28 Pinocchios for Lance Armstrong?

posted at 2:31 pm on January 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

I’d say it’s safe to assume that Glenn Kessler is a little miffed at Lance Armstrong today. After Armstrong finally got around to admitting that he lied throughout his entire career, the Washington Post fact-checker assigned him the top-of-the-scale four Pinocchios — for each of his seven Tour de France victories:

Armstrong, unlike some other sports heroes, has not been charged or convicted of criminal perjury. But his lies are monumental, endured for years and were aimed at creating an image that made him famous, wealthy and an inspiration for people with cancer. He was the ringleader of lying on his team — and he kept lying even after many of his co-conspirators and teammates had abandoned him.

It is a record of shame that he has only begun to confront reluctantly and under pressure — after almost his entire professional career has been wiped from the pages of history. Armstrong earns Four Pinocchios — for each Tour de France race in which he claimed he won first place without doping.

Well, OK, I get that explanation.  But … why does this matter more than politicians who lie, who apparently can only get four at a time?  Kessler explains:

In fact, the undisputed, major instances of lying involving politicians often have to do with sex — President Bill Clinton’s denial of “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinsky, Sen. John Edwards’s denial that he had an affair and fathered a child as his wife was dying of cancer, and Rep. Anthony Weiner’s denials that he sent sexually suggestive photographs of himself to women via Twitter.

But, unlike in Armstrong’s case, these lies were not part of their central image. Indeed, the lies were intended to protect their political image, not enhance it.

Well, I’d argue that their lies were intended to retain their grip on power — and thus matter a hell of a lot more than anything Lance Armstrong did.  Lance Armstrong didn’t pick my pocket with higher taxes.  Lance Armstrong didn’t try to encroach on my liberty with his lies.  Lance Armstrong wasn’t attempting to seize more power over the lives of millions of voters, or maintain his ability to do so, with his lies.

And this points out the real problem with the outrage over Armstrong, and Manti Te’o, and all of the sports heroes that turn out to have feet of clay, and I say this as a sports fan.  Armstrong deserves all the scorn he’s receiving, but let’s keep this in perspective.  When we’re seven times more enraged by a sports figure who lied about doping than we are when public figures lie to us about policy (as Kessler routinely and mostly fairly points out), then we need to reassess our priorities faster than the final sprint of the Tour de France, doped up or not.

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too bad there aren’t doping tests for politicians…er.?

ted c on January 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM

So lance lied and is now getting thrown to the lions? bho lies everytime he opens his mouth and zero happens!
L

letget on January 18, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Well said.

John the Libertarian on January 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM

When you have a Liar in Chief all else is chickensh*t.

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Then why the blub about Lance and not Nagin?

Limerick on January 18, 2013 at 2:39 PM

But from what I’ve read, Armstrong was not only a liar, he threatened and bullied people, ridiculed them, and then went on lying some more. While Clinton, Edwards and Weiner deserve to be compared as liars (I did so in a comment earlier today), who did so to protect their positions as well as their salaries, to my knowledge they didn’t threaten and bully their accusers. Maybe they did, I could be wrong.

scalleywag on January 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

lance armstrong didn’t just lie…he sued other people who were telling the truth.

comparing him to Bill Clinton’s lie about a personal matter is silly.

nonpartisan on January 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

So Oprah didn’t give him absolution?

Curtiss on January 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

The angst people express over this is funny. The liklihood is that most professional athletes do some level of the same thing. Winning is their JOB – it’s not a spiritual calling – and they probably do see this conduct as leveling the playing field. I imagine some of the anger from others in the cycling field is jealousy that he had better end results than they did.

katiejane on January 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM

I get a kick out of anyone who is surprised that Lance Armstrong was doping. Why do they think Armstrong got testicular cancer, to begin with?

Of course, everyone in biking dopes. It’s a sport of dopers. That whole sport is nothing but cheaters and liars. I don’t care if athletes do steroids and performance doping. They should. Performance is what they are paid for. But the rules should be changed. To have people running around telling transparent lies and obviously cheating takes most of the interest out of these things.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM

I wonder if people are still wearing thier “Live Strong” bracelets?

creek on January 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM

something always nagged me about him. Even after battling cancer, he never acknowledged God–claimed he didn’t believe or something. Then, he left his pretty wife and 2 little kids to go hang with Sheryl Crow (?) …

pride, fall, some assembly required.

ted c on January 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM

LiveStrong, Do EPO

mottos/

ted c on January 18, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Every national news show this morning was about the evils of Lance. Not a word about Algeria, or the gun grab, or even Chicago’s gang war death tally this last year topped Afghanistan. Nope, we have to make sure we vent our anger on a mirage of a problem.

Limerick on January 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM

too bad there aren’t doping dope tests for politicians…er.?

ted c on January 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Fify, gratis

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Indeed, Limerick

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Limerick on January 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Next Lance will be accused by Holder for upstaging Obama.

Schadenfreude on January 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

I’m not sure I agree with Ed. One reason we love sports is that it gives us (at least the illusion) of fair play, and of black and white results. That’s why we endure the ridiculousness of coach’s challenges in football — while it wreaks havoc with the flow of the game, in the end “at least they got it right.”

