Lying seems to be the in-thing, lying about everything.
We have several candidates for Liar of the Year and it’s just March. If you thought Congressman George Santos is streets ahead of the pack, consider some other names too.
There's Boris Johnson, who was fired from The Daily Telegraph when he was a reporter for lying. A leadership rival, Rory Stewart, claimed he was “probably the best liar we’ve ever had as prime minister.”
Fintan O’Toole of The Irish Times stated Johnson was “a known charlatan who betrays everyone and everything he ever touched.”
The Associated Press reported when Johnson lost his battle to remain leader, his lying about that was merely part of a long-time aversion to the truth.
A report stated, “As Brussels correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, he specialized in made up stories of EU waste and ridiculous red tape — tales that helped turn British opinion against the bloc, with far-reaching consequences.”
Historian Max Hastings, Johnson’s boss at the Telegraph, later called him “a man of remarkable gifts, flawed by an absence of conscience, principle or scruple.”
Hastings was on to something. He was a man who lied and lied again about Brexit to the point where he began attacking legislation he himself had signed off on as prime minister, a truly impressive piece of chicanery that the British media seemingly let him away with.
Johnson runs Santos close in his disdain for the truth. The lying liars would have you believe up is down and down is up. They can make your head spin until you wonder if it is still attached to your shoulders.
Santos is a special case, a man who never left a lie untold if he could succeed in spreading it.
As will become even clearer, he is pathological about it. I suspect if you went back to his childhood you would find his fantasy world taking over following bullying or some strange mental aberration.
Having to re-invent your total past is taxing. Most of us struggle to keep our narratives straight as so much happens in daily life. Nonetheless, we are truthful as we see it.
Santos lies because his fantasy world collided with reality and fantasy won, but it must be exhausting keeping up the Potemkin village, lying that he is not lying about everything.
Then we have the liars at Fox News. Oh yes, step forward Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham, who knew they were lying when they pounded their fists and insisted the 2020 election had been rigged.
As recent court filings showed they were perfectly aware the lunatic fringe insisting the election was rigged by Jewish light sabers or a secret Italian satellite were utterly off the wall.
Yet they continued to lie, spilling out a crescendo of crazy untruths that have now been utterly discredited.
But don’t forget the arch puppet, Rupert Murdoch, who approved the lying liars’ strategy and is now seeking to blame others.
It is a complicated business lying all the time because as Johnson, Santos, and Fox are discovering, the inconvenient truth eventually shows up.
That may be the ultimate fate of the greatest liar of all, Donald Trump, who according to The Washington Post lied 30,573 times during his four years in office.
The other lying liars obviously fade into the shade when Donald opens his mouth. He was hardly in the door when he told a bald-faced lie about how many people attended his inauguration. It was all downhill from there.
*This column first appeared in the March 1 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.