Not All Lies Are Created Equal

Politico: “When Hillary Clinton lies, she generally does so with legalistic care. You get the sense that she knows what the exact truth is. But you also get the sense that she knows she’ll suffer if she provides the whole truth, so she shades the facts with interpretations and embellishments that flatter or favor her.”

“Trump’s and Carson’s lies, on the other hand, come from the land of bullshit, that wonderful place where loose facts and wishful thinking mate to produce a quotable soundbite. They’re not trying to deceive you in a Clintonian fashion. They’re indifferent to the truth, content to say the first things that pop into their brains.”

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  • peterjohn936

    Trump and Carson lies because they can get away with it because their base already believe the same thing.

  • navamske

    “Trump’s and Carson’s lies, on the other hand, come from the land of bullshit, that wonderful place where loose facts and wishful thinking mate to produce a quotable soundbite. They’re not trying to deceive you in a Clintonian fashion. They’re indifferent to the truth, content to say the first things that pop into their brains.”

    It’s nice to see the word bullshit become acceptable in “the popular press,” if that accurately describes Politico. In this instance, no other word could so precisely convey the intended meaning. Except maybe horseshit.

  • LordDart

    Lord…comparing “legalistic” lying to “bullshit” lying…can publications like Politico sink any lower?

    And America think’s it’s “exceptional”….what a laugh…all it’s doing with it’s institutions, especially it’s vaunted “free” press, is exposing it’s corrupt political and economic underbelly…all of these clowns, politicians and media alike, are just jingling the coins in their pockets as they go on their merry way…

    And folks wonder why most Americans have such disdain for a system that preaches “golden opportunity” and “equality” but debases itself more every day…

  • Wynstone

    I see what Politico is doing. They make a show of calling out Trump and Carson, but suggest Clinton might be worse because it is harder to tell when she is lying, that she even has her own “brand” of lies by calling them Clintonian. Clinton doesn’t lie about her policy goals. All the republicans are lying when they say they are focused on helping the working class. Any benefit the working class derive from GOP policy is incidental to the favoring of the wealthy.

    • MC Planck

      All true, but: once it becomes acceptable for the press to acknowledge that a politician’s speech is fact-free, they won’t be able to stop. The Republicans only got this far on the presumption of seriousness. Breaking that glass just to stop Trump will have the same effect every Republican political strategy has: an inexorable slide to unintended consequences.

      For once, that might work in democracy’s favor.

  • Mountsthelens

    This is probably better identified as being from Politico columnist Jack Shafer rather than coming from Politico proper, in the same way you would not attribute a quote taken from a Maureen Dowd column to the New York Times.

    • silverbelle

      “in the same way you would not attribute a quote taken from a Maureen Dowd column to the New York Times.”

      Not really. You publish it, you own it.

      • Mountsthelens

        Not at all. That’s why it’s called an op-ed piece—opinion. It’s not billed as straight journalism where you could correctly say “you publish it, you own it.” Similarly, when the Washington Post publishes a column by George Will or Charles Krauthammer, I don’t think that anyone can convincingly argue that either point of view reflects that of the Washington Post proper. Big difference.

        • evave2

          That does make sense. But for me (because I don’t know how to judge op-ed from reporting from that site) it’s hard to judge one way or the other. But thanks for bringing that up.

          • Mountsthelens

            Yeah, I hear you. The “straight journalism” side of Politico does certainly publish its share of questionable material, but was just making the point that this wasn’t one of those times. Also, by no means am I equating the quality of Politico to the NYT or WaPo…

        • silverbelle

          ‘Not at all. That’s why it’s called an op-ed piece—opinion.’

          We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that. Op-ed, or straight reporting, what publishers print more often follows their views and that of their readers.

          • jedjethro

            I’ll have to respectfully disagree with that. There are papers in Texas that run syndicated columns by the likes of Krugmann, Leonard Pitts, etc. There’s no way a majority of those audiences agree with their views.

            Edited to change disprespectfully to respectfully … the early morning coordination between my brain and fingers isn’t quite yet working properly.

