NEW YORK Aug. 28, 2016/ Troy Media/ – Ryan Lochte won’t get paid for peddling Speedos anymore but if he had played his cards right maybe he could have been president.
Everyone is familiar with how the U.S. swimmer lied about being robbed at gunpoint on the streets of Rio after a drunken night out partying. After being exposed for making a false report to Brazilian authorities, Lochte has been vilified, ridiculed, embarrassed and was quickly dropped by Speedo and Ralph Lauren.
Lying has consequences, as every liar who has been caught must surely be able to confirm.
Or, does it? The answer is: only sometimes – depending on who you are.
It most certainly did for Brian Williams who was fired from his lofty position as the NBC Nightly News Anchor when it was discovered he lied about a helicopter he was riding in coming under rocket attack in Iraq in 2003.
It raises a simple question: Why is it that relatively inconsequential people like Ryan Lochte, and only tangentially relevant individuals like Brian Williams, are deemed no longer fit to represent their respective brands and institutions when we routinely forgive or outright ignore the very same lies coming from politicians who will be trusted with our individual, collective and national well-being?
Which brings us to Hillary Clinton.
With the Lochte and Williams lies about being in peril fresh in our minds, let us compare them to this particular account of a trip to Bosnia in 1996 made when Hillary Clinton was first lady. The Democratic nominee described the horror in a speech during her first presidential bid back in 2008:
“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”
It was an instantly gripping story complete with our own imaginations filling in the harrowing visuals. Never one to shy away from one lie when two will do, Clinton doubled down and explained she was only in that horrible spot because it had been deemed “too dangerous” for her husband – then a sitting U.S. president.
Spell-binding. Except none of it ever happened. Well, she did go to Bosnia as first lady in 1996. That part was true.
Only that part. The rest, just as with Lochte and Williams, was an outright lie.
As reported in the Washington Post, what actually happened was this:
“Far from running to an airport building with their heads down, Clinton and her party were greeted on the tarmac by smiling U.S. and Bosnian officials. An eight-year-old Muslim girl, Emina Bicakcic, read a poem in English. An Associated Press photograph of the greeting ceremony … shows a smiling Clinton bending down to receive a kiss.”
The Post went on to give her “Four Pinocchios” which is the worst rating on the scale they use to expose lies in politician’s remarks.
And how about former president Bill Clinton who is poised to become the first gentleman – or first spouse – of the United States? How can anyone forget his determined and unequivocal statement to the American people when, as president, he declared emphatically:
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
It was a powerful moment that lasted as long as it took for his lie to be exposed and for him to later confess that he did have an “improper physical relationship” with Monica Lewinsky, the 24-year-old White House intern.
The moral of the story is that if you are a swimmer or a news anchor you better not lie, fib, “misremember” or tell tall tales. If you do, you will suffer the consequences to your reputation, future prospects and livelihood.
But, if you’re Hillary Clinton or former president Bill Clinton you’ll likely be given the keys to the Oval Office and the White House residence.
That we have such low expectations of our leaders is depressing enough; that those low expectations are continually met and exceeded is downright disturbing.
And that’s the truth.
Troy Media columnist Gavin MacFadyen is a U.S. based writer and occasional lawyer. Blending insight and wit, he brings a unique perspective to the issues of the day. Gavin is also included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.
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