Lying Liars Who Lie: 2016 Edition

It was the picture that shattered all of our records.

Who_Lies_More.pngThe idea behind it is simple enough. Take the politicians who have been active enough on the national stage to get fact-checked by PolitiFact at least 50 times since the start of 2007. Look at all of their ratings and tally them. Place the tally in the chart. Not scientific by any means, but interesting. (Update 7/21/2016: Trump's "truthiness" rating, to use Nolan's criterion in his comment of "true" + "mostly true," currently sits at 11%, which is a small gain from the ~7% when the chart was made, but still well behind Michele Bachmann. Hillary's "truthiness" is at 51%, which is largely unchanged. Again, this chart is not scientific and the post is more about the response to the chart than the chart itself.)

We didn't create the graphic (the original image is here), but we shared it on our Facebook page. It promptly shattered all previous benchmarks for reach and engagement by a factor of at least 20. Almost a hundred people were so shocked by it that they hid it in their newsfeeds; twenty-seven decided they never wanted to see anything shared by MormonPress ever again; one person unliked our Facebook page.

Judging by the comments, the harsh response wasn't because the graphic claimed that Jeb(!) Bush and Joe Biden are relatively honest politicians. No, our commenters were infuriated that Hillary Clinton was rated as being rather honest. Many of the comments on the photo can be summarized as "Hillary's a lying liar who lies." One commenter suggested that Mormon "would not stand for [MormonPress's] lies." Well, I guess we'll have to ask him down the road.

But it's clear that there's something special going on regarding the public's perception of Hillary's honesty. Just today, the Blue Nation Review called out the New York Times for saying that Donald Trump (who lies constantly, particularly about being against the Iraq War) is "being creative with the truth" instead of "dishonest." I recommend reading the piece in full for the list of ways that attributes that are positives for male candidates ("experience") become negatives for Hillary ("old," "represents the past"). 

This tendency to read Hillary through a particular frame of "dishonest" isn't rooted in her record, especially not when one compares her to Donald Trump, the pretend successful. A journalist who has investigated Hillary claims that she is fundamentally honest. PolitiFact has gathered many truthful statements Hillary has made. 

So what's going on?

To put it simply: in America we teach our children that women are liars.

The argument is laid out well in this essay, which I very much recommend. The essay includes frank conversations about our tendency to disbelieve rape victims, the way our inability to trust women affects public policies regarding choice and contraception. But also think about how it plays out in everyday life. When we hear two sides of a couple's dispute, how quick are we to say "well, he's a good guy" or "she's crazy" or "she needs to give him another chance"? We're quick to think that women are dominating a discussion if women are speaking for 30% of the time (and men for 70%). Within the LDS community, there are struggles regarding how much women's voices are heard at the ward, stake, and Church levels, though there's been recent movement to include more women in the highest councils. 

For female candidates, there is a greater perception of honesty, but this is a double-edged sword. Women are held to a higher standard, and punished by voters to a greater extent for perceived failings -- this is laid out in detail here. Hillary has had to walk this tightrope of being a woman trying to get things done in public--in ways that challenged patriarchal norms even as those norms were changing--for a long time now. It shouldn't come as a surprise that she's paid a price in voter perceptions. 

One more example: In an earlier era of church history, at the height of the ERA struggles, Elder Hartmann Rector of the First Quorum of the Seventy explained to Mrs. Teddie Wood that if women were to receive the priesthood, "the male would be so far below the female in power and influence that there would be little or no purpose for his existence [—] in fact [he] would probably be eaten by the female as is the case with the black widow Spider." 

I presume that Elder Rector (who became an emeritus General Authority many years ago) was speaking from his own feelings when he hypothesized that women with power or authority are inclined to physically consume men. Yet, we see these anti-woman attitudes throughout the Trump campaign.

And it isn't just Trump's objectifying and belittling of women, particularly women who challenge him; it carries through the memes shared by the people he's invited to join him on stage in Cleveland. 

Trump's misogyny has roots in a long American tradition of misogyny. Read the essay on how we teach our children that women are liars, reflect on it, and think about how we can improve. Even if you decide that you can't vote for Hillary, that your vote is going to Johnson or Stein or whoever else, the essay is still worth the read.

After all, it was Mormon who told us to learn from the mistakes of the past, so we can be more wise than those who came before.