          • As I noted above op-ed is actually short for opposite the editorial page and does not refer to opinion.

        • No, op stands for opposite, as in “opposite the editorial page” — “oponion editorial” is a back formation.

          • Mountsthelens

            Thanks. Interesting, I never knew that was the derivation. However, I would still say that those columns that appear opposite the editorial page are opinion pieces and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the newspaper proper.

            FWIW, from Wikipedia: An op-ed (originally short for “opposite the editorial page”) is a piece typically published by newspapers, magazines, and the like which expresses the opinions of a named author usually not affiliated with the publication’s editorial board.[1] Op-eds are different from both editorials (opinion pieces submitted by editorial board members) and letters to the editor (opinion pieces submitted by readers).

          • Thst’s true.

        • former_scribe

          If you write a lie libeling someone and my paper publishes it, we are both liable, will both be sued, and your attorneys will concentrate on my paper’s deeper pockets. So in that sense writer and medium both “own” what the paper prints, op-ed or otherwise.

  • Snakegirl Lyn

    Come from the land of bullshit. Hahahahahaha!!!!!

    That is straight-up funny. No sugar coating, just telling it like it is. Awesome!

  • Calbengoshi

    One of the problems with this article is that it relies on a single “fact checking” source that has significant problems. While its overall record is pretty good, Politifact has made a number of glaring errors in concluding that a statement was a lie, and their errors have tended to lean in favor of politicians on the right and against others, particularly Hillary Clinton.

    I am not suggesting that Clinton never says things that are partially or even completely false. However, Politifact has labeled as “completely false” a number of statements made by Clinton that were at least partially, if not wholly, true.

    • BarryR

      I think the point they are making is that “partial truths” are part of sophisticated dissembling. Whereas in the land of bullshit, truth of any kind is irrelevant.

  • Tamburello1994

    Shorter Politico – IOKIYAR

    • YvonneofNC

      Wait? So you read that and concluded they’re saying what Trump and Carson are doing is acceptable?

      ::eye roll::

      • Tamburello1994

        Even if i read it wrong i’m amused by the attitude.

        Get over it. (and yourself)

        Happy holidays!

        • YvonneofNC

          You first.

        • silverbelle

          “Get over it. (and yourself)”

          This is gonna be fun. You obviously don’t know Yvonne. Good luck.

          • Tamburello1994

            Noted. I’ve been contributing to this board for nearly eight years I’m fully aware of who she is.

      • jhannon

        Maybe Tam ready it as another case of false equivalence promoted
        by an irresponsible columnist. And you missed that?

        • YvonneofNC

          What I didn’t miss is that there are some people here who behave just like right-wing republicans. Anytime something is reported that they don’t like, they attack media and the reporter’s motives. It’s just intellectually lazy bullshit.

          Chuck Todd used to work for Tom Harkin and his wife worked on Obama’s campaign. But whenever First Read posts a story that’s unflattering to any Democrat, he gets accused of being a right-wing water carrier.

          People here know how much I love this president. Well, I wrote an article about the policy of ordering the drone death of American citizens who were enemy combatants — strictly from a legal and historical precedent. I got mail accusing me of being a racist white supremacist, a birther, an Obama hater, you name it!

          I didn’t even take a position but the article wasn’t flattering to Obama so therefore, I had to hate him.

          No matter who writes it, every story is not going to be flattering to your guy. Sometimes, we just call ’em like we see ’em. Sheez. Grow the fuck up.

          • Red Phillips

            Welcome to the Great Empire of the Excluded Middle.

          • Very true. To be fair, though, Chuck Todd has long since become a beltway establishment water carrier, which can feel pretty right wing to liberals at times.

        • Tamburello1994

          Thanks. I obviously don’t have the education level to put it in those terms but that was my take when I read the piece.

