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Lying Politicians Are Killing Our Democracies

Lying Politicians Are Killing Our Democracies

Weak watchdogs and lax social media bred a pandemic of dishonesty. We need new laws.

DonaldTrumpBlueSmirk.jpg
Liar inspo. Photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0.

If anything takes us out before climate change, it will be the triumph of lying in government.

Having spent a lifetime digging out facts to reveal the truth, I have to acknowledge it — the compulsive liars running countries are winning the communications war.

The only issue now is whether the liars can be stopped. If Canada wants to side with truth, it should start by regulating political advertisements. We know Facebook won’t do it. And that the nation to our south has become a laboratory for mad scientists of propaganda.

But if a Canadian finds a straight-up whopper in a political ad from a politician or party, there is nobody to file a complaint with. Politicians here can lie with immunity and impunity.

Which makes us part of a global pandemic. Official government lying from the top has gone viral. It kills democracy as surely as the Spanish flu, which in 1918 claimed 50 million lives and afflicted 10 times that number. False, weaponized and dysfunctional information will wreak even more havoc, literally affecting everyone on the planet.

This week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, freshly indictedon criminal counts of fraud, bribery and breach of trust, accused police and prosecutors of staging a “coup” against him. U.S. President Donald Trump used the same word to describe his confrontation with the constitution and the law. Like Trump, Netanyahu is accusing his accusers — without evidence — and whipping his followers into a frenzy against the justice system. The key prosecutors on the case now have bodyguards.

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