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Hullabaloo


Saturday, August 27, 2016

 
The Pinocchio inversion

by digby

In light of new polling showing that millennials think even Donald Trump is more honest than Hillary Clinton I thought I'd just run this again:

Lies and damn lies and Pinocchios 

Poor Adam. Duped by a liar. Never again.














There’s never been a presidential candidate like Donald Trump — 
--- someone so cavalier about the facts and so unwilling to ever admit error, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. As of August 9, about 65 percent (39 of 61) of our rulings of his statements turned out to be Four Pinocchios, our worst rating. By contrast, most politicians tend to earn Four Pinocchios 10 to 20 percent of the time. (Moreover, most of the remaining ratings for Trump are Three Pinocchios.)
Politifact has over 40 "pants-on-fire" total lies listed. Here's Trump's scorecard:



Compare that to Clinton's 


Here's President Obama's:


And yet:

As you can see Clinton and Obama are rated similarly and are probably fairly typical. Trump is not. And yet Clinton rates as more dishonest than Trump and twice as dishonest as Obama.

The Washington Post attempted to figure this out and they didn't get very far:

Clinton’s deceptions tend to be defensive — her reputation is under attack and she’s trying to save face. As determined by PolitiFact, a political fact-checking service, her false statements often come in response to scandals and allegations against her. For instance, with regard to her private email server, she has said she “never received nor sent any material that was marked as classified” and that the server “was allowed” at the time. Both proved false. 
Trump’s deceptions, by contrast, are more on the offensive, more self-promotional. He exaggerates his successes in the business world. He called his book "The Art of the Deal" the “best-selling business book of all time.” It’s not, according to PolitiFact.
 And he creates allegations against his political opponents and minority groups out of thin air, making himself appear better by comparison. Among his false statements, according to PolitiFact: Hillary Clinton “invented ISIS,” even though the group predates Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. The United States is allowing “tens of thousands” of “vicious, violent” Muslim terrorists into the country every year. This attempt to justify his ban on Muslim immigration was also found false.
That distinction between Clinton and Trump — offensive vs. defensive — has major implications for whether people view their lies as “legitimate” and morally acceptable, according to Matthew Gingo, a psychology professor at Wheaton College. 
“Me lying to get myself out of trouble is not nearly as bad as me lying to get someone else in trouble,” Gingo said. “People view defense as more legitimate, such as physical self-defense.” 
This has long been the consensus of psychological research. A 2007 study presented scenarios where people lied with varying motivations and interviewed people about how “acceptable” each lie was. They found self-protective lies (think Clinton) to be more acceptable than self-promotional lies (think Trump on his business record), which are more acceptable than self-promotional lies that harm others (think Donald Trump on Mexicans). A similar 1997 study of women found the same result, as did a 1986 study. 
So Clinton’s omissions of fact, research tells us, should be perceived better than Trump’s flagrant scapegoating. Especially considering this disparity: PolitiFact has evaluated 203 of Trump's statements and 226 of Clinton's. It rated just fewer than a third of Clinton's as "mostly false" or worse but rated 71 percent of Trump's the same way.
They're not perceived as better, however. The Post concludes that it's Clinton's desire to be honest that makes people think she isn't. Or something. They do note that experts in this across the board say that trump is completely off the charts and they all seem to wonder why it is that Clinton has such high numbers even when compared to a pathological liar.

I think Rebecca Traister has the right answer in her latest piece which delves into this growing theme of Clinton stealing the election:
It’s true that the major hit on Hillary Clinton has long been that she is untrustworthy, which makes it a short step to suggesting that her electoral victories are fraudulent. Surely some of this stems from a reputation and history particular to her. But it seems unlikely that Clinton is, by political standards, uniquely dishonest; former New York Times editor Jill Abramson has written of how her many journalistic investigations into Clintonian malfeasance revealed that Clinton was “fundamentally honest and trustworthy.” The fact that “she can be so seamlessly rendered synonymous with all things untrue,” says Tillet, is at least in part because “religious narratives tell us that women are inherently untrustworthy … The idea of woman as a liar and as evil goes back to the Bible.”
This is some deep primal stuff and non-GOP voters of all ages should take a gut check on this Clinton meme and ask themselves some hard questions. There's something wrong with it and it's not that Hillary Clinton is unusually dishonest or untrustworthy. I expect right wingers to say that. They have primitive views of women. Liberals and progressives should know better. Her policies and her record are all fair game and should be criticized. But this rampant "she's a liar" character smear is something else altogether.

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