A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Truth in Politics Tuesday

Today I start a weekly (or almost weekly) series on truth in politics, which many commenters on this blog have noted is an oxymoron. FactCheck.org states the following:

Thomas Hobbes' oft-cited phrase from 1651, "nasty, brutish and short," does not describe the 2012 presidential campaign — unfortunately. The contest so far has been nasty all right, and disregard for the truth has been brutish on both sides, in our judgment. But alas, it won't be over until Nov. 6.
Well, at least those of us who really are concerned with the truth, even in politics, can investigate and attempt to separate what is true from so much outright falsehood currently being thrown around in our campaign discourse.

From now until the election in November, every Tuesday (or almost every Tuesday) I will highlight claims from both sides being made in the campaign and will link to a political fact checking site for analysis.

Today's analysis comes from FactCheck.org. The first one concerns Governor Romney's "impossible tax promise."

The second concerns the Obama campaign's "falsifying of Romney's abortion stance, again."

May the truth prevail.


Kevin said...

Truth is one of the casualties of political campaigns. Voters understand this and have to wade through it all. Since both campaigns will put out distortions and lies we have to muddle through that. The object of a political ad is to convey a message not recite facts. Think of them like parables. Not literally true but illustrating something that is. The ad with the man who tells how his wife died because he lost his health care turns out to be full of lies and distortions but the Obama supporters will defend it by saying that the message is that your health care is at risk if Romney gets elected.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Think of them like parables. Not literally true but illustrating something that is.

Kevin, thanks for your thoughts, but I disagree with your analogy. There is a difference between illustrating a truth and distorting it. The purpose of political ads is to distort the truth or outright lie. A good parable does neither.

Kevin said...

My point was that counting the lies and distortions does not help the voters. I doubt if anyone votes for a candidate who misleads them the least. We use other factors. And we the voters give mixed messages to our candidates. We want a full range of government services without raising taxes. We want wasteful spending cut unless it is in our home district. We do not want career politicians but keep reelecting them anyway. If a candidate says we can’t have it both ways he does not get elected because we really do not want to hear hard truths. We accept lies. Campaign lies say almost as much about us as it does the candidates. How often have you heard someone say “that’s just campaign talk”? It has no affect on how we vote. In other words the candidate has to say things to please certain demographics but doesn’t really mean what he says. I did not mean to imply that campaign lies and parables are equivalent, only that they are similar rhetorical devices meant to convey messages not facts.