  • Carl

    This article seems to be saying that the clintonian lie is somehow worse than the the Trump/Carson bullshit because it just comes out their mouths without thinking. I will not debate the Clinton side of this but the fact that they are trying to excuse as not so bad cause Clinton is worse…is bull shit in itself. Trumps lies are hurting pepole like “blacks kill whites” and most importantly, these bs’s are indeed for the purpose of currying votes. That is exactly why they are being spewed all over the internet. You cannot make it better by saying Clintons is wose because she’s trying to cuury favor. They’re the same. Cut it out.


    “…bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”

  • RadicalCentrist

    Trump is absolutely NOT “saying the first thing that pops into his brain”. There is not the slightest question in my mind that everything he says is intentionally calibrated to appeal to his audience, starting on day one of his campaign with his remarks about Mexicans. Carson is less certain, because the whoppers he tells are, in many cases, not going to win him a ton of votes. Fundamentally, no cares what’s inside the pyramids, but the base hates them some Mexicans, Mooslems, and any other furriners (except many of the males wouldn’t mind an Eastern European mail-order bride like the Donald’s).

    • BarryR

      A lot of things he says during his long harangues, especially those referring to specific individuals and opponents, are just being spewed, stream of consciousness style.

      • RadicalCentrist

        I think he is faking that and knows very well what he is going to say. Remember, he’s been doing this for a long time on TV.

        • BarryR

          They edit him on TV. His entire speaking style, syntactically and content-wise, is that of man making a lot of stuff up as he goes along.Constant digressions and remarks that have to be walked back later are not the kind of things that are prepared.

          • Agreed. Anyone who improvises can recognize what he is doing.

  • BarryR

    The Republican party emigrated to the Land Of Bullshit decades ago. It started with Reagan’s economic policy and they earned their Bullshittian citizenship with the war in Iraq. Many of them – Rubio, Cruz, et al, have grown up there and it comes naturally to them to, as the locals say, make shit up and defend it with great conviction. They believe Obama isn’t an American or a Christian. It is a form of insanity, but when a similar insanity is shared by millions, it becomes a political movement.

    • Red Phillips

      Or a church.

  • jhannon

    Oh yes, Politico, Clinton’s careful parsing is MUCH more devious and dangerous that Trump or Carson spouting absolutely racist, homophobic, or xenophobic bullshit that millions of people take seriously.

    • Hawkeye

      Give me a President who speaks carefully over one that shoots from the hip directly at demagoguery targets. I do not want a loose cannon of any stripe in the White House.

  • MC Planck

    Not without a dose of ChuckToddism… but I’ll take it. Who doesn’t shade the truth and embellish a bit around uncomfortable truths? Hell, that’s practically the definition of politics. Something Politico ought to be quite familiar with.

    But at least they are admitting that Republicans are full of bullshit. And once the label sticks on Trump, it will stick on Bush, or anyone else. The era of fact-free politics may be coming to an end.

  • exxgoper

    And that statement tells you everything you need to know about Politico and their journalistic integrity. “When Hilary lies”. I don’t even know how something like that gets passed an editor. That is a statement of fact supported by…….nothing.

  • Philip Canfield

    …things that pop into their brains.” – This cannot be true. What brains?

  • Silent_Partner

    Politico editor: You got that false equivalency story ready to go?
    Joe Blow “writer” for Politico: Sure, I’ll have it up before the day is out.
    Politico editor: Thanks.
    Joe Blow “writer” for Politico: Just doing what I was hired to do, boss.
    Politico editor: Oh, and tell somebody to get on that story about how republicans are right in this thing because Obama is polarizing. You know, one of those same kinds of pieces we ran in 2011. Shit, you don’t really have to change much but the names. I don’t give a shit. Our readers eat this shit up.
    Joe Blow “writer for Politico: Already on it. Actually, 3 of us have that same story ready to go so that it looks like it’s coming from multiple sources like we always do.
    Politico editor: Beautiful. I’m gonna get some kickbacks for this. You have no idea.

  • gloriousglo2

    HRC lies a lot/all the time, etc. You hear this, but nobody ever seems to produce a body of evidence that this is true. It’s just repeated as fact so often that it is accepted. Some things in life are gray and open to interpretation. I suspect that this is what she gets pinned on as “lies.”