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Johnson

Why the press should call out politicians when they lie

And why lying isn’t the same as talking nonsense

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Tropicana312

Even Econometrics classify errors in Hypothesis testing as Type 1 (incorrect rejection of truth) and Type 2 (acceptance of falsehood). While the latter is easier to address, as pointed out by Economist and many other Left press, how about these media houses themselves propagating Type 1 error - refusing to publish the news which are uncomfortable for their larger political stand.

Add to that blatant twisting of truth : highlight the effect, suppress the cause; Cultural preservation for one, Cultural Marxism for another, Utopian norms for one, "their country their rule" for another; today what is discrimination, tomorrow that is discretion, mine is free speech, yours is hate speech. I win : victor, I lose: victim; you win: aggressor, you lose: inferior.
Every argument is defended by banal rhetoric of compassion and humanitarianism, over discipline, order, accountability and justice. And the entire debate is calibrated by utterly discriminatory "relative" logic - whereby truth is determined by decibel and efficacy of posturing.

Mario Ferretti

Between the two basic notions mentioned here—"falsehoods" and "lies"—there is perhaps a third class of untruths that Johnson should consider: so called "pious frauds", i.e., relatively minor deceptions consciously attempted in the assumed interest of some supposedly superior truth. Unlike ordinary lies, their main purpose is a subjectively honest one: a sort of merely tactical cheating, very much like a placebo treatment. Yet this kind of stuff seems more often associated with strong emotional views rather than plain sweet reason. I would not be surprised if something like that should be shown at the basis of Mr Trump's "alternative facts"—or many comments by his enemies, for that matter.

guest-nollsns

Snap out of it, guys. You're so polite... It's been common rhetorical practice, for the last few decades, for American politicians to knowingly plant falsehoods, using factives. "Why do liberals hate America so much" plants the premise of hating America, while appearing to ask an innocent question, based on the aforementioned premise.

guest-looojol

I prefer the term "bullshit" for obviously wrong or absurd statements made to puff up the speaker or defend a position.

As defined by the philosopher Harry Frankfurt, BS is a statement made to advance the speaker's viewpoint or image without any knowledge or concern for accuracy or truth. That is, the speaker does not intend to deceive but to convince or impress. The truth of the statement is immaterial to the speaker as it is just another brick in a verbal wall of justification or self-glorification.

As my father would have said of President Trump - "I'm a bit of a bullshitter myself but it's nice to listen to an expert".

Allan Edie in reply to guest-looojol

"The truth of the statement is immaterial to the speaker as it is just another brick in a verbal wall of justification or self-glorification".

Very nicely put, thanks.

And, I would say, a better than most description of Trump's behaviour. The term "immaterial" may be the key. It simply may not occur to him that accuracy is relevant.

Perhaps he is not often "lying" in the strict sense of the word. However, I am not sure which I would rather have as the POTUS, a pathological liar (which I think we actually have), or an utterly deluded narcissist (admittedly a close second as a possiblility). We certainly have one or the other, which is frightening even for this Canadian.

Kremilek2

I think that Mr Trump simply believes what he says, a kind of disorder. I guess that he only checks if the discrepancy between his believes and the reality is too large. The press can check his statements but I guess that he doesn't care.

glpittman

Since The Economist seems at a loss to explain how and where Mr. Trump gets his information, I suggest you check John Oliver's talk about his lying a week or two ago.
It's odd when satirical forms of news can get more to the heart of a matter than the traditional news outlets.
As Mr. Oliver points out, with evidence, his sources for information are Breitbart (are we surprised?) and Fox News. If it was there it is true, no matter what other revelations come up in other sources later. He is on video from several years ago, firmly avowing that Muslims were cheering in the streets after 9/11, because it was on Breitbart News.
So he has an odd and unreasoning form of truth, perhaps analogous to a fundamentalism in these "gospel" sources of information.

aLittleTimeToSpare

In this exploration of the many possible expressions, I'm curious to know where "complete bollocks" fits in.

