia that Obama’s EPA is to blame for wiping out the coal industry. Romney and his surrogates are warning Iowans of EPA plans to regulate for farm dust and railing against the agency for flying airplanes over livestock operations to spy for dirty water.Mitt Romney says something that's not true. Even after widely-available facts to the contrary are pointed out, Mitt Romney keeps saying it anyway. We'll have to leave it there.
In many instances, Romney’s EPA attacks stretch the boundaries of what the agency actually does or can do. The EPA has repeatedly denied any plans for new farm dust rules, and the planes have been used as a cost-cutting enforcement measure dating back to the George W. Bush administration. Energy experts say the coal industry’s problems are a byproduct of all-time lows in natural gas prices rather than new air pollution requirements that have been subject to legal battles for more than a decade.
How can you tell Romney's lies are calculated and deliberate? Because he often shifts between lies and the truth depending on his audience. Talking to the Republican National Convention? Global warming's a joke. Talking to scientists? Global warming's serious business. It's part of the fabric of his campaign, as Romney's brazen lies in the first presidential debate about his $5 trillion tax cut plan and letting insurance companies deny coverage to sick people showed.
Romney is counting on articles like this to make his clear-cut lies seem debatable. As media critic Jay Rosen writes, "a post-truth campaign for president falls into the category of too big to tell."
UPDATE 10/9: As usual, The Onion can say it, but political reporters can't. "People are usually too afraid to ask me straight up if I’m lying, because that is apparently not something you ask someone who is running for president."