Showing 104 reactions

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  • Jerry McIntire
    commented 2016-07-23 11:11:59 -0700
    Thanks Rob Taber for an excellent and brave piece.
  • Jerry McIntire
    commented 2016-07-23 11:09:05 -0700
    @mark Schwendau it’s a simple calculation. 51% truth telling is much more than 7 or 11%. Is it possible that Republicans generally don’t tell the truth more than the Democrats on this chart? Yes. Saying Hillary is a criminal and a liar doesn’t make it true.
  • David Theriault
    commented 2016-07-23 10:48:54 -0700
    Concerning that quote of Elder Rector’s — he wasn’t insinuating that powerful women are “inclined to physically consume men”.
    He was making an analogy, implying that society would eventually value men and fathers as nothing more than sperm donors — as is the perceived role of the male black widow. To the point that men might as well be consumed or thrown away after impregnating the female.
  • Mark Schwendau
    commented 2016-07-23 09:02:35 -0700
    I will make it real simple for all the Democrats posting here trying to muddy the waters… Hillary Clinton is a criminal liar. She belongs in prison. She is a habitual liar and deceiver dating back to 1974 when she got kicked out of the Watergate investigation. My parents taught me right from wrong and to always side with the law and right over wrong. Today, I get the impression many Democrats either had no parents or had parents ineffective at parenting skills. I guess some of them wont get it until the decisions of corrupt people in power directly impact them in their lives. Pretty narrow minded and selfish.
  • Steve Salisbury
    commented 2016-07-23 08:48:18 -0700
    There are multiple issues with this article.
    1. It’s pretty well documented that Politifact is heavily biased toward the democratic agenda. Google “politifact bias” and find multiple articles. Of course I don’t believe everything I find on the internet – which is why, in part, I don’t believe Politifact.
    1a. Related: How is it possible that all republicans lie more than all democrats? This data alone proves my point above. You have to be a fool to believe that democrats are more honest, generally, than republicans.
    2. There is no discussion about the severity or impact of the lies. I can tell my wife that I forgot the bread – when I never wanted it in the first place. Or I can tell my wife that I was working late when I was really out having an affair. The severity of the two lies are significantly different.
    3. The article talks about Trump’s anti-women commentary without offering any evidence. It also never mentions the severity of Clinton’s lies regarding Benghazi and email servers. It’s quite evident that Mormon Press and this author are biased. This is not a news article, it is an opinion piece, and should be labeled as such.
  • William A Harris Jr
    commented 2016-07-23 08:46:49 -0700
    Put party politics aside for a moment, because we have a much bigger problem here. What this chart says is that we are essentially being lied to or given something other than the actual truth roughly 85% of the time by this group of people, which all hold leadership positions within our government. If they are in any way indicative of the entire lot of people in government, we are in beyond serious trouble. This is entirely unacceptable. How can We The People be expected to make informed decisions, have one iota of respect for people this deceptive, or have any faith in our government? We have got to start demanding the truth out of our leaders and accepting nothing less. We must begin electing ethical people of true unwavering character 100% of the time, or we are doomed. What scares me the most is the question, do people of this caliber even exist anymore?
  • Fake Keith
    commented 2016-07-23 06:01:16 -0700
    Considering that the Clintons specialize in parsing their statements and saying things that are ambiguous and technically true in the interest of serving a wider obfuscation, this whole exercise is contrived bullshit.

    You lefties have consciences, too, and you’re struggling with Hillary just as much as the Republicans are struggling with Trump. Instead of lying to yourselfves to make her look better, vote for Gary Johnson instead!
  • Mark Schwendau
    commented 2016-07-23 04:07:17 -0700
    Hillary is a pathological liar and I am honestly surprised Lynch is not her running mate after the solid Loretta did for her.
  • Kelly Whaley
    commented 2016-07-22 22:14:53 -0700
    This is nothing more than spin to make Hillary look better(not that I think Donald Trump is honest). Hillary could say “her name is Hillary” (one truth), she is married to Bill (two truths) and she never maintained a personal account with top secret information (one lie). That has her batting .667. But it takes no account of the seriousness of the lie, how long the lie was maintained or attempts to cover up the lie. This doesn’t even take into account the subjectivity of what is a lie and what isn’t (Bill Clinton:“I did not have an affair with Jennifer Flowers for five years” – it was for seven years, so technically, this wasn’t a lie). The other part of this is not every untruth is a lie. They can often be mistakes and one thing I have noticed Trump does often given his shooting from the hip. Hillary does not shoot from the hip. Everything she says is scripted. If she says something that is not true, it is usually for a specific reason.

