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.)

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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.”


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  1. 3
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    What makes everyone think that ? I personally dont have a clue what happened. Mor do any of you.

    What we do know is that the administration said he retired. Tommy Tubberville said he retired. But Tommys MOM said he didnt. Anyone know how old his mom is ? She would have to be in her late seventies early eighties. And , shes taking up for her son.

    Dont get me wrong here, I dont know if he was fired or not. But before you call Jay Jacobs a lying politician, know what your sayiing.

  2. 4

    Anyone willing to look at the facts can see Jacobs lied. Scarbinsky has a great column today exposing the inconsistencies.

    Murder or suicide
    ” So, in summation, Auburn is going to pay a buyout it doesn’t have to and was willing to waive a buyout it was entitled to.”

    I have to laugh if anyone believes Auburn was that magnanimous.

  3. 5
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Thats one thing that is glaringly bad. If Tommy quit, Auburn is not responsible for fulfilling the monetary portion of his contract. I wouldnt be so dumb as to think it wasnt mutual at both ends. IMO Tommy was ready to leave, and Auburn was ready to let him leave. I DO NOT think he showed up for work and was told to hit the highway. The truth lies in the middle, like it usually does.

  4. 6

    I will say this: Jacobs is due to be fired for either blatantly lying to the Auburn family, or he is due to be fired for being a horrendous steward of the program. Let’s take him at his word for a moment that Tubs resigned and examine that in a real world scenario: You are the Chairman of the Board of a company that’s pretty big, but it ain’t exactly Dow Chemical. Annual Operating Budget is about $55 million. The president of the company tells you that your most highly paid employee just voluntarily resigned, and the president agreed to pay him a buyout of $5 million (about 10% of your operating budget) despite the fact that there was no contractual obligation to do so. When you ask why, the president says “because it was the right thing to do.” Do you pat him on the back and say “job well done”? No. You scream at him that the “right” thing to do was to protect the interest of the company that hired him (i.e. the entire freakin’ purpose of his job), and to be a proper steward of the company’s resources. You tell him that if he wants to be “charitable” to go do it with his own damn money, and to get a job with UNICEF at 5% of his current freakin’ swollen salary. You then not only tell him that he is fired immediately, you also hire a lawyer to sue his incompetent and negligent a$$ for every dime the idiot just cost the company.

    That being said, I think I’d feel better knowing that he was lying through his teeth. At least it would mean that Auburn doesn’t have an incompetent idiot running their multi-million dollar athletic dept.

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