Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

On 7 July 2016, I published a blog called “I cannot remember. I forgot”. It’s a line that is often used by people who are blatantly lying. Others are forced to admit their wrongdoings as their body language already reveals the truth. See my 28 February 2015 blog: Lying Eyes. And another typical response is denial and/or using reverse psychology and projection to put the blame on others.

Lying is an art in itself. I only know one person who is able to tell various lies to different people and who can even remember what he told to whom. You must have an excellent memory to pull that one off. I cannot as I would not be able to remember my lies. For me, it’s much easier to remember and tell the truth and be consistent in my stories.

Calling somebody a liar is far from easy, at least for me. I do notice that people who make lots of “factual inaccuracies” have little hesitancy in calling others a liar. I suppose that “it takes one to know one”. gives some other versions of this ancient (1665) proverb: “it takes a thief to catch a thief” or “no one is better at finding a wrongdoer than another wrongdoer.”

Fact checking has become big business in USA and especially in American politics. Nevertheless, politicians are seldom called liars. Mostly, their claims are rated “inaccurate” or “incorrect”. I think, feel and believe that this form of political correctness in journalism has only increased politicians’ willingness to bend and stretch the truth (eg, Politico 21 July 2016).

PolitiFact uses the following ratings for political claims: true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false, and Pants on Fire. The 2016 U.S. Presidential election statistics show the following shocking results to date regarding inaccuracies: of the 199 political statements by Donald Trump, 27 (mostly) true, 31 half true, 107 were (mostly) false and even 34 Pants on Fire.

Despite these shocking statistics, nobody calls Donald Trump a liar. On the other hand, Donald Trump and his team have no problem in calling Hillary Clinton a liar. Mrs Clinton’s Politifact statistics however are as follows: 223 claims of which 114 (mostly) true, 48 half true, and 58 (mostly) false and 3 Pants on Fire. Hence, it takes a liar to know a liar.

On 24 November 2015, the Washington Post posted an article entitled “Why the media won’t say Donald Trump is lying”. However, a few days ago, something interesting happened when CNN’s Chris Cuomo called Paul Manafort (Donald Trump’s new campaign manager) a liar on TV (WP). Obviously, it’s far too early to say whether this journalistic novelty might be a game changer.

The (legal, moral and philosophical) problem with liars is evidence that lies are intentional. Without intention, lies may also represent beliefs, closed mindedness, ignorance or stupidity (see my 14 July blog). In general, we dislike liars even more than false believers. The Crooked Hillary label clearly sticks to her although the Politifact statistics would suggest a different name. Donald Trump already won the 2015 Politifact Lie of the Year award (PolitiFact).

Hillary Clinton knows that she cannot call Donald Trump a liar without acknowledging her own lies. Her husband Bill acknowledged once on public tv (CNN). Even then he stretched some definitions in medical dictionaries. Nevertheless, Americans love public confessions and are easy to forgive (eg, link). Another Clinton confession is required to label Donald Trump for what he really is: Liar Liar Pants on Fire.

Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire (2008) – artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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