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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  • Dean Gulberry
    commented 2016-07-22 05:46:23 -0700
    LOLOLOL. 30 years of documented corruption and you’re still clinging to the idea that it’s all b/c of gender. The Clintons are BOTH rotten, untrustworthy people. Bill is a man. Does that help?
  • Susan Bordo
    commented 2016-07-22 03:58:26 -0700
    Good piece! Can I also recommend my recent Huff Po post?
  • shanball
    commented 2016-07-22 02:35:01 -0700
    “PolitiFact has generally devoted an equal amount of time analyzing Republicans (191 statements, 50.4 percent) as they have Democrats (179 stories, 47.2 percent)”.
  • Seán Quinn
    commented 2016-07-21 22:13:33 -0700
    Trump can suck Hillary’s cock. I’m voting for the comet that lands on both of them..
  • Alex Theodosis
    commented 2016-07-21 22:06:29 -0700
    Politifact is a branch of the Tampa Times, who owns the Tampa Times you may ask? It’s Paul Tash, a member of Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC. Outside researchers have shown Politifact to be extremely biased. Through 2011, 119 “Pants on Fire” ratings were given to Republicans/Conservatives as opposed to 13 for Democrats/Liberals… It’s not hard to make a chart look how you want it to if you skew all your “research”…
  • Robert Grayson
    commented 2016-07-21 20:23:14 -0700
  • Lou Watson
    commented 2016-07-21 19:01:58 -0700
    Nice article.
  • Chris Stork
    commented 2016-07-21 17:37:31 -0700
    Joeseph Evans, youtube videos are not clear evidence. many of them are edited and/or doctored. I pity the gullible and ignorant who look to youtube for evidence of anything.
  • Solnichka Frankenstein
    commented 2016-07-21 17:21:40 -0700
    All politicians lie, as this infographic points out—some (Republicans, mainly) just lie more than others.

    Remember, basic psychology tells us the defense mechanism of projection is rather common, and Trump—more than anyone else—seems to embody this theory more than anyone else. The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.

    Welcome to Nazi America 2016. Seriously, no one with a brain should be voting for Trump, because he lies and then points fingers at others for doing the same (falsely, usually). He’s like a third-grade bully on the school playground, and somehow, people think he’s real.
  • Joseph Evans
    commented 2016-07-21 15:05:27 -0700
    Part of the ongoing problem with the current political system is that party dynamics, although both wings of this two headed snake are essentially the same, requires an excess of divisive rhetoric. Currently, we have elements of both parties willing to take up arms in revolution as to which party gets to enforce the draconian rules.
    America needs to get away from this and go with a third party candidate that advocates for a United America, a rainbow coalition that integrates all the diversity that America has to offer, in order to put America back on the path as the beacon of Democracy and brotherly love we always wanted to be.
  • Michael Edelman
    commented 2016-07-21 14:53:16 -0700
    There’s also the case of Hillary’s amazing profits in cattle future trading- a success unparalleled except by other politicians. By the time the Washington Post discovered it, the statute of limitations had passed, and no one could be prosecuted, and the pertinent records at the brokerage had been conveniently “lost.” It remains such a blatent and notorious example of securities fraud that it’s still taught in finance classes.
  • Michael Edelman
    commented 2016-07-21 14:50:28 -0700
    To Mr. Farnsworth: If you go to YouTube, you’ll find hours of video in which Hillary Clnton speaks to the need to keep out illegal Mexican immigrants, and then attacks other for saying the same thing. You’ll hear her claiming she and her daughter landed “under sniper fire.”

    You can also hear her claiming that she had only one digital device, that she turned over all her emails to the FBI and congress, that she never passed confidential information on an unsecured server, that she didn’t destroy emails sought by investigators, and that she was completely truthful before congress, and to FBI investigators. You can also find the director of the FBI testifying that every one of these statements was a lie.

    If you’re curious, you can go to the websites of the various charity rating agencies and discover that none of the leading ones will rate the Clinton family charity and the charity hides too much information. You’ll also learn that the charity pays a lot of the personal and travel expenses of the Clinton family, and only spends 15% of its actual outgo on charitable programs. 85% is “expenses.”