Leviathan

How about 'Confabulation' /kənˌfæbjuˈleɪʃən/

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confabulation:
"In psychiatry, confabulation (verb: confabulate) is a disturbance of memory, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive.

Individuals who confabulate present incorrect memories ranging from "subtle alterations to bizarre fabrications", and are generally very confident about their recollections, despite contradictory evidence.

[...]

*Description*
Confabulation is distinguished from lying as there is no intent to deceive and the person is unaware the information is false. Although individuals can present blatantly false information, confabulation can also seem to be coherent, internally consistent, and relatively normal."

Also worthwhile name-checking Brené Brown via this quote:
"[...]the story that Brown says we tell ourselves and others. When stress is involved, pain occurs, or when vulnerability is near, Brown concedes that we humans have a tendency to confabulate.

Be it a conspiracy—a story with limited facts where we fill in the gaps with possibilities, or a “Sh1tty First Draft” (the SFD as coined by Anne Lamott)—that first story we make up and tell ourselves, it’s a defense mechanism. The story is an honest lie meant to protect us from the threat of emotional vulnerability; the story is a confabulation.

“When something difficult happens,” Brown explains, “our emotions get the first crack at responding to it. Emotions are at the wheel. When something bad happens, cognition and behavior are bound and gagged in the trunk. Emotion is driving.”" - https://relate.zendesk.com/articles/vulnerability-at-work/

ashbird in reply to Leviathan

In psychiatry, "confabulation" is a diagnostic term rendered only after a face-to-face clinical interview is conducted. The interview includes a detailed Mental Status Exam and collection of other relevant clinical data, including medical history.
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The interview generally takes 2 to 4 hours. Additionally, an interviewee undergoes detailed testings such as MMPI, Wechsler IQ and Wechsler Memory scales, Trail-Making, Forward digit recall, backward digit recall, etc.
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Thus, in context, the application of the term is speculative and inappropriate.
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Rine111

Tactically it is better to accuse of incompetence than to accuse of lying.

The reason: Supporters of the 'liar' would also be disturbed by incompetence when their sense of loyalty would lead them to recognise that a charge of lying is almost always unproven. They may even be happy with lies provided it furthered their interests. A charge of incompetence casts doubt on the ability of the accused to achieve even his own ambitions.

ashbird in reply to Rine111

"A charge of incompetence casts doubt on the ability of the accused to achieve even his own ambitions."
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Yes and No.
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Yes for the "tactical" reason you pointed out.
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No because the argument could be made he got himself elected. That's prima facie "competence". He was able to speak to the vunerability of the folks who elected him, folks who looked to him almost as a born again messiah, while Hillary made a lethal error as a politician - she lost her cool and called half the country a "basket of deplorables" (something his critics can do but not she as someone running for the presidency)
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__________________
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Some of his lies are plain and need no further proof - the best example is where are the tax returns promised. Another example is he told a reporter after his meeting with the President of Mexico Mr Peña on August 31st, 2016 that the two had NOT discussed who would pay for his proposed border wall. Mr Peña immeditately tweeted he "had made it clear Mexico will NOT pay for the wall". There are other examples too numerous to name. All on live video. As the author of the present blog article observes, his presidency is still "young"; there is plenty of time for his lies to pile up. There is no need to prove anything. The man will prove them himself without anyone's help. The key tactical thing is DO NOT BITE when his supporters try to change/shift the subject by darting to other things when the light is shone on his boldface lies. No matter what, DO NOT BITE their deflection tactic.

Rine111 in reply to ashbird

'No because the argument could be made he got himself elected.'

