How to Spot a Lying Politician

Posted: September 26, 2012 in controversy, politics
Tags: , , , , , ,

I hear you laughing!  Don’t all politicians lie?  Well yes, they do.  Some, however, are little white lies (also not ok by the way), but others are serious and really bad lies.  Like Nick Clegg saying they wouldn’t raise tuition fees.  Big, fat, ugly, horrible lie.  But he’s apologised, so let’s cut the guy some slack.  The problem is, all of us lie.  If you would stand up right now and say you only tell the truth, you would be lying.  But you don’t, as an individual, represent a country and all its people.  You are not a politician (if you are, can I just ask straight away “what the hell were you thinking?!”), so it’s ok.  Nobody cares about what you do in your personal life, except the people it directly affects.  Politicians, however, make decisions that affect all of us.  No matter how big of an anarchist you are, you will still be affected by governmental decisions and if they are based on lies, you have a serious problem.  So, how can you tell when a politician is lying to you?

Know Your Stuff

First of all, you are never going to spot a liar if you don’t know your stuff.  So, before you start picking apart a politician’s answer, know the question that has been posed and do your research on what the answer should be.  Research things that the politician mentions as well.  Politicians are notorious for using scientific discoveries or theories and twisting them to their own advantage, hoping that the general public will assume them to be true because they have scientific credentials.

Read between the Lines

You also need to hear exactly what the politician isn’t saying.  Very often, they won’t flat out lie, they will just not mention the truth.  For instance, if you ask a politician what they will do about a certain policy, they may simply describe how they feel about it.  That means they haven’t told you at all what they are going to do.  Not an outright lie, but lying by omission is still a lie right?

Listen Very Carefully (I Shall Say this only Once)

You must listen to each word the politician says.  Don’t confront him or her until you have listened to it again if at all possible.  Politicians have a knack of making their speeches long and drawn out, thereby hoping that nobody notices they actually say two opposing things in the speech, keeping everybody happy.  It is a known psychological fact that people only listen to what they want to hear, this is how fortune tellers turn out to always be right.  Also check what is being said with the mandate the politician released, because there may also be contradictions in there.

Be There when It Happens

Try to always hear a politician speak live.  Study their previous speeches as well.  You need to get to know the politician and the body language they generally exhibit.  Changes in body language are a good clue that a fib is being told.  Don’t trust in reading a transcript of a live interview.  You want to be able to see movement and hear the tone.

Listen to Body Language

Body language is hugely important.  If they fidget before answering a surprise question, you have spotted a major red flag.  Shifting between their feet is a clue, covering the mouth is a clue, looking away is a clue and so on.

Having said all of this, I still feel like I’m preaching to the choir or stating the obvious.  All politicians lie…  What is perhaps more interesting is how to spot a politician that tells the truth, which seems to be a contradiction in terms, or perhaps what to do once you have spotted a lying politician.  What are your thoughts?

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