Do Politicians Care If They Get Caught Lying?

by - October 10, 2013

Do facts matter in politics? The cynic says not. Politicians seem to lie with impunity, brushing off the disapproval of the press; voters cocooned in ideology will believe anything that reaffirms their worldview and ignore anything that contradicts it. Lawmakers like Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman notorious for her estrangement from the truth, keep getting elected. When a presidential nominee's pollster declares, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," would-be referees seem helpless to set the record straight. A couple of political scientists, Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth and Jason Reifler of the University of Exeter, recently set out to test this despairing view with a field experiment. Their findings suggest it's not so hopeless after all: Politicians actually do seem to care whether they get caught lying, and they lie less when they know they're being watched.

Do Politicians Care If They Get Caught Lying? - Molly Ball - The Atlantic

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