Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton and the Curse of the Lying Liars

My god, it's full of stars!
This will be my last serious political blog post of this election cycle.

Non-serious posts may follow.

Any attempt to make Hillary out to be a bigger lie-facer than any other politician with her longevity and career in the field is simply character-assassination. Do keep in mind, I'm not a fan of Hillary, but I generally like truth in my advertising, and this campaign has ended up with me defending/supporting Clinton far more than I would like or want. But whether it's buying into the propaganda that has been leveled at her for decades, or actively working against her, it amounts to the same thing. Politicians have an agenda, and speaking to that agenda, for personal or political ends, means making statements that at times, or from a certain point of view, can be seen as false. Are they actually lies? Sometimes. Sometimes not. This is part of the reason that PolitiFact offers a spectrum of analysis from "True" through "Half-True" to "Pants of Fire". Compare Clinton to other career politicians of the same caibre, like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or Chris Christie, and you'll see very similar report cards, with the majority of their statements being on the upper part of the scale of truth.

Clinton has done as any other politician would in her position and with her same goals in mind. She's crafted a narrative that support her position, at times cherry-picked elements or spun events to better suit her particular worldview, and at times misspoken, miss-remembered or conflated some statements. With all that, she has only been a "Pants on Fire" a handful of times—equivalent to any other major politician. Of course, her political enemies want to make spin a whole blanket out of those failures—no matter if they were errors of memory, cherry-picks, spins, or actual lies (yep, politicians lie). Over time, with repeated viewing, we arrive at a conclusion that could just as easily be leveled at anyone else under similar scrutiny (including you or me)—but because of the constant repetition of this narrative, without taking into consideration who is making the allegation or what their agenda might be, the public has bought into it with no better support than any other argument from repetition.

This ad nauseam fallacy has been used for a blunt-force attack, through decades of swings, which has now paid off. People regard Clinton as a liar of the highest caliber, second only to Satan or his right hand Trump (be sure to check out Trump's scorecard on PolitiFact for a real eye-opener). It's allowed discussion to be hand-waved away with a, "Well, Hillary lies, so . . ." without ever digging into the facts of the matter—whether she actually lied or unintentionally. It's become a myth of epic proportions, on the scale of anti-vaxxers or Flat Earthers. Now, no matter how much evidence if brought to the fore, how much explanation is provided, or how much reasonableness is applied, the acceptable axiom is that Hillary lies.

That is all.

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