Good Liars and Bad Liars

Watching the Sunday morning news programs… NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour at 8:00 AM, CBS’s Face the Nation at 9:30 AM, Fox News Sunday at 10:00 AM, and PBS’s Washington Week at 11:00 AM… it is possible to see a wide variety of very successful and highly paid liars.

I do not refer, of course, to conservative regulars such as syndicated columnist George Will, of ABC, or either Brit Hume or Bill Kristol of Fox News.  These are all honorable, straight-from-the-shoulder men and I would challenge any liberal to disprove what they say or to successfully challenge their credibility.  On Fox News, Hume and Kristol at least get equal time with the two liberal commentators, but on NBC it is painful to watch the pained expression on George Will’s face as he suffers fools unhappily, waiting patiently for his carefully rationed ¼ of the air time.  No, I refer to the liberals who sit around the table at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and PBS… lying to us, lying to each other, and knowing that they’re lying to us and to each other. 

A good case in point was my experience of Sunday, May 8.  After watching Fox News Sunday I switched over and watched the PBS program, Washington Week, moderated by Gloria Borger of CNN.  Her guests were Charles Babington, White House Correspondent for the Associated Press; Peter Baker, White House Correspondent for the New York Times; Tom Gjelten, National Security Correspondent for National Public Radio; and James Kitfield, National Security Correspondent for National Journal Magazine.

Following a discussion of the Afghan War in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s demise, Ms. Borger said, “… but the political arguments it seems to me will remain the same – the same argument over torture that we’ve had continues after this, right, Peter?

Peter Baker replied, “Right.  Exactly.  Did this come as a result of the water-boarding type techniques that had been banned by President Obama (Obama, good!), supported by President Bush (Bush, bad!)?  You know, lots of different ways of looking at that.  There’s lot of different ways this intelligence came together.  But it’s once again brought us back to some of the same arguments we’ve been having for the last couple of years.”

Translation:  What Baker was saying is that viewers should discount any intelligence obtained by CIA water-boarding… what liberals refer to as torture, even though no bodily harm was ever done… because, chances are, intelligence gained in other ways may have been just as critical in locating bin Laden.  He was also reminding us of something that we are not supposed to forget, which is that liberals are still not finished wrapping the torture charge around George Bush’s neck. 

Ms. Borger then turned the discussion toward what impact the killing of bin Laden would have on Obama’s popularity… the hope in the hearts and minds of liberals that the killing of Osama would “tap into some sort of national unity that would carry over into big arguments that we’re going to have over the debt and other issues.”  She asked about the impact on Obama’s “numbers.”

James Kitfield replied, “I think one place where this could be cathartic, and the White House told me this as well (the White House giving the mainstream media its marching orders) – if you saw the reaction in the Arab world to this, they shrugged.  You saw the reaction here and it was just this outpouring of relief.  And I think it might be cathartic and they certainly hope so.  And getting the American people to sort of downsize terrorism just so it’s a natural place; it’s not this existential threat that maybe it was five years ago when (bin Laden) was at top of this power…”

Translation:  Now that bin Laden is dead and Obama is given credit for having at least one success in our ongoing “overseas contingency operation,” we can put all that behind us so that liberals and progressives won’t think of Obama as just another bloodthirsty butcher like George W. Bush.  After all, the Arabs didn’t care that we killed bin Laden; they merely shrugged their shoulders.  Now, in spite of the fact that the terrorist threat makes air travel all but impossible, and in spite of the fact that Chuckie Schumer now wants to require rail travelers and commuters to endure the pleasure of the roaming, probing fingers of TSA agents, as well, maybe we can get the American people to just put terrorism out of their minds… think of it as “a natural place.” 

The sole purpose of all those involved in the discussion was to protect Obama from criticism and, if possible, make him look as if he has saved us all from the evils of Islamic terrorism.

What is immediately evident when watching liberals sitting down together around a table is that they really don’t care how blatantly they have to lie or misrepresent the facts.  It’s all a process of mutual back-scratching in which each one attempts to find new and quotable ways in which to promote the liberal ideology.  Nothing is out of bounds, so long as the things they say allow them to maintain their reputations within liberal circles. 

A friend of mine, who likes to tantalize and torment liberals under the nom de plume Tommy Telephone, was having similar thoughts over the past week.  He had some very interesting thoughts about left wing liars which he passed on to me.  

He said, “Last Sunday, watching Tom Donilon, Obama’s National Security Adviser, on Meet the Press and also on Fox News Sunday, an important thought occurred. 

“After some 40 years in business I have a few very strong talents.  One of those is that I can spot liars.  Donilon is a classical liar and not a very good one.  But I’m beginning to realize that the lying is not really the root of the problem.  It goes far deeper than that.

“Technology is the thing that has driven my career.  Because of that I have been very reliant on engineers.  Many times I have presented problems to engineering teams and they have never failed to work with me to find a solution.  Engineers, however, are very literal people.  Engineers think in black and white, and yes or no, but never gray.  They always tell it as it is, with no sweet talk.  

“Solving problems in this environment (is) somewhat like a negotiation.  The businessman needs to understand the function of the technology, on at least a high level, get involved and ask many ‘what if?’ questions.  At some point the right ‘what if?’ question is asked and the answer comes back, ‘Well, if we did this and that, we could make this do that.’  Thus the problem is solved.  It is a beautiful thing.

 “As I looked at Tom Donilon, I saw a guy who is very nervous and unhappy.  I knew that he didn’t believe what he was saying.  But he was convinced by someone that because everyone else is lying, he needed to lie as well.  That’s the basic flaw in the liberal logic: ‘Everyone is lying, so I need to lie too.’ ”

In a nutshell, Tommy Telephone has put his finger on the precise problem that faces Fox News contributors Mara Liasson, of National Public Radio, and former NPR correspondent Juan Williams, who have the toughest jobs in Sunday morning television.  Of course, Liasson has the advantage of her gender; she walks a very careful line between Fox’s standards of objectivity and balanced reporting and NPR’s obvious attempt at promoting leftist ideology by flying their red flag just beneath the radar.  She is very good at protecting both her position at Fox News and her reputation among the liberal intelligentsia by throwing an occasional sop to both sides.    

Williams has by far the toughest job.  He knows what the liberal arguments are and what he is expected to say; however, they don’t always come out exactly as liberals prefer because he has a severe handicap for a liberal: he has a steak of honesty in him a mile wide.  He was fired at NPR because that streak of honesty was totally unacceptable in a network dedicated to spreading the liberal gospel.  

As Tommy Telephone describes it, many of the statements he hears from liberals causes him to exclaim, “They’re kidding!  They can’t really believe that!”  But, he explains, “I can see how this might happen.  If liberals believe that conservatives are liars, there might be a yearning to tell even bigger lies. 

“The truth is that conservatives are more conscience driven.  It is harder for a conservative to lie.  Conservatives more often than not speak the truth and believe what they say.  The problem is with self-esteem and health.  Lying is bad for us.  It goes against our basic human goodness.  Lying can cause us to hate ourselves. ‘…to thine own self be true.’  So how can we love our children if we hate ourselves?”

Hardly a day goes by that my wife doesn’t ask, rhetorically, “Why are liberals and Democrats so angry, so unhappy?  Why don’t they have a sense of humor?”  I think Tommy Telephone has touched on the answer.  And that smile on Barack Obama’s face?  It’s either an act or a nervous reaction.

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