    So, on the face of this this analysis, I would have to call it around 30% truthful. I think it might be useful for showing how careful an individual is (assuming it came from a credible source), but that is about it. the conclusion that Hillary is somehow “OK” on truthfulness is as silly as “Benghazi was because of a video” or “I only have a blackberry”, etc.
  • Mark Schwendau
  • Randal Sterling
    commented 2016-07-22 20:52:37 -0700
    Honesty has become quaint. In some circles there seems scant respect for truthfulness This list here lays out facts about which candidates are more truthful. Yet voters forgive their heroes when they lie— it helps them win., But if you have to lie to win an argument, you haven’t won the argument. You cheated..
  • Bill Nadeau
    commented 2016-07-22 15:52:00 -0700
    Anyone who believes Politifact as being unbiased must be a Gruber, as in Jonathan Gruber. “The Voter (Democrat voter) is stupid.”
  • carlos collins
    commented 2016-07-22 15:31:04 -0700
    This is the website to grab is fantastic shows the way to make money
  • Craig Merrell
    commented 2016-07-22 14:45:19 -0700
    Janet per my comment, BHO was fully aware of the failings of ACA (obamacare) prior to his presenting it to the American people.
    The inference of your comment left me shagrined, how can you imply that because we disagree with a known liars (BHO or HRC) we are somehow lacking in charity?
    George Orwell said …in a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. All of these politicians are liars and the degree of untruth doesn’t matter. My God is neither republican nor democrat (truth be told they’re the same party).
    So let’s get off our horses and accept that we are having our freedoms stolen from us by liars and take back our country from the two party monopoly and become Americans again?
  • Bill Hall
    commented 2016-07-22 14:30:59 -0700
  • Janet Errett
    commented 2016-07-22 13:46:17 -0700
    The President admits he thought everyone would keep their doctors but because of opposition to the public insurance option( like congress has) by Republicans insurance companies do more of what they want to make money off medicine. People forget the Healthcare crisis created by insurance companies dropping the sick patrons at the first chance they got. Maternity wings were shutting down. Emergency rooms were shutting down, and Trama Centers. My friend in church was killed by the insurance companies. He was scheduled for skin cancer surgery on his head. They cancelled when due to sickness he was forced to retire!!!! Un belevable! He was in the process of getting the new policy and they kept saying his skull would stop the melanoma. By the time he was scheduled again for surgery…. It took 8 mo. It had gone through his skull… It looked like it was only on the bone so they replaced it with metal. Three weeks later he couldn’t walk in Church any more …He died within a day. We are reading in Akma Church Wide for a reason. It starts teaching us about our day in Chapter 4 verse 8 and we continue to learn about why even converted Lamanites Couldn’t Bring themselves to be called Nephites to the end of Alma… In fact they called themselves ANTI Nephi Lehies! They lived in a world where privlage had you judging others as LAZY… If others didn’t think the way the Nephites did they were despised…..We are taught these things are evil. We live in a day where this is common in the Church. Where business is just business and Politics just Politics and every thing is OK. It’s not. The challenge is to keep your integrity despite the times and how hard evil is put up for good. Be like Christ and rise above it. Will you be popular? No. But YOU will recognize him when he comes again. YOU won’t be like the Pharisee and Nephites of old. We cannot force others to think the way we do. That will only be done by pure teaching and Christ like Love ( Charity) . …We are being given the opportunity to teach the world… But when the Church becomes a stumbling block to those seeking truth we are no longer needed. Redeeming God’s people is an important work. Let’s not get distracted by the world.
  • Karen Rene
    commented 2016-07-22 12:50:21 -0700
    Who made this up. What a joke…
  • Tom Cushing
    commented 2016-07-22 12:40:05 -0700
    When one party’s campaign is built on deflecting attention from its batguano-crazy fascist and heaping largely mythologic opprobrium on his opponent — and then somebody debunks the myth — the party faithful will fight like hell to deny reality. What else have they got? A wall?
  • Bill Barry
    commented 2016-07-22 12:23:01 -0700
    It’s fascinating that, once again, the vast majority of comments only want to make sure that we know that Hillary is a liar. No one seems to care about where anyone else falls on the chart.
  • Leila Fredenburg
    commented 2016-07-22 12:18:00 -0700
    Just whom is telling the truth according to some un- namedtruth…politicians lie.
  • Dan Schwartz
    commented 2016-07-22 12:12:46 -0700
    You are an utter scumbag for printing this. Ever single study done on the precieved honesty of women shows they are precieved as more honest than men. So instead of printing the truth, you use an unrelated fact about rape victims which applies to victims of both genders and a methedologically flawed analysis of who lies more to call everyone who sees her as dishonest as sexist. You must have at least googled gendered perception of honesty. There was even an article in Time magazine about it last year. You knowingly must have found that you were wrong and instead, decided to use unbelievable rape victims as a cudgel for your lie. You are a despicable human being to exploit rape victims like that. Shame on yiu and shame on your lies.
  • Neil DeBuse
    commented 2016-07-22 11:25:27 -0700
    They call this “spinning” the truth. I think Americans are smart enough not to need a color code which separates the statements made and their context from the “assessment” by the “unbiased media”.

