It sounds better than “lying to Congress” or “perjury,” doesn’t it?
Something is true or it’s not. The nature of the truth is immutable. I’m not talking about shades of opinion where subjectivity might apply, such as “That was a good meal.” I’m talking about, “No, we don’t sift through the records of American citizens.” There are no shades of gray there: either you do or you don’t. And, it turns out, you do.
If Clapper was in doubt about the shared meaning of “collect,” then he should have clarified that meaning before he replied. But saying “What do you mean by ‘collect’?” would have been a giveaway.
James Clapper lied: James Clapper is a liar. That’s very clear, isn’t it? I don’t have to parse those worse to finesse the semantics: this is a man guilty of perjury, hard stop. No semantic wiggling can wave that one away. And the president says he has “full faith” in him.
I know Orwell is getting a heavy workout these days, but one of his lasting contributions to semantics was offering the most potent example of how totalitarian states manipulate language as a tool of control and deception. “Least untruthful” is only the latest entry in the dictionary of Newspeak.
Tom McDonald has been a full-time freelance writer and editor since 1991, publishing 3 books and more than 1,500 features, articles, and reviews in consumer, specialty, and academic publications. patheos.com
What's your response? - Scroll down to add / read comments
|In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information ClearingHouse endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)|