You as a Citizen
Why detecting lies is an important part of citizenship
Voters need sound information to practice American democracy. Politicians who seek to manipulate citizens by “spinning” the truth, giving half-truths, or lying are enemies of democracy. Given the prevalence of such manipulation, citizens need to sharpen their skills in detecting misinformation. Not only will this provide a more objective base for making informed decisions, but reduced citizen gullibility will strengthen the veracity of information provided. Increased awareness of disinformation will motivate citizens to be resourceful in the detection of misinformation.
How to detect lies
Multiple approaches can be used to determine the truthfulness of written and spoken statements, such as:
- Fact checker (See The Washington Post Fact Checker)
- Integrity – candidates who contradict themselves in the same speech or communication should be treated as liars. Candidates who contradict themselves over a series of speeches or over time deserve careful scrutiny.
- Voting record – same as integrity
- Body language – background
- Body language – popular interpretation
- Lie Detection – background
- Syntax (e.g., protest too much, exaggerate)
Fascinating research has provided clues as to how you as a citizen can tell if someone talking to you is lying. Democracy-Central plans to incorporate online tools to assist you in doing so. For now, we are including a documented instance of a public official lying. Study the clip and sharpen your detection skills.
If you think this “fuss” about lie detection is irrelevant nonsense, consider: politicians and officials do distort truth and like it or not, as a citizen, you have responsibility for deciding what is true.