Holy Misrepresentation, Batman!

There has been recent discussion about the homophonic relationship between Mitt Romney’s company, Bain, and the villain of The Dark Knight Rises, Bane. Recent musings on that subject by Rush Limbaugh earned a “Pants on Fire” rating from PolitiFact. They concluded:

Limbaugh suggested it’s no accident that in a movie coming out four months before the presidential election, the villain bears the same name as the company formerly run by Romney and now being attacked by Democrats.

In politics, conspiracies are everywhere if you look hard enough. But Limbaugh’s superpowers of persuasion can’t make this theory stand up. The villainous Bane first appeared in Batman comic books in 1993, long before Romney entered presidential politics. Even the character’s creator called a suggested link “ridiculous.” We rate this statement Pants on Fire!

With other media members making claims similar to PolitiFact’s, Limbaugh responded: “I never said that the villain was created by the comic book character creator to be part of the 2012 campaign. I said that Democrats were going to use it, which they are.”

The transcript PolitiFact used as a source offers more support for the radio host than it does the fact checkers. Only two sentences discuss whether the name Bane was selected because of Romney. The first is a question: “Do you think that it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire breathing four eyed whatever it is villain in this movie is named Bane?” After asking that question, Limbaugh was interrupted and went off on a tangent. When he returned to the subject, he continued: “So, anyway, this evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane.  And there’s now a discussion out there as to whether or not this is purposeful and whether or not it will influence voters.” After noting it, Limbaugh never takes a side in the discussion of purposefulness. The remainder of his monologue relates to the ways the presidential campaigns can and will use Bane and other Batman related themes.

The PolitiFact article implies that Limbaugh used his “superpowers of persuasion” to advance the idea that the villain Bane was named in reference to Bain Capital. The transcript shows that he didn’t even try to make that argument.


About counterirritant

"An agent that induces local inflammation to relieve inflammation in underlying or adjacent tissues." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.
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