Do politicians tell the truth? The whole truth and nothing but? Given the extremely low confidence ratings Americans give politicians today, it’s safe to say that most Americans doubt the truthfulness of many politicians. And, in an election season, we expect to see exaggeration, hyperbole, and truth stretching. After all, politics is as much about emotion as it is about reason. But do we have “Pinocchio politics”?
Pinocchio politics is the label given to political statements, ads, and speeches that stretch the truth, tell half-truths, or even purvey actual lies. It’s named after the fabled fabricator Pinocchio, the main character in the 1883 story, The Adventures of Pinocchio. His distinguishing feature (aside from being made of wood) is his nose, which elongates when he tells lies.
Examples of Pinocchio politics today pale in comparison to the scurrilous rhetoric used in the nation’s early years. But Pinocchio politics are still with us. Here are two examples showcased by The Fact Checker at the Washington Post. (Click on the image at right to visit the Fact Checker site and read more about these examples.)
At the top of the Post Fact Checker site, right now, you’ll find a television ad in which Obama claims that Bush’s tax cuts caused the economic crisis. And, you’ll find a television ad claiming that Obama’s China policies have cost 2 million American jobs. The accuracy is questionable in both cases, according to The Fact Checker. The website lets you pick a “Pinocchio rating” for a large number of political ads, speeches, and statements.
Take a look at those postings and decide what you think. Or, right now, based on what you’ve already seen in this long campaign season, tell us …
Who has dropped the most Pinocchios on us? Romney or Obama?
Which ad gets your highest Pinocchio rating?
In tonight’s debate who do you think will get the higher Pinocchio rating?
Please, leave a Comment below.
Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.