J.L. Bell at Oz and Ends counted the number of rumors about President G.W. Bush and President Obama that were identified and determined by rumor-validation site, snopes.com, to be true, false, a mixture of true and false, or uncertain. It turns out, there are a lot more rumors and a lot more false rumors about Obama than there were about Bush:
Jay Livingston summarizes:
In less than two years, Obama rumor-mongers have had nearly twice the output that their Bush counterparts managed in eight years – 87 to 47. And while the Bush rumors split almost evenly true-false, false Obama rumors dwarfed the true ones. The false rumors about Obama outnumbered the total number of rumors about Bush. And while the lies about Obama are almost all negative, some of the false rumors about Bush are quite flattering, along the lines of the George Washington cheery tree rumor – like the rumor that had Bush paying for the funeral of a boy who had drowned near the Crawford ranch.
Looking closer at the mixed rumors, Bell reports that:
I delved down to the stories that the site designates as a mixture of truth and falsehood. For Obama, in most cases the truth is innocuous while the lie reflects poorly on the President, particularly photographs that are misrepresented or show behavior that produced no complaints when his predecessors did the same. In contrast, in this mixture of truth and falsehood about George W. Bush praying with an injured soldier, the lie reflected well on that President…
Looking at the last two Presidential candidate losers reveals the same pattern: more false rumors about Kerry than McCain.
Bell interprets this evidence to mean that Republicans fight dirtier than Democrats. What do you think?Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.