The how and why politicians lie and more importantly, why people believe them

political liesNever have there been so many stupid comments out of politicians and journalists mouths than in the years since Obama was first elected. Why has it suddenly become so chic to make unabashedly stupid statements in public? Actually, they’re not being stupid they’re telling political lies. Why? Because they work!

Why They Tell Political Lies

We all tell lies because they work. We learn early on to avoid punishment by fibbing about who ate all of the cookies, we get promotions by taking credit for work we didn’t do, and we get love when we say a partner doesn’t look fat in those jeans. So why not in politics where there is so much to gain or lose? The more there is to gain and the more desperate a situation the more political lies you will hear.

How They Tell Political Lies Effectively

  1. They have a reason. A good one. Otherwise it’s not worth it.
  2. They lay the groundwork in advance and practice, practice, practice.
  3. They tell the truth just misleadingly to leave a false impression.
  4. They know their targets VERY well and cater to their beliefs.
  5. They keep the facts of the lie straight and say it the same way every time.
  6. They stay focused and committed to the lie.
  7. They control what you see of their body language.
  8. They turn up the emotion to take the heat off of them.
  9. They counter-attack aggressively when challenged.
  10. They bargain when caught so as to lessen the damage.

Why Some Believe The Political Lies.

“Motivated reasoning” is when people form and cling to false beliefs despite overwhelming evidence. Rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or dis-confirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe. Research suggests that reasoning away contradictions is psychologically easier than revising feelings. Everyone knows emotions color how we perceive “facts”. Evidence that supports what is already believed is accepted, everything else is ignored, discredited or explained away.

“The ability to lie and not realize it is a gift unique to humans. Not only do we deceive others, we can trick ourselves into believing something that’s false is true. That’s because motivation for lying is usually tied up in self-esteem and self-preservation. ” says Molly Edmunds of “How Stuff Works”.

Suddenly Political Lies Make Sense.

And more importantly how people can believe such bald face, big fat, obvious lies that are easily disproved. In the current political arena some people want so desperately to hate Obama, Democrats or Black Men in Office (Ok, I said it) that they actually believe the lies they are told and will turn around and tell others the same information as 100% stone cold fact. So when they want to turn a large group of people against their opponent, they turn to impassioned lies and whip the crowd into an emotional frenzy. Then they just sit back and let the lies do the work for them.

Here are recent examples of some incredulous political lies. See if you can tell why each lie was created.

Politifacts “2013 Lie of the Year” Finalists

No doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare.” Ann Coulter, Wednesday, October 9th, 2013.

Ruling: Pants on Fire! | Details

Obamacare will question your sex life.” Betsy McCaughey, Sunday, September 15th, 2013.

Ruling: Pants on Fire! | Details

Obamacare provision will allow “forced home inspections” by government agents. Bloggers, Thursday, August 15th, 2013.

Ruling: Pants on Fire! | Details

Says “President Obama just granted all of Congress an exception” to Obamacare. Ted Cruz, Saturday, August 10th, 2013.

Ruling: False | Details

And some of my recent favorites…

Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested on Monday that “pregnant women 65-years-old and older were losing their doctors because of President Barack Obama health care reform law”. Fact. 65 and pregnant isn’t really possible. Yet.

“Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.”  Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 27, 2013. Fact. It’s not closing, it’s moving to save a ton of money. The decision was made under the last president… as in his brother.


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