The people who elected him will want him to succeed. Presumably they will discover that in the long run you don't succeed when you become known for talking nonsense.

anonymandious

A detailed exploration of the distinction between lying and disregard for truth can be found in the essay by Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt, "On Bullshit".
Frankfurt, H.G., 2005. On bullshit. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press.
On Bullshit, interview with author Harry G. Frankfurt. https://vimeo.com/109144338

ashbird in reply to anonymandious

Thank you very very much for this link.
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I watched/listened to all 10.3 minutes of it. And then a second time. Great stuff!! Invaluable! A keeper!
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And humbling for all of us who pay attention (and mindful of not being a bullshitter, at least not a full-time one. :) )
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Please come around and comment on TE more often. We need to upgrade the level of discourse that happens on these pages.
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guest-ssniloi

I think Trump's dialogue is a combination of deliberate lies and falsehoods.When he is talking about something that involves him or his image (ie crowd size at his inaugeration) then I think he tells a deliberate lie. However, when he is talking about a subject on which he has little knowledge (quite a few) then I think he just spouts out what he can remember from cable news, without bothering to check the facts. The most worrying aspect of all this is that you have a president formulating policy based on misinformation - wth the resulting chaos - and someone with an inability to learn. It will be a long four years but hopefully he will be gone before that.

ashbird in reply to guest-ssniloi

He lies, he bluffs, and he bullshits (cf. above comment and link provided by commenter @anonymandious. )
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And he pretends he is amnesic in between.
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And he offers up nonsequiturs when any of his lies, his bluffs and his bullshit is challenged. "Nonsequiturs" means he ducks, he dodges, and he shifts/changes the subject as if no one notices and everyone is a fool.
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When all his dirty used car salesman tricks fail, he throws a hissy fit, call you a nasty name, and runs.

ashbird in reply to ashbird

Example of a lie : Where are the tax returns he promised "after the election"?
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Example of a bluff : "See you in court", when his EO had just been reviewed by the a federal court and he lost!
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Example of bullshit : There was no terrorist attack in Sweden this past Saturday (in the video tape, Trump referred to it as "last night in Sweden"), as he was doing his "thing" with his rally crowd in Florida this past Satruday. When the Swedish Embassy in America, baffled (the ambassador and the whole nation of Sweden ought to know if there had been a terrorist attack!!!!) asked for clarity, he bullshit some more, saying he saw it in a documentary about Sweden's refugee policy. The documentary did not contain any breaking news. In any case, by defintion , a documentary film is NOT made, produced and broadcast with a report on a nonexistent incident!!!!!!!!
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So now his supporters, if you tell them these FACTS, not holographs, to their face, they duck, they dodge, they change the subject. Lucky you if they don't throw you a nasty name.As "rudeness" is their name.
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So these are his supporters. Remember: Change the subject is their most preferred modus operandi. Don't ever get drawn into debating with them on the subject they shift to. That's the purpose - lie, bluff, bullshit - all for the purpose of distraction.
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ashbird in reply to ashbird

Sorry, last 2 lines in paragraph #3 Example of bullshit demands a rewrite for precision and deductive development. Following is a rewrite addressing both -
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The documentary was produced at Time X.
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Trump watched it at Time Y .
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Time Y was subsequent to Time X.
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Trump claimed the documentary contained a happening that happened subsequent to its filming, i.e., between Time X and Time Y.
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What could explain the disorientation in the sequence of time?
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The answer could be more worrisome than lie, bluff or bullshit.
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Rine111 in reply to ashbird

When the guy from NBC pointed out that Clinton had better electoral college votes than Trump, Trump claimed that he had been talking about Republican presidents. However, when he made the assertion about his votes he did not specify who he was talking about.

Langosta

The Economist has a great example today of how everybody distorts information in order to bias perceptions away from a comprehensive understanding of the complete truth:

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21717071-nafta-notice-view-m...

The view from a midwestern county that relies on free trade, but loves Donald Trump
=
Demonising NAFTA helped Mr Trump to the presidency. But in reality millions of American jobs are supported by that pact. One of them belongs to Chris Gambrel, who builds vast diesel engines in Seymour, Indiana. It would be odd to think of Mr Gambrel, a skilled and brawny employee of Cummins, an engine-maker, as ignored or “forgotten”. He is proud of the “world-class” engines that he produces: 95-litre behemoths powerful enough to pull a cargo train. Three-quarters of them are exported to foreign customers for up to $1m apiece.
=
Can anybody guess what the Economist left OUT of the story?