    Why waste time trying to print this garbage, regardless of who you support. Why not just draw a picture or paint with water colors….they would be at least as informative for your purposes.
  • Craig Merrell
    commented 2016-07-22 11:07:53 -0700
    Wow where to start… Just a cursory view would show the mental gymantistics to reach these conclusions is truly astounding.
    Barack H Obama and Hillary Clinton have proven themselves to be able to PARSE words and phrases so closely there may not Techincally a Lie.
    But two examples of this parsing for BHO would be:
    Obamacare his mouthpieces
    Ezieikel Emanuel lied about keeping your doctor repeating Obamas lie.

    Paul Gruber the professor from MIT paid to lie and get the…“STUPID AMERICAN VOTERS TO VOTE FOR IT”

    Hillary Clinton:
    She was dismissed by Archibald Cox ( watergate special counsel) because of her lying and dishonest character
    Hillary was complicit in the deaths of numerous agents and American citizens. And rather than admit any guilt ( and expose the fact she and BHO were funding and outfitting ISIS and Al CIAda) she has dodged, prevaricated, parsed and lied to coverup these facts resulting in a dead ambassador

    That being said all of the people on the charts are first class liars, and we need to accept that THAT THE RELATIVE DEGREES OF UNTRUTH TOLD BY THESE POLITICAL TYPES DON’T MATTER. It points to the course nature of our society and our dumb downed populous.

    All that being said our republic is doomed as was stated by Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Toqueville
    … the republic is finished when the people can vote themselves a raise out of the public largess.

    The lies and our stupidity have brought a us to this cliff will we like lemmings jump and fall to our deaths, or will we claw back from the precipice and nullify by our moral courage the decrees of tyrannical leaders and assert again the constitution and our common Christain morals????
  • Ted Goodridge
    commented 2016-07-22 10:56:40 -0700
    Isn’t what is not the truth a lie (‘mostly’ true—like ‘mostly’ pregnant)? So the best I can hope for, according to this chart, are politicians who lie 75%-80% of the time?
  • Zachary Potter
    commented 2016-07-22 10:37:25 -0700
    Our standard shouldn’t be who lied the least or the most, we are missing the point if we judge our politicians this way. Better a poor person walk in integrity than one who is crooked in their words and a fool.
  • Karl Denton
    commented 2016-07-22 10:07:29 -0700
    This is precious, a cult based on the lies of its fraudulent founder posting an article about liars…
  • Tom Cushing
    commented 2016-07-22 08:26:43 -0700
    You gymnasts are in for a very tough week coming up — and beyond.
  • Robert Tarabella
    commented 2016-07-22 08:17:11 -0700
    It’s the quality of the lies that matters. Lying to Congress, lying to the FBI, lying to families of deal embassy officials matter a little bit more than other statements.
  • Arnold Friend
    commented 2016-07-22 06:12:19 -0700
    In keeping with the spirit of Hillary’s college mentor, Saul Alinsky, here is a radical thought:
    What if Politifact is also biased? What if the choices they make in what to cover and how to frame the narrative, despite their vigorous objections, paint a more pleasant and flattering a picture of Hillary? What if they are applying a sort of false-false equivalency, picking nits at minor rhetorical flourishes of Trump’s while qualifying some of Hillary’s biggest lies by suggesting, as usual, that we can’t prove it since she did such a good job of covering and stonewalling (i.e. deleting 30,000 emails at her discretion)?
    In other words—-this is gonna sound crazy—-what if Hillary and her cohorts were (gasp) lying about how much they lie?
    I’ve seen this talking point floating around more and more, so I am guessing that it’s coming directly from the Hillary. As for the Mormon Press, I had never heard of it, but clearly it has its tilt and agenda, and I will certainly be blocking this tripe from entering my news feed in the future.
  • Bryan Maloney
    commented 2016-07-22 06:01:15 -0700
    This is interesting, but it lacks analytical rigor. Fortunately, I have done an analysis on a similar group of politifact subjects, specifically those would-be candidates for the US Presidency as of January, 2016 (plus Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi as reference points). My analysis does not grossly contradict the chart, but it does provide context and somewhat more rigorous clustering of the individuals in question. It can be found at
    I hope people take a look and get some value from it.

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