' Truth' Is Too Flexible

I have to admit to being totally burned out in regards to the political ads running on TV. The truth contained in these ads, or in this case, partial facts masquerading as truth, has been far too 'flexible'.

Here in New Hampshire I have seen claims made about opposing candidates, citing publications, studies, or records of votes on certain legislation in small print at the bottom of the screen as if they lend a certain legitimacy to the claims made.

However, on more than one occasion I have actually searched for those articles, studies, and records, only to find that the cites referenced did not accurately reflect the claims made. In too many cases only partial quotes were used, the excerpts being edited in such a way to make them seem to say one thing when if the cite were read in its entirety the true meaning is revealed and the edited versions is proven to be false.

One of the favorite devices used by both sides is to claim candidate X voted for/against some piece of legislation that would have provided Y for the needy or given Z to the greedy. But when you look closer at the legislation cited you find that Y or Z were part of a larger bill that was seriously flawed or the portion of the legislation that supposedly was going to provide Y or Z had deficiencies that would not have provided Y or Z, at least not to the people for whom it was intended, or would have caused harm in ways not foreseen by the sponsors, or would have wasted millions on something that wouldn't work.

In New Hampshire and neighboring Massachusetts, I have to give the edge in misleading or creatively edited 'facts' to the Democrats. Over the past couple of weeks I have dug into the claims made by Democrat and Republican ads for state and federal offices and the ads run by Democrats have been far more deceptive and misleading than those run by Republicans.

Keep in mind that my study is by no means scientific. I cannot claim that bias has not crept in (though I tried very hard to keep my biases in check). I haven't looked at every campaign ad and researched their veracity. If I did that I would have to quit my job and stop sleeping. I have better things to do with my life. But during this campaign cycle I've found the Democrats to be much looser with the truth than the Republicans, by a factor of almost three-to-one.

How is it anyone can trust any of these folks when the willingness to use bits of the truth to create falsehoods is widespread? Once they gain office how will we know they won't use the same mechanism to lie to their constituents about bills they're proposing and causes they're supporting?

We don't, and that's the problem.