The ability to deceive someone by telling the truth is not only possible, it has a name — paltering — it’s common in negotiations and those who palter can do serious harm to their reputations, according to research published by the American Psychological Association…

Paltering is used by politicians commonly, according to Rogers. “Politicians often palter when the truthful answer to a question would be harmful,” he said. “When candidates get questions they don’t want to hear, they often focus on continuing to make truthful statements, but try to mislead listeners.”

One famous example Rogers cited was when President Bill Clinton said “there is not a sexual relationship” between him and former White House intern Monica Lewinski. The Starr commission later discovered that there had been a sexual relationship but it had ended months before Clinton made that statement — thus, it was technically true but clearly misleading. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use a scene in which paltering is used to skate consequences of a previous decision.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about politicians paltering?

Art Prompt: Paltering

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the problem with paltering and how it allows politicians to maneuver behind the scene.

Photo Credit: National Constitution Center on Flickr

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