Why Politicians Get Away With Lying


“Maybe it’s a sign that the public has given up on honesty from presidential candidates. Instead, in a recent flurry prompted by the public editor of The New York Times, the assumption seems to be that politicians will always lie and that voters’ defense against that is fact checking by journalists.  But … why do voters let politicians lie to them?  What sort of lies do people accept, and which do they object to?”

See, New York Times, Room for Debate, Why Politicians Get Away with Lying.

Organised by Todd Rogers and Michael Noron, debaters include:

See also, Conor Friedersdorf, Why Newspapers Often Don’t Call Out Politicians for Lying (The Atlantic, January 17, 2012):

“…One school of thought is that reporters ought to try, whenever possible, to independently verify claims, and to report that they are true or false if that can be established. This would, of course, stoke controversy about whether certain claims are in fact false, or merely matters about which there is legitimate disagreement. For that matter, there’d be disagreements about what constitutes legitimate disagreement! It would make the job of reporters much harder, more frequently result in the inadvertent revelation of their biases, and diminish their perceived objectivity, especially among unsophisticated news consumers. Proponents of this style of journalism often underestimate how difficult it would be to implement: lots of journalists are perfectly capable of reporting “Team Red says this, Team Blue says that,” but lack the analytic ability, fair-mindedness, and ability to see beyond ideology that adjudicating contested claims requires. These reporters would be prone to declaring matters settled that are in fact contested.

“But perhaps the alternative is worse: the status quo is a system that enables folks who manipulate the public. These disingenuous people brazenly feed the press lies knowing that at worst they’ll be printed alongside, and given equal billing with, a quotation from ‘the other side.’