Politics is a dirty business. People lie, cheat, and steal to attain a public office, and sometimes I wonder why. Does power corrupt people to such a degree that we no longer recognize them, or is it that politicians must live in glass houses with the Cyclopean eye of the media on them? The minute a person declares himself a candidate for public office, the media rears its ugly hydra heads and begins the attack. Did he spit on his sister back when he was 4 and she was 3? What about in school? What kind of student was he? Did he ever take a drink or smoke a questionable cigarette? Was there a reliable witness? How about a less than reliable one? Maybe I exaggerate a smidgen, but not much. If any suspicious thing exists, they’ll uncover it.
The list of lying politicians is long and never ending. The web of lies surrounding almost all forms of government is sticky and convoluted indeed and appears to spin from many different sources. And then we could mention Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, without even alluding to their particular lies. We, the people, do not forget the most blatant ones.
I think it would be really nice if we had some honest body to monitor our politicians for lies. Notice I said honest. Unfortunately, the media isn’t very trustworthy either. Many members of the media, too, have been caught lying to create sensational stories. Take for example, the CBS reporter Lara Logan. She and the producer of her story about Benghazi were both suspended back in November of 2013 for unsupported information. Supposedly, some of the report was fabricated out of thin air and unsubstantiated. Many parts of it were not properly checked for accuracy. When the report aired on “60 Minutes,” a reputable news program, people trusted it until the rest of the story came out. CBS acquired a major black eye from that incident.
Ryan Holiday at age 25 wrote a book called Trust Me, I’m Lying. He deliberately set out to manipulate the media and it worked dramatically. As the Marketing Director for American Apparel, he possessed a respectable and credible title. Also, he was an accomplished liar. He created such thorough lies that they came out believable. He sent out story after story to various news sources. He said that throughout the entire experiment, he received only one email checking his reliability.
For his manipulation, he used Help a Reporter Out (HARO), which is a service that connects sources with reporters. A reporter sends a request and anyone who wants to comment on the story responds to him. Holiday decided to respond to every request he received—even if he knew nothing about the topic. He even got an assistant to help him so they could answer more queries. In a few weeks he had more queries than he and the assistant could handle. He conned CBS with an embarrassing office story, MSNBC with a story of someone at Burger King sneezing on him, and ABC with his own supposedly personal story as an insomniac. He even pretended to be a collector of vinyl records and commented on the hobby for the New York Times.
He found it easy to perpetrate his deception and no one thought to check his credentials on the internet. It was all right there, including his self-professed deception.
Lies, lies, and more lies! We have a political campaign cranking up just now for the fall of this year, and another presidential election looms in November. What do we do when we can’t trust anybody? My solution, which I do not recommend to anyone else, is ignoring the political news completely. I love fiction but I prefer to get mine from a good novel, not from the lies of the politicians or of the media.