Why politicians lie: It works!

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” —Abraham Lincoln

Why do politicians lie? It works. The latest example of how rhetoric trumps truth (something Aristophanes warned about in The Clouds and Plato warned about in The Gorgias) could be seen in Auburn Thursday.

Pretending to be a politician was Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs. Jacobs stood in front of the state and said he didn’t have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky—that was how bald-faced his lie was. Jacobs expected Auburn fans, SEC fans and the national media to buy his story that Tommy Tuberville decided to retire.

Never mind that Tuberville’s own mother said the coach was fired. (See her quote in the O-A News.)

Advertisement: Story continues below



Guess what. Some fans are buying it and some aren’t. At Track Em Tigers an informal poll shows 75% of respondents believed Tuberville was either fired or was urged out by the administration. The plurality of all voters (48%) said Tuberville was fired.

What is disturbing is that 13% believed Tuberville said, “Screw you guys, I’m going home.”

These 13% who believed Tuberville resigned and another 10% who believed the parting of ways was mostly Tuberville’s idea are the people Jacobs was trying to spin.

All you need are a few people willing to buy the story and they’ll spin it for you, thereby amplifying your voice. The Internet makes this trick much easier.

According to JCCW: ”I don’t see the evidence yet to justify the venom directed at the administration. The situation sucks, that Tubby’s gone sucks, Lowder most certainly does suck, everything sucks. But it doesn’t mean we have to start taking the likes of Low at their word over Auburn people who were right there at the heart of it.”

And Pigskin Pathos amplifies that thought. He goes so far as to apologize for being upset with Auburn’s administration: “In light of recent findings, the truth of which are still underreview, I will apologize to Jay Jacobs. It sounds as if Jacobs did his darndest (maybe not darndest, but dangit, he tried some) to keep Tubs around.”

Jacobs’ comments were able to get some bloggers to cease their criticisms and others to apologize. At least for the moment, some people are buying his story. The lie worked. Fans of all programs want to believe the best about their leadership. It is a natural emotion and it makes a lie easier to succeed.

And it was only a lie. Who said lies are bad? I bet even some football fans (Alabama & Auburn fans) would endorse what Plato wrote: “The rulers of the state FOOTBALL PROGRAM are the only persons who ought to have the privilege of lying, either at home or abroad; they may be allowed to lie for the good of the state FOOTBALL PROGRAM.”