Langosta

Distortions of truth come in several varieties:

1. "Intentionally misrepresented the truth" is the legal term for lying.

2. Taking a a single data point (anecdote) and extrapolating it to be a universal phenomenon. Global Warmongers are infamous for this.

3. Covering the data points that bolster one side of a story, while ignoring those that contradict it. Here again, Global Warmongers are infamous. They got caught ignoring data that shows parts of the earth are cooling, so they had to rename their theory "Climate Change" which means: "We don't know which way the trend is going, if there even is a trend."

4. Parroting incorrect information that somebody else originated without checking it. You see this all the time when you research history. An original witness to an event misrepresents it either intentionally or by ignorance of complete circumstances, and their error gets perpetuated by all future historians. Eventually a revisionist comes along, digs up other credit sources and says that the original account is bullhockey.

5. Masking hidden agendas. For example a person who says: "The Wall with Mexico won't inhibit illegal immigration" really means: "Of course I know that the wall will substantially inhibit illegal immigration and that's why I DON'T won't it built. I won't illegal immigrants to continue flooding into the USA because A) They work cheap; or B) They can be registered to vote Democrat."

Journalists, historians, and politicians, and in general every human being who lives and breathes misrepresents the truth. That's why lawyers earn so much money. They have to represent events in a way that favors their clients, truth be damned.

As to Trump's allegation that crime rates are rising to generational highs, there is anecdotal evidence of it in some places:

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More than 750 people have been murdered in Chicago in 2016, the police said, a 58 percent increase over last year and the highest total since 1997. There have been more than 3,500 shootings in the city this year. Over Christmas weekend, at least 60 people were shot, 11 fatally, according to The Chicago Tribune.
=

As to the crowds at his inauguration being the largest ever, who knows? It's a different standard nowadays with security being so tight that people can't crowd in around the Capitol like they used to. I wouldn't expect that it was the largest inaugural ever, but I wouldn't make a fetish of disputing it either.

One thing I do know about Trump is that his instincts are profound and generally run strongly in the direction of the truth. Were that not the case he would not have been elected. You can't say that he lied his way into office, because he did not. He echoed people's perception of truth rather than molded it.

Langosta in reply to MagicMoneyFrog

#1 My family are all naturalized American citizens. At every naturalization ceremony, the Democrats have a table registering the new American citizens to vote, and handing them a pile of Democrat campaign literature. And that is fine. That's exactly the way political parties should grow. The Republicans are lazy for not having similar tables set up at these ceremonies. The Democrats have gained a fair advantage in registering naturalized citizens to vote. So, you know that they want to get as many illegals in here as possible amnesty them in as citizens, and register them legally to vote as Democrats.

#2 The Democrats are always yapping about how Hispanics are becoming their major voting constituency. So, you know they are going to promote the entry of as many as possible, legally via the existing quotas, quasi-legally as fake "refugees," or illegally as "undocumented workers" who will be amnestied and naturalized.

#3 The Democrats oppose voter ID. They want illegals to vote even before they become naturalized. One of them just got caught in Texas and sentenced to eight years in prison* for voting illegally in every election since 2004. The only reason she was caught was because she tried to register to vote in two counties on the same day and triggered a warning. If she'd been in California she probably would have voted illegally till she died. If she'd been in Chicago she'd been voting illegally until she died and then for eternity as a dead person.

* The Texas Jury recommended the death penalty until she pleaded for mercy on the grounds that she illegally voted Republican. Then they commuted her sentence to eight years with credit for time already served.

MagicMoneyFrog in reply to Langosta

#1 sounds legit. #2 I hear Democrats yapping about how the majority of the Hispanics in the USA vote Democrat. It wasn't always that way and there is no reason that it needs to be. Republicans should reflect upon that. I'm not sure how you convince yourself that most refugees are "fake."

