We are all familiar with the “fact checkers” of the presidential campaign. Proud to be part of the fourth estate, these well-intentioned wonks uncover and unpack the various claims made by candidates, determining their veracity. But what if these efforts are in vain? And what if the campaigns themselves are not to be blamed? Is it possible that we are all culprits perpetuating this culture of “truthiness” on the political stage?
Is it possible to lie in a political campaign where there is no expectation of truth?
In previous columns for The Stone, I argued that the public’s trust in public speech, whether by politicians or in the media, has disintegrated, and to such a degree that it has undermined the possibility of straightforward communication in the public sphere. The expectation is that any statement made either by a politician or by a media outlet is a false ideological distortion. As a result, no one blames politicians for making false statements or statements that obviously contradict that politician’s beliefs. I believe that the unfolding presidential campaign provides a compelling demonstration of my previous claims.
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