What If We Put Lie Detectors On Politicians During Debates?

from the it-wouldn't-work dept

It's political silly season these days as we get closer and closer to election day, and with the various campaigns ratcheting up their attempts to win over voters, the inevitable campaign spin reaches the point where the connection between the message being pushed out and the truth often seems increasingly hazy. That is, politicians start lying about each other. Or, if you want to be generous, being extremely misleading in their characterizations. Some worse than others. This, in part, has resulted in the rise in popularity of various "fact checking" sites over the past few campaign seasons, as many people are fed up with campaigns lying and not being called on it.

Some challengers to an Indiana congressman have come up with an amusing suggestion for how to deal with this, with two challengers to the incumbent agreeing to wear lie detectors during a planned debate. The incumbent has refused, with his party chair calling it ridiculous.

Of course, it's all really a stunt to get some press coverage for the challengers. As polygraph experts well know, a polygraph in a debate setting would be useless. Beyond not always being perfectly reliable, polygraphs are designed to work under very specific circumstances, not in a public debate setting, where the results would be entirely meaningless.

Filed Under: debates, lie detectors, politicians


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  1. icon
    Steve R. (profile), 13 Oct 2008 @ 8:51am

    Don't Lie - Parse the Truth

    The really good politicians do not lie, they simply use "fact" in a highly selectively manner to uphold whatever they claim.

    I have been somewhat surprised that the media has not picked up on this with statements made by Obama at the last debate.

    Obama has been saying that we need to pull of Iraq. Surprisingly he came out, at the last debate, to say that we need greater involvement in Afghanistan. Considering his position on Iraq, his Afghan statement appears to be out of place. I suspect that he is attempting to appear tough militarily while at the same time trying not to appear inconsistent with his prior statements.

    After the election, if he is elected, I would assume that a new study will magically conclude that we should not be involved in Afghanistan and Obama will "revise" his approach based on this "new" information.

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