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Lies, Slander, and Politics: Why Politicians Should Be Prosecuted
Lets face it: politicians have an inherent reputation for lying. This is popular belief, and unfortunately popular practice among politicians. However, why is this allowed? Politicians seem to get away with saying whatever they want about their competition in elections without any repercussions, even if it is clearly false. This is insane, especially considering that these are the people we are choosing to lead our country and decide our future.
The Lies Of Politicians
In looking at lies there can be argument about what lying is. From little white lies to lying by omission, there are many smaller forms of lying besides clearly manipulating the truth or flat out lying - however ALL of these ways of lying happen in politics no matter which office it is.
Most recently between the Romney and Obama campaigns there have been many lies. Romney is clearly misleading in some cases, where Obama is just silent in others. Some of the most striking lies have come from the Romney camp. Considering neither side has to have proof of what they say it is not surprising, but Romney has clearly taken sound bites and quotes out of context to create issues and mud slinging.
Most famously is the "We Built This" Campaign. What was this incident?
1. Obama gave a speech about the government helping people. (Funding, loans, power grid, support, public roads, all run by the government.) A Romney ad made it sound like Obama was saying that business owners didn't build on their own and was trying to take credit, or the government was trying to take credit.
2. Irony? Romney gave a similar speech at the Salt Lake Olympics telling Olympians they didn't get their on their own, they had support of their friends, family, and funders.
3. Second irony? A business owner in the commercial got close to 1 million in funding from the government to make his business...
Problem: Taking a sound bite and manipulating it to say something the president didn't mean.
The problem with technology is you can make people say anything you want. Below is a parody clip that is really mean to Romney showing what manipulating sound bites can really make people say, and how realistic things can look even though clearly he isn't saying what he is saying in this "commercial"
Lies, Slander, and the Law
Defamation, slander, libel etc. is a statement or claim that is implied/said to be factual that could give a negative image about a person, business, product, place, etc. In common law slander is a malicious statement or report (spoken) where libel is a written statement.
In less words, it is against the law to say anything bad about other people - especially if it is not true.
Of course, there are ways around this with freedom of speech but it mainly comes down to needing proof to say certain things.
This leads to the point: How are politicians able to say whatever they want, without proof, and get away with it? Public figure doctrine with absence of malice protects the press from lawsuits if it is published without knowing it is false and/or with absence of malice. However, politicians are not press, nor are they without absence of malice, nor are they without knowing it is false - you can easily disprove a lot of statements politicians have made.
Under the law, politicians should clearly be prosecuted for slander and libel.
Prosecution For A Better Future
As stated - politicians should be prosecuted for slander and libel because the law clearly is against them. However, socially we should be prosecuting them because of the pure logic of the situation: Politicians decide our future. Politicians create laws that govern our well being, our education, our health, our wages, and our economy. Why would we allow people who have that much power over our lives to lie without repercussions? In the presidential race everyone seems to shrug off the need for proof in statements as mud is slung back and forth where it is actually against the law to do so - but of course morally wrong to do such things and in the end, bad for our future to allow this to continue.