Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lies, Lies and More Lies  John C. Goodman Sep 18, 2016

Lies, Lies and More Lies

Have you noticed how often the word “lie” is coming up in this presidential campaign? Both leading candidates have called each other liars. That’s to be expected. But among the commentators, almost all of whom seem to be anti-Trump, I’ve noticed three things.
First, they keep expanding what counts as a lie. Promising to “build a wall,” for example, has now become a “lie.”
Second, although they accuse Donald Trump of lying, they never use that word when referring to Hillary Clinton, even though they admit that a good deal of what she has said isn’t true.  Instead, Hillary is “cagey” (Paul Krugman) “deceptive” (Rem Rieder), “shades the truth” (Nicholas Kristof) – but apparently she doesn’t actually “lie.”
Third they think the chattering class (the commentators, questioners, etc.) are engaging in a “false equivalence” – acting as though there is a problem that is equally bad on both sides. One frequently repeated factoid is that PolitiFact rated 71% of the Trump statements it investigated as “false,” “mostly false” or “pants on fire,” while for Clinton it was only 28%. Doesn’t that prove that he is much worse than she is?
I think these folks have it exactly backwards. That may be understandable. As Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson said the other day, as the polls get tighter the “Hillary supporters are freaking out.”


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