Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spin and the Truth – Mortal Enemies

By: Annoyed By Things

I know I have been harping the Elizabeth Warren’s mistaken (demonstrably so) assertion that she is part Cherokee, but this is not really about that.  Why would anyone change or embellish details of their life history – because it might make a better story.  Or it might place them in a protected or entitled class in the perverse notion that anyone should really care where someone is from or what they look like rather than what they have accomplished.  But let’s face it, if you are trying to make yourself special or take advantage of a good deal available to only a select segment of society, why not spin things in your favor, even if they are a little loose with the facts.

I’ll tell you why - because, the truth never goes away.  When I was a teenager my mother explained to me that as parents, they would always find out what I had done, so it was better to tell the truth.  And they were uncannily able to do just that even if it was weeks or even months later.  I would add that I used the same line with my kids after I learned the secret.  Parents play a zone defense and talk to one another, they join the PTA and they chat up the local cops, so nothing goes on in small town America without someone you know finding out about it. 

So why do politicians, who know people will dig and who know people will see a conspiracy in any inconsistency, continue to put forth spinned up versions of themselves?  Because over time it becomes too hard to correct the mistake and perhaps they start to believe their own propaganda. 

Case in point: reports (see article here) that they have found a literary agent’s 1991 published bio blurb for a young new author named Barack Obama.  The write up is innocent enough, but it clearly states that he was, “born in Kenya.”  Now why would a publisher write that and why would an up and coming author sign off on such an inaccurate statement.  Because the story sounds just a little bit more impressive, a little bit more of beating the odds, if Obama is from Kenya, rather than some smart kid from Hawaii. 

So here we are again with an innocuous false statement (I believe out President is a U.S. citizen born in Hawaii) from a politician’s past, made when it was in their self-interest to do so. But, now a liability because it shows their disingenuous, get ahead at any cost, nature.  The smart thing for both Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama to do now is to simply admit it was a mistake – Warren is no Cherokee and Obama is no Kenyan.

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