GOP Running First in Unofficial ‘Pants on Fire’ Poll!
October 19, 2010
(ChattahBox Op/Ed News) – In comedian Al Franken’s (not yet a Senator) book “Lies and the lying liars who tell them” (2003), he exposes and attacks the near daily mistruths, half-truths and out right lies the political right spews on a near daily basis. He did so with humor and with razor precision. Not surprisingly the right hated this book and of course hates Al Franken. It was not only politics that led to the months long senate recount that took place in Minnesota two years ago. They hate him and anyone else who exposes their love of misleading the public for political gain. I loved the book and I miss his searing political observations which as senator Al Franken has chosen to temper.
I was thinking about this book and wondering if the political world learned anything from the beating the right took or in lieu of fact or good policy is the lure to lie just too strong? So, I did what any normal, forty something year old guy without a life would do, I grabbed a couple of beers and jumped on PolitiFact.com. For those not in the know PolitiFact.com is a Pulitzer winning, impartial website that takes a politician’s or political group’s statement and vigorously put’s it through the truth test. The end result of the their investigation is a ruling with the following categories; True, Mostly True, Half True, Barely True, False and finally Pants On Fire! These lists go back to the primaries of 08′.
While it can certainly be argued that a half truth is still a lie because it’s misleading, I chose to focus on the False and Pants On Fire categories because it’s harder to argue the nuances of truth when it’s certainly a lie. To be fair some of the False rulings are rather benign like this one from Daily Kos founder, Markos Moulitsas, “Turkey is an Arab country”. This was in a discussion about Israel’s boarding blockade busting ships which originated in Turkey. He later corrected himself stating that he meant to say that “Turkey is a Muslim country”. That being said, I still counted this as a lie and placed it in the Democratic Organization or Initiative column which I’ll explain in a moment.
I was interested in seeing how the two parties stacked up in the Lie Department. I went through both the False lists and the Pants on Fire lists and kept score. I broke down the lists into my own categories. For each the Democratic Party and the Republican Party the lists are as follows:
- RNC or DNC, consisting of politicians in the party, official party operatives such as Michale Steele (GOP Chairman), official party statements or spokespeople for either politicians or party.
- “Unofficial party organizations” which traditionally support one party such as the Sierra Club or partisan initiatives such as Email chains which surprisingly have been a key source of misinformation dissemination for the Republicans.
- Political Talking Heads, such as Rush Limbaugh or Keith Olbermann.
- Politicians, individual politicians credited with the most lies. Of, course these are also tallied in the first category.
So what did I find? From the primaries of 08′ until today there is a whole lot of fibbin’ going on. The lists on PolitiFacts.com did not attempt to analyze every statement by every politician so don’t take this a definitive list of liars. I’m certain that list would require a bank of IBM supercomputers to compile. That being said here’s my findings;
- Official Party folk and politicians: GOP 190 Dems 103
- Unofficial org. and initiatives: GOP 81 Dems 10
- Talking Heads: GOP 31 Dems 12
- Individual Pols: GOP McCain 37 Dems Obama 42
AND THE WINNER IN THE “YOU’RE A LYING SACK OF DUNG” CONTEST IS……..The Republicans with a grand total of 302 whoppers!!!!! The Democrats didn’t do too badly with 125 fibs! Don’t feel bad Dems you did have the individual champion, Barack Obama.The GOP champion of lies is, John McCain with 37.
Though my list isn’t a scientific study on which party is most dishonest it does shed light on the subject. It should make you question every political ad you see this election cycle. So when senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell (who is not a witch, seriously just ask her) says “We haven’t yet taken out a negative ad” go to Politifact.com and see what they say. In case you’re lazy, they say she’s lying like her “Pants are on fire!”. In one her ads she paints her opponent as a raving lunatic. But hey one’s “raving lunatic” is another’s normal political opponent. As I said this is not a scientific study there are bound to be a few minor mistakes but none large enough to dramatically change the numbers or to change to conclusions.
The one big surprise was the number of lies attributed to Barack Obama. Yes, I voted for him and yes I expected him to be more forthright and yes, I realize due to the number of times he has spoken publicly he has had the most opportunities to purposely or inadvertently tell a lie. To me that doesn’t matter. Call me old fashioned I still want my politicians to tell me the truth. Even if it’s truth I don’t want to hear. I don’t believe in a win at all costs mentality where we rationalize our lies or our politicians lies as long as they get elected or influence the debate.
So, Republicans almost took home all the first place winners . They led Democrats almost 3-1 with 302 total in truth twisting. Dems, don’t gloat you’re white dress too, is stained with the dirt and mud you sling. We need sites like Politifact.com and people like Al Franken to continue to expose liars and frauds. We need to raise the bar of integrity. Mostly we need to elect honest people to represent us and hold them accountable once in office.