O.J., Blumenthal, Souder, and Other Liars: What’s the Point?

Richard Blumenthal (Photo by Chion Wolf)

O.J. Simpson’s vow to spend the rest of his days searching for the real killer of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman — after the former NFL star’s reality-bending acquittal of those crimes in 1995 — was as cynical and intelligence-insulting as a Fox News anchor describing that network as “fair and balanced.” In fact, rumor had it that O.J. told former N.Y. Giants football great Rev. Rosie Grier, in a jailhouse confession: “I did it, but that’s not the point.” (O.J. was convicted of subsequent crimes, and now has years to see if he can find the real killer in his small cell.)

It’s one thing for a sociopath like Simpson to think he can get away with asking, in effect, “Who do you believe, me or your lying eyes?” But why do politicians — who love to praise the smarts of “the American people” — tell lies time and again when common sense dictates they’ll be caught, especially now that online searches allow facts to be instantly checked and communicated?

Today Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) announced his resignation, finally admitting to an affair with a female aide. Apparently, Souder and his “Special Assistant/Communication” Tracy Jackson did lots of political business together — in the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up department, they appeared in a videotape together arguing for abstinence! — in addition to the other kind.

“I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff,” Souder said. “In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain, [so] I am resigning rather than put my family through that painful, drawn-out process.”

This was hardly a noble confession. Note the O.J.-like defensiveness and self-pity — it’s somehow less bad that she was part time and that the relationship was whatever “mutual” means? — and remember that right up until he had no choice, Souder had denied everything.

The Souder resignation follows the bizarre case of Eric Massa, who resigned his House seat two months ago amid allegations of sexually inappropriate activities with multiple male staffers. Massa’s demented appearance with the demented Glenn Beck, featuring the unique “tickling” defense, is a classic in failed, pardon the pun, ass-covering.

Meanwhile, Democratic Connecticut Attorney General and Senate hopeful Richard Blumenthal — who’s made veterans’ rights a key issue in his campaign — was called out for bragging publicly about his Vietnam military experience when in fact he’d taken extraordinary measures to avoid Vietnam service. He further insulted his consituents’ common sense by telling the New York Times that he “misspoke” and that “My intention has always been to be completely clear and accurate and straightforward, out of respect to the veterans who served in Vietnam.”

Blumenthal has also earned membership in the bizarro club — founded last year by South Carolina Governor Mark “I was hiking on the Appalachian Trail” Sanford — by admitting, in other public venues, that he never served in Vietnam.

Perhaps these guys — and let’s face it, it is almost always guys — are privately telling their confidantes, “I did it, but that’s not the point.” But no one ever tells us what the point is!

We know about the bald-faced liars who’ve been caught. But how many pols out there are insulting us right now with checkable whoppers? There aren’t enough investigative journos left to expose them, and we don’t want to leave the task to these same politicians’ “opposition research” teams. So if you have some time, Google around for the pronouncements of your least favorite public figures. As long as you make sure to check your facts, maybe you’ll catch them “misspeaking.”

Michael Sigman

Michael Sigman is a writer/ editor, media consultant and the president of Major Songs, a music publishing company.

Crossposted from Huffington Post with the author’s permission.

Published by the LA Progressive on May 21, 2010
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About Michael Sigman

Michael Sigman is a writer/ editor, media consultant and the president of Major Songs, a music publishing company.

Prior to his current activities, Sigman was the president and publisher of LA Weekly, the nation’s largest alternative newsweekly, from 1990-2002. He joined LA Weekly in 1983 as general manager and was named publisher the following year.

Sigman was also the founding publisher of OC Weekly, sister paper to LA Weekly, when it was launched in 1995.

Prior to joining LA Weekly, Sigman was a music journalist, and served as a reporter, then managing editor, then editor-in-chief of Record World Magazine, a leading music industry weekly, from 1971 to 1982.

Michael Sigman graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, with a BA in Philosophy, from Bucknell University in 1971. He currently serves on several Boards, including InsightLA and Society for Singers, and is Chairman of the Board of the Wright Institute, a non-profit psychoanalytic institute which provides inexpensive long-term psychotherapy to the poor.