National Catholic Reporter

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Lies, Damned Lies & Michelle Bachmann

In this morning New York Times, Thomas Friedman explains how lies travel fast, and what can be done about it.

In the event, Anderson Cooper at CNN not only exposed this absurd charge that President Obama's trip to India was going to cost $200 million per day, he also pointed to a much-needed growth industry: sound journalism. This is one instance where I like market values. If the cost of spreading lies rises because of work like Cooper's, the incidence of lies will diminish.

Of course, political deceit has long been a bi-partisan growth industry too.

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Democrats credit Bill Clinton's policies with the economic boom of the 1990s, neglecting the growth of the dot.com sector of the economy. Republicans think cutting taxes raises revenue every time. Both parties indulge fanciful out-year projections to support their claims.

But at least the slap-down of Bachmann et al.'s ridiculous untruths can start a trend. Complex lies may continue to enjoy a long shelf life, but it is progress if we can at least call out the simple lies.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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