Lying: the cash crop of politics

There are women who say you know when a man is lying when he moves his lips. If only it was that simple. If we didn’t know it before, the latest shenanigans from New Jersey remind us that lying is a major currency in the games of politics. When we hear someone say something that is incredible, we sometimes rack our brains to figure out if he/she is lying or simply misinformed.

How do we determine if someone is lying? Are the words the best guidepost, or is it someone’s eyes, their posture, or what?

A story in cites an Australian study that indicates that women can predict with some accuracy whether an unfamiliar male will cheat, just by looking at his face. The study found that men were not good at predicting cheating; they mistakenly assumed that attractive women would, and others would not.

Back to New Jersey. We currently have a major “she said,” “she said” argument. On one side is Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer, who states that she met with Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno (R) in May 2013, after Hurricane Sandy.

Zimmer shared this diary entry which she said she wrote later that day. “At the end of a big tour of ShopRite and meeting, she pulls me aside with no one else around and says that I need to move forward with the Rockefeller project. It is very important to the governor. The word is that you are against it and you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you. I know it’s not right – these things should not be connected – but they are, she says, and if you tell anyone, I will deny it.”

She goes on to say:

“I’d be more than willing to testify under oath and – and answer any questions and provide any documents, take a lie detector test,” Zimmer said, referring to the Christie administration’s denials. “And, you know, my question back to them is, ‘Would all of you? Would all of you be willing do that same thing, to testify under oath, to take a lie detector test?’”

On the other side is Guadagno, who according to Zimmer said she would deny Zimmer’s account of the story. And sure enough Guadagno did:

“Mayor Zimmer’s version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false, but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined,” Ms. Guadagno said at an event to commemorate Martin Luther King’s Birthday. “Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false.”

Okay, we have dueling descriptions of what happened in May 2013. Either one person is telling the truth and the other isn’t, or both of them are telling partial truths. We may never find where the truth lies. Most likely the “final determination” will be made through the legal system. As we all know, the legal system is not necessarily the best way to find out the truth (e.g. O.J., George Zimmerman). Since the determination of the courts is somewhat of a crap shoot, we as citizens are allowed to speculate. Our judgments will be raw and unrefined, but we will take into consideration far more factors than will be allowed in the legal system. We can indeed consider someone’s eyes, their body language, even the setting in which they are speaking. We have to get better at this, since lying is truly a cash crop in the world of politics. So here goes, clips of each of them talking.

On face value, it is difficult to determine who’s telling the truth in this “she said – she said” conflict. In the video, we can examine the words of Dawn Zimmer and Kim Guadagno, watch their body language, look into their eyes; do whatever you want to do to try to determine who is most likely telling the truth. If you have thoughts to share on this, please do so in the comment section.