I explain patiently to my daughters, the now-not-so-little jesters, that lying poisons you. It demonstrates to those who learn of your lie that you are not to be trusted, that you're declarations need to be taken with a grain of salt, that your claims need to be verified.
Let's leave politicians out of this, because, let's face it, there are way too many who openly and easily lie - about their accomplishments and CV; about their beliefs and principles; about their votes, even if they've been recorded, and particularly about their opponents. So a lying politician isn't unique or even noteworthy; one who doesn't is far more notable.
And there is a difference between neutral misstatement of fact "lies" and smear lies. President Obama gave a speech a while back and gave the unemployment rate as 9.5% when it was actually 9.6%. Let's not get all nitpicky about such trivial errors and start to "misunderestimate" the speaker of such misstatements. Smearing one's opposition with false accusations, on the other hand, is destructive because many who hear the lie will never hear the truth, and the target of the smear remains harmed even if a retraction is made.
Rachel Maddow made the list of those whose utterances cannot be taken at face value today. Newsbusters takes down MSNBC's Maddow for claiming a congressman received advance warning of the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. And the high-powered weapon Newsbusters uses to combat this? Contemporaneous reporting.
That Stockman received the fax after the bombing was also reported in a June 22, 1995 column in the Houston Press by Jim Simmon, titled "God, Guns and Kombucha: Is Steve Stockman a committed crackpot, or just a hapless goofball?"As its headline suggests, this was hardly a puff piece favorable toward Stockman. Nonetheless, Simmon wrote --
Contrary to suggestions in some earlier reports, Stockman's office had received the fax after the bombing and promptly passed it on to the FBI. (Ironically, the initial misunderstanding about the fax was propagated by the National Rifle Association, Stockman's chief patron.)
I'll venture a guess that self-proclaimed geek Maddow not only has access to computers, but that those computers are connected to the Internet -- leading to all sorts of wondrous possible discoveries (and, alas, inconvenient facts), assuming a person is inclined to look.
Ms. Maddow's charge was that Mr. Stockman received "advance notice," which clearly cannot occur if the alleged advance notice arrives after the event. Maybe Ms. Maddow will someday receive "advance notice" that will help her understand this, such as an invitation to a party that took place the previous weekend.
So, Ms. Maddow, you managed to fully forfeit your credibility, such as it was, forever in my book. Congratulations.