Even if you do not follow politics you have likely heard of Hillary Clinton. While there are many Americans hoping to have her as the first woman president in 2016, there are many others that feel that she may be a criminal. Regardless of personal opinions, it is a fact that Hilary is one of the most controversial candidates in the upcoming election. Surprisingly, the majority of the controversy surrounding her has nothing to do with the possibility of her being the first woman president, but rather is centered on her trustworthiness. In interview with CBS News’s Scott Pelley, Clinton was being questioned about her trustworthiness, not only during her time running for office, but also throughout her whole political career. On www.redstate.com, a right-of-center blog is an article about the interview titled “Here Is One Thing Hillary Clinton Has Tried To Be Honest About.” The same interview is also covered in an article on www.americablog.com, a left-of-center source and is titled “Yes, Hillary Clinton has probably lied at some point. That makes her normal.” Both articles feature the interview by Scott Pelley, in which Pelley had framed the question of Clinton’s honesty by asking her if she has always told the truth, as well as referring to Jimmy Carter’s 1976 famous quote, “I will not lie to you.” Clinton’s response to the question of her truthfulness was “I always tried to,” which she repeated multiple times during the interview itself. She also states that she does not believe that she has ever lied to the American people, and continues to say that she “never will.”
Right-of-center and left-of-center opinions on Hillary Clinton are obviously stated in the article title’s themselves. The article on RedState begins with stating, “The American people do not believe that Hillary Clinton is honest or trustworthy.”1 However, the article from AmericaBlog begins with “It is very obvious from the exchange that Clinton is not comfortable saying, unequivocally, that every statement she has made during her public life is true,” and also says that “At some point since Clinton’s years as a young lawyer, she has probably fibbed, which would make it impossible for her to say, truthfully, that she has never lied.”2 The main differences between these two articles lie within the right-of-center and left-of-center opinions and justifications on how important Clinton’s amount of honesty is. The author for the article on the right-of-center RedState, Leon H. Wolfe firmly argues that Clinton has been dishonest in the past, as well as dishonest in the interview with Scott Pelley itself.1 This right-of-center article even tries to argue that Scott Pelley’s questions could have been used as a “lifeline” for Clinton to gain credibility1. The RedState article concludes by giving her “a few points” for her “honesty about not being a completely honest person.” RedState clearly supports the view that Clinton is unfit for candidacy due to her perceived dishonesty, and that her dishonesty will lead to her downfall in the current presidential campaign1. On the other hand, AmericaBlog argues that even if Clinton is dishonest, that it is not a big deal. The author of this article, Jon Green, points to the fact that Clinton has been a public figure since 1983 when she became First Lady of Arkansas, and that it would be nearly impossible for someone to go that long without telling a single lie.2 To provide some sort of justification for this argument the author brings up instances other political figures lying. For example, the author refers to the fact that Jimmy Carter (as brought up by Pelley in the interview itself) lied to the American people, even after promising that he wouldn’t. 2 Author Jon Green even goes to the extent of stating that lying is actually a part of politician’s jobs, backing it with the argument that there is a “fine line between public disclosure and national security,” and that Clinton stating that she never lied in the interview itself would not have done any justice for her situation.2
It is clear from these two articles that Republicans and Democrats have different perceptions on the idea of Clinton, a democratic candidate, being a liar. A large amount of republicans are tying to use Clinton’s perceived dishonesty in order to drag down her campaign, while a large amount of democrats are say that even if she has lied, it is no big deal and that it is normal for humans to lie. It is hard to not believe that if it had been a republican candidate caught in this scandal, the views of each party would flip. There are multiple potential explanations for each author’s perception of the situation within the context of political psychology. First of all, Jon Green, the author of the AmericaBlog article, may be anchoring to some value he believes he shares with Clinton, in order to justify her actions. The author of the RedState article, Leon Wolfe, could believe that Clinton is a liar as explained by the Confirmation Biases. Wolfe can potentially have had negative feelings towards Clinton, and the accusations of her being a liar are parallel to what he wants to believe. It is also possible that both authors are just conforming to the opinions of individuals they identify with and see as their in-group, as a means of maintaining a positive social identity themselves.
Contributed by M.B.
Edited by F.B.