#3 Is partially BS insofar as it is pretty obvious that no one can be executed for voter fraud (even in Texas); the Supreme Court has ruled that people can only be executed for murder. But I do think that if more and more people are getting worried about voter fraud- regardless of the extent that those fears have a basis in reality- we should implement voting reforms directed at both verifying the citizenship of voters and making it easier to vote for people who are citizens. We should also set up electoral courts of the sort that exist in so many other democracies to protect against voter fraud and other types of electoral irregularities. It would cost tax dollars to accomplish this, but if that is what people want they should get it.

Langosta in reply to MagicMoneyFrog

#3 EXECUTION FOR VOTER FRAUD was my gullibility detector. I use it to test you and Nicky. It's like fishing in a barrel!

You guys are pretty fair minded, and I enjoy the exchanges. I sometimes exaggerate a point, like the execution of the Texas voter, to see who'll believe it.

Now that I think about it, I'm wondering if it really is all that far-fetched that a Texas jury would execute a person who voted illegally for Democrats? Maybe it is more plausible than I thought :-)

Langosta in reply to MagicMoneyFrog

btw. on the "fake" refugee story: Notice how many "refugees" are fleeing the USA to Canada now that Trump has been elected President:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/more-refugees-come-into-emerson-1...

At least 22 more asylum seekers, baby, cross into Manitoba Sunday
The refugee claimants fleeing the United States are the latest to cross into Canada
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Why are all these "refugees" fleeing from Minnesota to Canada, when the immigration problem is supposed to be with Mexico?

It's because these people were Somali "refugees" whose status was denied. The were allowed to enter the USA while pretending to be "refugees." But instead of leaving the USA as ordered, after their refugee request was denied, they stayed on illegally! Obama didn't care about that. They were never made to leave the country. So, here is documentation of "fake" refugees in the hundreds.

Aside from that, some of the Colombians in my family came to the USA as "refugees" during the war with the guerrillas and narcos. That was a bogus program too because:

1. They were never in any danger. They came to the USA to get jobs here, not because they were refugees from the Colombian government.

2. As soon as they worked 10 years year and qualified for Social Security and Medicare they went back to Colombia. The very instant they qualified for Social Security Colombia suddenly became as safe as their mother's arms.

I don't believe there are any legitimate "refugees." There may be a few asylum seekers who need to come to the USA because they fought for us in Afghanistan and Iraq, and perhaps helped us in a few other countries. We owe those people and their families a place in the USA because they put their lives at risk helping us. But they are asylum seekers, not refugees.

Lugh in reply to MagicMoneyFrog

@ MagicMoneyFrog "…if more and more people are getting worried about … regardless of the extent that those fears have a basis in reality- we should implement…"

Isn't that approach getting too close to eliminating the wall between church and state? I mean, surely the country can't afford to start implementing based on every delusion which attains some level of popularity.

ashbird in reply to MagicMoneyFrog

MMF,
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Section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides the official legal definition of a Refugee.
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Per information provided on the Official Website of Department of Homeland Security, Asylum Status is a form of protection available to people who: (1) meet the definition of refugee; (2) are already in the United States; (3) are seeking admission at a port of entry.
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Also according to Dept. of Homeland Security a person may apply for asylum in the United States regardless of the person's country of origin or current immigration status.
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So those are the official definitions in accordance to the law of the land - until, of course, the law is changed or rescinded, AND of course, Congress can change the law any time it wishes.
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It is very confusing who is a "Leftie" and who is a "Rightie" and who is a "Liberal" and who is a "Conservative", from reading the comment entries.
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I gather from some of the entries 2 things: (1) According to self-qualified Conservative/Rightie, there is no law. OR if there is law, it doesn't mean anything, for law is made to be broken, including the law on perjury and subornation of perjury; (2) Judges, especially the 9 who sit in the highest Court of the land, are the last people who know anything about law, for they are the creme de la creme of "so-called judges".
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Tropicana312 in reply to MagicMoneyFrog

Absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence.
And all empirical data on geographical distribution of election outcome shows that migrants (mostly mass migrants) are vote for left leaning parties; not because they are Liberal, but because Left parties do their bidding in return for block votes.
Only exception would be brain drain migrants from Asia, India, and to lesser extent Eastern Europe, who have more discretionary political preference.
All in all, migration and favourable outcome for Left have significant positive correlation.