    There are newspaper articles in the New York Times and other papers that have backed th Clintons showing how foreign dictators have gotten favorable treatment from the US state dep’t after making significant contributions to the Clinton fund. And we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.

    In short, there is an endless supply of clear evidence of criminal behavior and corruption by both Clintons, and the fact that you need me to point it out to you suggests that your defense of Hillary is based on something other than looking for evidence.
  • Brian Zagami
    commented 2016-07-21 14:46:10 -0700
    I hate to point this out but anything coming from the “Mormons” should be looked at with suspicion and incredulity. I say this for Mormons are already forced into a warped view of the world at birth where they are indoctrinated that Jesus Christ traveled to America and tried to tame the Narive Americans. Also the original tenants of the church were less than inclusive for those people of “color”. It’s just laughable to me that your entire religion is so obviously a patent lie created by a con artist, that you live this lie everyday, and yet you want us to believe anything you say. Even if you are correct the very basis of Mormonism make anything that comes from the church / Mormon based publications not to be believed but to be scrutinized and fact checked and scrutinized.
  • Tom Cushing
    commented 2016-07-21 14:37:47 -0700
    Pssstt … tap/tap … Michael — the facts are In The Graphic. The irrational refusal to accept them is the theme of the comments by the article’s detractors. Their cherished “butbut HILLARY!!” argument has been diminished into an empty shell.

    I would also suggest to you that the ‘decades’ have been replete with a coordinated campaign of Charges against her, very few of which have stuck. (read ‘Dark Money,’ not only for that proof, but the further demonstration of those tactics in a scurrilous conspiracy to bully and discredit the book’s author). Case in point: Butbut BENGHAZI!! — in which, after $6 million spent and ten hours of televised GOP haymaking, they never laid a glove on her.

    Y might want to read the essay linked above, about how our culture tends to discredit the veracity of women, in general. It’s pretty good.
  • Kevin Farnsworth
    commented 2016-07-21 14:29:06 -0700
    @michael Edelman “…none of the Hillary supporters posting here actually marshal facts to support their case.”
    LOL Did you “marshall any facts” regarding these many so-called lies? Nope!
  • Yenelli Anderson
    commented 2016-07-21 14:24:15 -0700
    It smacks of insincerity when I start checking their assessment of Sanders. is a project operated by the Tampa Bay Times, in which reporters and editors exhibit both liberal and conservative biases. So don’t just believe this pretty picture. For example, the list of “lies” suggests that Canada’s healthcare is more expensive than US. Per capita, ours is nearly DOUBLE that of Canada’s. Every “fact” they tally up here is extremely biased. In 2006, per-capita spending for health care in Canada was US$3,678; in the U.S., US$6,714. The U.S. spent 15.3% of GDP on healthcare in that year; Canada spent 10.0%.
  • Michael Edelman
    commented 2016-07-21 14:14:51 -0700
    Incidentally, I note all that none of the Hillary supporters posting here actually marshal facts to support their case. Instead, it’s just a torrent of tu quoques, ad hominems, and general personal insults. Just like Hillary herself, come to think of it.
  • Michael Edelman
    commented 2016-07-21 14:11:40 -0700
    So despite decades of evidence of lying and cheating, much of it caught on film, the real reason people dislike Hillary is… sexism? That’s an amazingly pathetic excuse. People dislike Hillary because she’s a very obvious liar, and unlike her husband, she lacks the sociopathic charm needed to get away with it.
  • Kevin Farnsworth
    commented 2016-07-21 10:45:19 -0700
    @mark Niemoller, if you would actually take the time to do a google search you would find the data compiled by Politifact is represented in the graphic. But you already have your predisposed opinion that you don’t want tarnished. I’ve done some searching for you…
  • Bryan Smith
    commented 2016-07-21 10:31:55 -0700

