Count the Lies, Win a Prize!

Count the Lies, Win a Prize!

Congressman Paul Ryan (R, WI-1), Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, gave a speech Wednesday night that people are still talking about. They still can’t decide exactly how many untruths he told, and how to count them all.

Sally Kohn summarizes Mr. Ryan’s GOP Convention speech in three words — Dazzling, Deceiving, Distracting — and goes on to catalog 4 lies plus 4 lies of omission. So does that count as 4 lies or 8 lies?

“Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was  Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.”

“Paul Ryan’s speech in 3 words,” Sally Kohn, Fox News

Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic finds 5 lies, illustrates them with charts, and calls on Mr. Ryan to turn in his wonk card:

“At least five times, Ryan misrepresented the facts. And while none of the statements were new, the context was. It’s one thing to hear them on a thirty-second television spot or even in a stump speech before a small crowd. It’s something else entirely to hear them in prime time address, as a vice presidential nominee is accepting his party’s nomination and speaking to the entire country.”

“The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever?” Jonathan Cohn, The New Republic

TPM’s Brian Beutler concurs with the 5 lies consensus, finding the speech “… filled with prevarications — not just recitations of the conventions ‘you didn’t build that’ theme, but on the very policy matters that have endeared him to the political establishment in Washington.”

“Top 5 Fibs In Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech,” Brian Beutler, Talking Points Memo

5 lies, agrees The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza, trying to be polite about it:

“The Paul Ryan Speech: Five Hypocrisies,” The New Yorker blog

Aviva Shen of Think Progress tallies the prevarications and gets 6.

“6 Worst Lies In Paul Ryan’s Speech,” Aviva Chen, Think Progress

Yep, 6 lies, says CBS News:

“Fact-checking 6 claims in Paul Ryan’s convention speech,” Lucy Madison, Stephanie Condon, Paula Reid, CBS News

Dylan Matthews at the Washington Post finds 6 lies and 3 misleading claims. 6 lies or 9 lies?

“The true, the false, and the misleading: Grading Paul Ryan’s convention speech,” Dylan Matthews, Washington Post blog

Gawker’s Max Read looks at this from a different perspective:

“Seven Inarguably True Things in Paul Ryan’s Speech,” Max Read, Gawker

So the speech has been hugely influential. In its wake Paul Ryan, once seen as a wonkish budget hawk, is now uniformly viewed as a proven prevaricator. Even so, some writers claim the media have been too soft on Mr. Ryan. The Week finds 15 examples of soft-peddling:

“Journalists are going to awkward lengths to avoid the L-word when reviewing Ryan’s address — even though the veep candidate told several brazen whoppers.”

“The media coverage of Paul Ryan’s speech: 15 euphemisms for ‘lying,'” The Week

The media hurricane won’t change the behavior of the Romney-Ryan campaign; it has its own platform, with just 2 planks, Big Lies and Big Money. As Romney operative Neil Newhouse puts it, “… we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”  Nor, it seems, the facts.


“Why Lying Is Bad: A Primer for Confused Republicans,” Lindy West, Jezebel

“A not-very-truthful speech in a not-very-truthful campaign,” Ezra Klein, Washington Post

“Paul Ryan and the Post-Truth Convention Speech,” James Fallows, The Atlantic

“The Lies And Lies And Lies Of Paul Ryan,” Andrew Sullivan, Daily Beast

Short Link:

Image (based on a true movie!) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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One Response to “Count the Lies, Win a Prize!”

  1. Mike Licht Says:


    “Why Paul Ryan thought he could get away with lying: 6 theories,” The Week

    Congressman Ryan even lied about his marathon time.

    “Ignoring and defending Paul Ryan’s lies,” Alex Pareene, Salon

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