By Dr. E. Faye Williams
TriceEdney — A wise sage once said, “A lie can run around the world before the truth has gotten its shoes on.” Assessing the performance of Republican presidential candidates in the current campaign,” I can only assume that those responsible for their coaching used that quote as foundation for their last preparation because the lies were flying fast and furious!
As with the quote of Lady Gaga who said, “I’m telling you a lie in a vicious effort that you will repeat my lie over and over until it becomes true”, numerous people have used words to that effect. Over the past seven years we’ve seen this strategy successfully used by the “Republican Right” to diminish confidence in President Obama’s Administration, while approving no initiatives to spark economic recovery in our nation.
Arguably, the most fact-checked and refuted claim made during the debate came from Carly Fiorina. She asserted that 92 percent of the job losses in President Obama’s first term belonged to women. Unfortunately, she was using a flawed and dated talking point from Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful 2012 campaign. While it was true that job losses from the recession continued to increase during the early period of President Obama’s first term (and wo-men lost a higher percentage of those jobs), by the end of President Obama’s first term, both men and women gained jobs.
The most obvious effort to obfuscate and distort the truth with double-talk came from the mouth of Ben Carson who denied a “relationship” with Mannatech, a manufacturer of nutritional supplements. It’s easy to understand Carson’s reluctance to acknowledge a relationship or involvement with the company since it had paid a seven mil-lion dollar settlement to resolve a deceptive marketing lawsuit. Mannatech’s claim that their supplements could cure autism and cancer couldn’t be substantiated with empirical data and, accordingly, the company was discredited in the marketplace.
Carson’s only admission was that he made a couple of speeches for Mannatech and that he believes their product to be a good product. He also called allegations of a connection beyond the speeches “Total Propaganda!”
Yet allegations from the National Review and Wall Street Journal of a more complicated and involved relationship between Mannatech and Carson persist. These publications describe a relationship that is, at least, 10 years old and which has visual evidence of Carson endorsing and promoting Mannatech’s products. Other allegations have Mannatech funding an endowment in Carson’s name at Johns Hopkins University. Merely propaganda? You decide!
Not to be outdone, “The Donald” offered his own take on how to fool yourself into thinking your lie is working. He lied about a criticism he made about Marco Rubio and an unseemly connection with Facebook founder and billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg. Quick thinking moderator, Becky Quick, did an on-broadcast fact check that showed Trump for the liar he is. Of course, Trump ignored his lie and never directly addressed her question.
Trump has also claimed that his campaign is 100 percent self-funded, but facts show that more than 50 percent of his campaign funds come from contributors.
The danger of these lies is that the uninformed will take them as fact. Even in the face of contradicting evidence, some will never question or investigate beyond the statement. Our first task as informed political observers and voters is to learn to, at least, overcome the lies.
In a 1962 commencement address to Yale University graduates, President Kennedy said, “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears…We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” Or as my dear mother would say, “They told lies and the truth ain’t in them.”