    You have fully misunderstood the point of Elder Rector’s quote. He was making the exact opposite point. His point (made comically) is that men need the priesthood in order to even come close to being equal with women. That women are inherently better, more influential, and more powerful. There has been many variations of this sentiment circulated in the LDS church over the years. Agree with the point or not, the quote is evidence of the opposite of what you are trying to prove.
  • Joseph Evans
    commented 2016-07-21 10:11:17 -0700
    @amber Woosley & @evan Lindsay, Conservative rhetoric aside (I read the wikileaks), I disagree strongly with the platforms both candidates are running under, so their actual honesty or integrity is only a secondary issue at this point. I am neither interested in a nationalist fascist manifesto or corporate globalist ideology. I will be voting my conscience with a third party candidate this year. Ideally Jill Stein of the Green Party, but I can find Gary Johnson preferable to both of them.
  • KateD
    commented 2016-07-21 09:45:48 -0700
    It doesn’t matter if you present a staunch conservative republican with irrefutable facts, they won’t listen to them, as we will never be able to change their skewed world-view. All they will do is spew the hate that the conservative media echo chamber loves to proliferate, most likely due to the fact that they are afraid of losing their white-male privilege. Regardless, thank you for speaking out, sir, I am incredibly impressed, and hope this piece makes a difference in the hearts of people that are willing to listen with an open mind. I also wanted to point out what another commenter also said, that the people upset about your post are all men.
  • Tom Cushing
    commented 2016-07-21 09:11:46 -0700
    Mark N: the first stage of grief for the propaganda you’ve bought-into is denial. I am sorry for your loss, but facts-is-facts — even if they are confounding to your preconceptions.

    Sooner or later, and hopefully before November, you will just have to confront the real world as it actually is, and not the one in which unicorns prance, Bigfoot prowls, and Donald Trump is fit to lead the nation.
  • Mark Niemoeller
    commented 2016-07-21 08:59:33 -0700
    The graph doesn’t appear on PolitiFact. It looks to have originated on by some guy named “Robert Mann”, and then “Rob Taber” just copied it here. It claims to be based on Politifact’s information, but there’s no way to confirm it; or verify its accuracy. As it stands, the graph has no basis; and given its strong pro-Hillary bias, along with the same bias from Taber and Mormonpress, it itself is most likely nothing but another lie.
  • Nancy Evans
    commented 2016-07-21 08:23:38 -0700
    Just another sad legacy of patriarchy. (Notice all the anger is from men)
  • Beth Huxen
    commented 2016-07-21 07:46:53 -0700
    This is an excellent article, both well written and well sourced. Thanks.
  • Brady Shackelford
    commented 2016-07-21 06:58:57 -0700
    How can Obama be at the bottom of the list? When he was running for office in 2008, he promised college students a $4,000 refundable tax credit. Most candidates make promises that we know they can’t fulfill, but, when that candidate is a former constitutional law professor who knows what a president can and cannot do under the Constitution, those empty promises are actually lies.
  • Chris Stork
    commented 2016-07-21 06:57:32 -0700
    Looks like the Benghazi bobblehead morons still want to push their favorite propaganda. Poor pitiful gullible idiots.
  • John Haldane
    commented 2016-07-21 06:51:44 -0700
    lies, damnable lies, and … statistics. Don’t believe every chart you see. This one doesn’t include Benghazi, lies before Congress by HRC, about her being under “sniper fire,” and it excuses her lie about why she was named Hillary because she later “backtracked.” They all lie and claiming HRC is better than the rest is simply the application of the statistics they chose. Quite frankly, it is much harder to find truth nowadays with so many false memes and twisted articles (like this one).
  • Kevin Krmnckr
    commented 2016-07-21 06:35:33 -0700
    Do you mean guilty of leaning right? The only flack I’ve seen them get is for repeatedly giving Democrats a ‘false’ for some something they’d give a Republican “half true” for. And true, they pick the statements so they could put bias in there, but I’ve seen them go tougher on Dems over and over and over again. Maybe the fact that both sides think they favor the other side means they’re pretty close to neutral.

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