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Lies, Slander, and Politics: Why Politicians Should Be Prosecuted

Updated on August 24, 2012
A common thought about politicians in general.
A common thought about politicians in general. | Source

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.

Comments

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    • NiaLee profile image

      NiaLee 

      5 years ago from BIG APPLE

      The main idea is that politicians use us to get where they want, and then let us know that we have to take it laying.

      The laws they write, the veto they use, the procedure they lead, always leave space and money for them to grow or get away with it.

      Remember Jesse Jackon's son screaming others were cheating and manipulating to sell Obama's seat? He got caught red handed and went in rehab to get way with it... was he set up? Did he participate? Why would he scream wolf if he was involved?

      Perceptions, lies, manipulations, taxes, use of government means... we are so screwed and used...but we are doing so much better than so many others.

      So, we need to stay on point and check who we are empowering when we vote. Let's not let the glitter and beautiful words cover the rotting smell of corruption and defilement.

      We can still do better.

      Love and peace to all

    • Danieljohnston profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Johnston 

      5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      That's just the point... Why are there double standards? Especially when its to determine our future. A rose by any other name is still a rose, and so is a lie by any other name still a lie. The point is, that these lies should be illegal and the perpetrators should be prosecuted.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 

      5 years ago from Southern California

      Daniel

      I am sorry but your knowledge of the law is underwhelming.

      ---

      In less words, it is against the law to say anything bad about other people - especially if it is not true.

      -----

      Truth is a complete defense against Defamation..

      Freedom of Speech is the rule, until it goes out of bounds.

      When a politician lies, it is called Rhetoric.

    • Prakash Dighe profile image

      Prakash Dighe 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas, USA

      Unfortunate but true. They claim they have been misquoted, quoted out of context or hounded by the press, and get away from any further questioning. Of course they do not make such statements in the sanctity of the Congress - or do they? i agree they should be prosecuted - the problem would well be where to begin! A point very well made!

    • sapphire99336 profile image

      sapphire99336 

      5 years ago from Kennewick, WA

      Yes, it's a great example of that.

    • Danieljohnston profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Johnston 

      5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I thought it was hilarious as well, but its also an important example of how far technology can distort the truth - double win.

    • sapphire99336 profile image

      sapphire99336 

      5 years ago from Kennewick, WA

      That parody clip is hilarious! You've made some good points. Elections should not be won and lost based on a politician's ability to mislead the public.

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