Thursday, August 09, 2012

Defining Our Terms: Untruth

With the presidential cycle upon us, it is becoming painfully clear that we need to sit everyone down and explain language to them. This means YOU if you watch FoxNews, MSNBC, read Reddit, or basically any other political blog. Remember, this simple truth:


NOT EVERY NON-TRUTH IS A LIE.

Before calling someone a "liar", "blatant liar", or "stinking liar", consider these definitions:
Lie: Speaking an untruth while knowing it to be untrue, with an intention to deceive. (ex. "Jimmy broke the vase, but lied and claimed that Donny did it, hoping to avoid punishment.)

Mistake: Speaking an untruth, because you do not know it to be untrue. (ex. "The Bush administration was mistaken in claiming there were WMDs in Iraq.")

Pander: Speaking with the intent to flatter or reinforce the beliefs of an audience, without special focus on precision. (ex. "President Obama pandered to the Democratic audience by saying that George W. Bush was the worst president in history.")

Argue/Debate: Making a point in an attempt to convince the other side, or defend your own position. This may include data which is not fully accepted by both sides. (ex. "Mitt Romney cited the Rasmussem report in his argument for lower taxes, but critics dismiss the study as flawed.")

Blather/Bloviate: Speaking without thinking - often while tired and distracted - which may lead to pandering, argument, and mistakes. (ex. "After his 10 day whirlwind tour, John McCain wearily blathered on, at one point claiming Senator Obama was born in Kenya.")
Thank you. Please be more careful in your rhetoric. You may now return to your regularly scheduled election season.

1 comment:

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