Frank Wiebe

I disagree. If somebody doesn't know anything but pretends to know something, this is a lie, if it's done intentionally. Believing ones own lies doesn't change the fact they are lies, except for people who are completely nuts.

ashbird in reply to Frank Wiebe

I think if/when "somebody doesn't know anything but pretends to know something", AND "it's done intentionally", the act is more accurately characterized as "BLUFFING".
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Generally, people who know they don't know bluff. They do so for coverup.
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All the wisdom to no avail in the adage: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
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You will find a learned and erudite person knows the purview of what he/she knows and is wise not to speak beyond it.
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We encounter bluffs frequently in cyberspace. The degree to which a bluff bluffs reflects how little the person actually knows. These folks are also generally very rude and resort to name-calling when their ignorance is exposed (more often without anyone's help) They also resort to deflecting and shifting the subject, believing the move will spare them the embarrassment.
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Then there are people who actually believe in their own *bluff*. Wee-hour-of-the-night tweets on Twitter by a currently very famous person provide us with abundant examples.
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The tweets also provide us with excelllent examples of the depth of the ignorance of the tweeting person.
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__________________
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LYING is different. Although it often co-occurs with BLUFFING.
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An example of lying would be: X know he/she is married and have 3 kids, but X tells Y he/she is single, never married, and has no kids. That is a lie.
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In that hypothetical, sometimes one liar meets another liar. For example, both X and Y tell the other they are single, never married and have no kids, when both are married and have kids. And so they proceed to bed each other on the belief the other is single, never married and no kids. This is the best example of one liar deserves the other.
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ashbird

What a fun and instructive read. Thanks, Johnson!
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Indeed, precision in reporting of facts is not only a matter of professionalism, it is of legal significance. Cf. New York Times v. Sullivan (1964).
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Also, it is important to emphasize the difference between a statement of FACT and a statement of OPINION.
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An opinion cannot be a lie. Example: “I am the most un-racist person you have ever met and will ever meet in your entire life”.
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But a knowing mis-statement of a FACT is a lie. Example: Comparing the actual aerial photos of an inauguration that show a smaller crowd than the crowds in other inaugurations, a reporter reports: “This is the biggest inauguration crowd in history.” That statement is a lie. UNLESS one crucial clinical feature is present - organicity.
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Then there was the story of Carl Ponti smiling when a guy told him: “My wife is more beautiful than your wife”.
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ashbird in reply to ashbird

PS: In the interest of brevity without sacrificing precision in content and scope, above comment assumes full and complete knowledge of NYT v. Sullivan, as well as the entire content, both theory and practice, covered by Kaplan and Sadock, Latest Edition.

A. Andros

The NYT, like the WaPo, broadcast network news, and many other outlets, have disgraced themselves. They are merely agitprop mouthpieces for the Manhattan/Inside the Beltway chattering classes.

If Mr. Trump believed what he said then he did not lie. No reporter, and certainly not the mediocrities who write for the NYT, can assess what is in another's mind.

What a journalist CAN do is to research and verify facts -- and no one in the NYT or the WaPo has done that regarding accusations of voting fraud. An obscure Miami reporter documented 94 instances of Illegals voting a while back -- and that is just one reporter!

Are we supposed to believe that there is no electoral fraud in Cook County or Detroit? Are the big city Democratic machines incapable of cooking the results?

The NYT reporters, like all the rest, just bray over and over the liberal mantra that no voter fraud exists but never actually do what the Miami reporter did -- research the issue for himself.

Mr. Obama famously said "If you like your doctor, you can keep him." Is Barak Hussein, then, a liar? Perhaps. Or, perhaps, the ACA is so complex that even he, its progenitor, cannot keep it all straight. Factually, he was a liar. In human terms, he was probably as confused as the rest of us.

