Monday, September 26, 2016

Truthfulness and Presidential Debates

Tonight is the first debate between Clinton and Trump. This is generally considered one of the most important moments in modern politics. This blog will try not to get political, but since both candidates have been accused of failure to be truthful, it seems fair and reasonable to explore this.

CNN Money magazine has a story that several prominent publications are flatly calling Trump a liar, "The New York Times story — "A Week of Whoppers" — came out first on Saturday. PoliticoThe Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times all followed within hours."

But to be fair, Clinton's truthfulness has also been called into question, Politico magazine reports, "Though Clinton is far more practiced at sticking to defensible policy positions and recollections of history, she’s significantly more lax when addressing her own transgressions — the potential Achilles’ heel of a candidacy marred by questions of her truthfulness."

When you think of truthfulness in a campaign debate, you often recall Al Gore in 2000. The NY Times reported, "But in the last few weeks and the first debate, Mr. Gore gave the Republicans new openings. At one point in the debate he tried to one-up Mr. Bush by saying he had visited Texas fire victims along with James Lee Witt, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He later said he had made a mistake and had traveled to Texas but not with Mr. Witt.

''The grass has always been very dry under Al Gore when it comes to his habit of embellishing and exaggerating,'' said Ari Fleischer, a spokesman for Mr. Bush. ''He himself lit the fire when he did it before 35 million Americans.''"

You can't mention Al Gore without the famous gaffe attributed to him that he invented the Internet. Sorry folks, that is a perceptor, he never actually said that. But he did leave himself open. The Washington Post tells the story with his Blitzer intervew, "But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth, environmental protection, improvements in our educational system."

Of course truthfulness doesn't seem to have to apply to everyone, remember Bill Clinton saying, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman..." on TV.  And Ronald Reagan The Teflon President, could say just about anything. The term was coined by Patricia Schroeder, "As a young congresswoman, I got the idea of calling President Reagan the "Teflon president" while fixing eggs for my kids. He had a Teflon coat like the pan.

Why was Reagan so blame-free? The answer can be found in the label that did stick to him — "The Great Communicator."

Reagan's ability to connect with Americans was coveted by every politician. He could deliver a speech with such sincerity. And his staff was brilliant in playing up his strengths. They made sure the setting for any speech perfectly captured, re-emphasized and embraced the theme of that speech. And, let's be honest, Reagan told people what they wanted to hear.""

In just a few hours history will be made and clearly there will be lessons to learn about perception management.

No comments:

Post a Comment