Thursday, April 16, 2015

I can not tell the difference.

Ann Althouse asks a reasonable question that I have had of numerous politicians in recent years though Althouse's question is targeted to a particular politician over a particular instance, Why is Hillary Clinton misstating checkable facts?

Clinton claimed on the campaign trail, as part of an apparent claim to the immigrant experience mantle, that all her grandparents were emigres to the US. The problem being that only one of her grandfathers was an immigrant (from the UK) while everyone else was US born. In the scheme of things this isn't a material issue but as Althouse asks:
Why lie about things you don't even need to lie about, things that can be checked? Why lie so badly?
Its a good question and in the comments thread, the preferred answer is: because they can. I like some of the other comments though.

For a considered comment:
Thorley Winston said...
I think it’s important to keep in mind how recent it’s been that people have been able to instantly fact-check statements by public figures and to bypass traditional gatekeepers in getting information out. Twenty years ago assuming someone took the time to request and gain access to the actual records, they might have posted it on an internet message board (or leaked it to Drudge). Today a lot more things are searchable online that didn’t use to be and you can tweet it, share it on Facebook, make a Youtube video showing a clip of her statements and contrast that with the actual records. And the traditional gatekeepers of print and broadcast journalism instead of ignoring these non-standard outlets in many cases are now highlighting them as they’ve cut back on their usual reporting desks.

So if you’re someone who was used to spending the first forty plus years of your life being able to say pretty much whatever you wanted with impunity, you now have to live in a world where the rules have changed. So either you double down and plod on hoping people will agree when you say “what does it matter” or you have to change your old habits and adapt to the new world.
For a more humorous take:
David said...
Why lie about things you don't even need to lie about, things that can be checked? Why lie so badly?

It's an old joke:

George Washington: "I can not tell a lie."
Richard Nixon: "I can not tell the truth."
Hillary Clinton: "I can not tell the difference."

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