WaPo’s Debate Advice: Make Sure Your Lies Are Devastating

In today’s Washington Post (10/11/12), David Fahrenthold goes through some of the more memorable moments from recent vice-presidential debates–including several big, decisive errors. Like this one:

Dick Cheney and John Edwards at the 2004 vice presidential debate.

Dick Cheney pretends not to recognize John Edwards at the 2004 vice presidential debate.

In other instances, the job was done with a single well-timed put-down.

“I’m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they’re in session,” Vice President Richard B. Cheney told then-Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) in 2004. “The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.”

That turned out not to be true. But for Edwards, it still hurt.

So the lesson seems to be: Make sure your lie is really devastating, since the fact that it’s a lie won’t matter much.

Imagine if the lesson from that debate had been a different one. Something like, “Hmm, this Cheney guy can’t be trusted.”

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.