What the NYT now reports is fake news -- its own form of lying. Three reporters contributed to that rag's "reporting" on the Ferguson incident and every article they filed began with the phrase "unarmed, black teenager" in the first few sentences. This was an attempt to deceive the reader. First, "unarmed" does not mean "not dangerous." (Any number of battered women can attest to that) Then, too, the "teenager" was not out of the Archie comics and could just as easily have been described as "a burly young adult who had just robbed a store and strong-armed its owner." But, such an accurate description would force the NYT to tell the truth -- and it prefers to lie.

One specific incident of liberal (NYT) fake news remains from over ten years ago when a front page headline in that dying newspaper announced "Thirty-one percent of those polled disagree with Bush's policies." Factually true . . . in essence, fake news. For, the REAL story was that sixty-nine percent of those polled agreed with Bush's policies!

The anti-Trump hysteria has turned such liberal outlets into whores. (In the case of the NYT, madams.) They are so choked with rage that they distort and pervert the news and, as with the question of fraudulent voting, do not even bother to do research.

"Whom the gods would destroy they first make angry."

The liberal media is angry as hell.

Let's hope the gods complete the process.

guest-ajwsjeaa in reply to A. Andros

You referred to the NYT as a "dying" newspaper "ten years ago".

Do you have evidence it was dying? Did you do your research then? Have you done your research now?

Has NYT died?

Or are you writing "Fake News"? And who are you, to borrow your own brilliant taxonomy, "whoring" and "madaming" for?

modernpublius in reply to A. Andros

I am told that, in order to qualify as a business in the eyes of the IRS, one has to make money at least two years out of seven. Otherwise it is considered a hobby and the expenses are not tax deductible. Perhaps the NYT should be considered someone's hobby.

Kenneth711

Reporters can lie as well as any politician. In 1961 The New York Times told a huge lie. They published a front page story about the meeting between Dag Hammarskjold and Congo authorities. The problem was Hammarskjold was killed in a plane crash on the way to the meeting. Due to time differences, the meeting would take place AFTER the deadline for publishing the morning edition of the NYT so the paper decided to print the story they had pre-written to sell papers knowing the event had not taken place.

The NYT just published a story about contact between Trump staffers and Russian intelligence agents EXCEPT at the end of the article, the writer had to admit they did not know if the Russians were actually intelligence officers. That was pure speculation. They also had to admit that they did not know the nature of the contact nor the topics discussed. Again, pure speculation. The whole article was a lie intended to deceive and was willingly accepted by Trump haters like birthers accepted that Obama was a Kenyan born Muslim.

The biggest liars of all are the believers. They lie to themselves. A few days ago a tweet went out from General Flynn saying he had been made a scapegoat for Trump and that is why he resigned. Nancy Pelosi held a news conference where she denounced Trump for scapegoating Flynn. The problem is the tweet was a total fake. The account did not belong to Flynn. It was using his name AND was clearly not verified as belonging to the real Flynn. But Pelosi so wanted to believe the lie that she accepted it and made a public fool of herself with a public announcement.

As the old TV show saying never went, "Trust no one as the truth is not out there."

guest-ojnelwj

“When politicians lie”. I expected a thoughtfully balanced, perhaps even humerous, round up of past and present examples from a range of these senior public office holders. Yet no mention of the UK’s three term prime minister (and now controversially multi-millionaire) Tony Blair, nor of the EU’s president Jean-Claude Juncker, nor the many more who on occasion abused the truth. Were they all unquestionably honest souls? Instead we had to suffer 15 mentions of president Donald Trump who is less than one month in the White House. By all means include him but please stop every other Economist article listing and leaning so badly. Like overused clichés the effect is to make readers weary of it all and groan - as you so rightly warn in your own TE Style Guide.

Omricon in reply to guest-ojnelwj

This is a different scale. Most politiciansin your example have engaged in a sort of optimistic use of statistics or statements which are probably wrong but difficult to prove.
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Trump is an order of magnitude higher on the falshood scale. As you are commenting in a language blog, you should know the difference.
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If politicians can be pushed back to Blair and Clinton and Bush levels of lies then that is progress now compared to what we have.