“Spin or Lies?”


In politics in the United States we are used to spin, the public relations behavior of making oneself look good. If I say I worked with others on this project, making it sound as though it were a collaboration, but I really did most of the work myself, I would be putting a spin on the situation. I would want people to think I worked well with others. I wouldn’t be precisely lying, but shaping the narrative to my advantage. I think that for many years voters have been alert to this common kind of spin.

However, there lately has been a proliferation of outright lies. If I say I worked on the project but I was never anywhere near it, I would be lying. If I said I had voted for something that I had actually voted against, I would be lying. I think the general population is not accustomed to this degree of lying. And I call to mind a quote from Tennessee Williams in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof: “There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity!” The problem with a bad odor is that after a while one gets accustomed to it. Here we seem to be accepting that politicians are outright lying, no longer just putting a favorable spin on things. More troubling still, those media outlets that call out politicians on their lies are faced with the “ad hominem” fallacy discussed yesterday. They are now labeled “false news.”

I hope that despite being attacked for speaking and writing the truth, people will continue to speak “truth to power.” There is too much at stake to get accustomed to that rotten smell.

14 thoughts on ““Spin or Lies?”

  1. The horrible thought is that, after adequate repitition, eventually the lies start to be taken for facts if we let this happen. We need a concerted fight to keep the debate alive and to reveal falsehoods wherever we find them.


    1. I think you would enjoy the book I blogged about a few days ago “The Coddling of the American Mind.” I don’t think the observations hold just for America. Lies repeated do start to sound true. At the moment in our country that has happened for many voters.


      1. I saw your piece and thought it looked interesting. It is my “to read” list on the kindle. I just have to finish Pilgrim’s Progress (The consequence of reading Thackeray !!) I don’t think you exclusive rights to these problems your side of the pond, we have very similar fashions


        1. I will be interested in your reaction. I went through a period of rereading all those classics. They were sure wasted on me when I first read them in college.


  2. Not only have the spins morphed into a lot of lying, but with repetition the lies shift their shapes…I find I can’t expose myself to too much political conversation, as depression and anxiety spike 🙂


  3. Mendacity. That’s it. I used that term when I was being interviewed by a lawyer to throw light in a work environment. Of course, lawyers work for employers. Lawyers lie. Employers lie. The cover-up continues. Oh the joy of politics.


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