When politicians “lie,” there’s so much more gray area. They can look to the research of one “expert” to tell us how much tax hikes or cuts help or hurt the economy. They can selectively choose their facts without actually “lying.” They can take words out of context which may or may not indicate the spirit of what was said. We expect all this from politicians.

Most important, sports figures are our heroes, doing things the clumsy and uncoordinated among us can never contemplate of doing. Is there any one of us who doesn’t think we could run the country better than Obama (or Bush for that matter)?

bobs1196 on January 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

I get a kick out of anyone who is surprised that Lance Armstrong was doping.

Once again, the story shouldn’t be about the doping to win. Reporting should focus on the lives Lance destroyed to protect his lie. From what I’ve read so far, he doesn’t seem to care that he ruined the lives of many people (anyone who dared to speak the truth), he just wants his fame back.

GCM on January 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

lance armstrong didn’t just lie…he sued other people who were telling the truth.

comparing him to Bill Clinton’s lie about a personal matter is silly.

nonpartisan on January 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

…so you think BJ and JugEars don’t use the Federal Government agencies to indimidate and harass people?…Are you in some contest… where you win…if you are declared “Dumbphuck of the Year”… on Hot Air?

KOOLAID2 on January 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

GCM on January 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

I doubt that the average person knows or cares about those people whose lives he supposedy “ruined” – that is between Armstrong and them.

katiejane on January 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Hence why the term “sports heroes” is the most idiotic thing about American society.

Warner Todd Huston on January 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM

for as long as there is competition, there will be a motivation for a competitor to gain advantage over another.

I had thought this guy was being honest and thought that the international governing body overseeing his sport was on a witch hunt. Turns out that they were right. They must’ve seen smoke and went looking for the fire.

You rode your bike into this pothole, lance. Own it, bud.

ted c on January 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

scalleywag on January 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

The Clintons went after their accusers in a most frightening way. Kathleen Willy’s cat disappeared and her tires were slashed. They had Serpent Head go out and say things about dragging a hundred dollar bill through a trailer park, etc.

Night Owl on January 18, 2013 at 3:06 PM

As someone who has polycythemia (“too much blood in your blood” – too much hemoglobin, hematocrit, etc) and would love for it to go away, I think Lance Armstrong should go spend some time in oncology/hematology suites and apologize to the people/families for whom hearing they had “too much blood in your blood” was the first step to an eventual diagnosis of leukemia, myeloproliferative disorders and other cancers.

I am lucky in my diagnosis is polycythemia vera – a one in a million genentic mutation that occurs during fetal development. In the two years I have spent in oncology/hematology suites I am almost always the healthiest person being treated. Unfortunately, for too many of the people in the suites for treatment, they won’t be there two years from now.

Mr. Armstrong needs to PRIVATELY humble himself and spend some time doing for something for other people. He should thank God for not making his “doping” a permanent condition.

PolAgnostic on January 18, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Maybe they did, I could be wrong.

scalleywag on January 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

What Night Owl said. Plus Hillary smeared these women as emotionally unstable and stalkers. Especially Monica.

John the Libertarian on January 18, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Every national news show this morning was about the evils of Lance. Not a word about Algeria, or the gun grab, or even Chicago’s gang war death tally this last year topped Afghanistan. Nope, we have to make sure we vent our anger on a mirage of a problem.

Limerick on January 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Dude, come on. American Idol started this week.

Harbingeing on January 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I was Lance’s personal assistant for two years, during the height of his racing career. Do I think he cheated? Yep. But my real problem is something that diehard fans seem unable to grasp: the vengeful tactics he uses against people who tell the truth about him, on and off the bike.

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/biking/road-
biking/My-Life-With-Lance-Armstrong.html

He has destroyed the careers and credibility of too many others in a selfish attempt to perpetuate a decade’s worth of heartfelt and utterly convincing lies.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/john-romano-lance-armstrongs-reputation-is-ruined-but-his-impact-is-very/1270861

Frankie Andreu, former cycling team-mate of Lance Armstrong, and his wife Betsy, who testified against the now disgraced rider in 2005, say the all-powerful cyclist made their life “hell” after they accused him of doping.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/cycling/lancearmstrong/9804679/Armstrong-team-mate-Lance-ruined-peoples-lives-if-they-accused-him-of-doping.html

There are many more…

GCM on January 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM

lance armstrong didn’t just lie…he sued other people who were telling the truth.

comparing him to Bill Clinton’s lie about a personal matter is silly.

nonpartisan on January 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Your “logic” re. Clinton is fatally flawed, because it ignores actual facts.

1. Lying under oath to a Federal Grand Jury is a felony crime. Doesn’t matter what the lie is.

2. In his first term, Clinton had his Justice Department successfully prosecute a female Federal employee for…lying under oath about sex.

Please tell us again why he was above the law, but she wasn’t.

F-

Del Dolemonte on January 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM

to my knowledge they didn’t threaten and bully their accusers. Maybe they did, I could be wrong.

scalleywag on January 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Have you not seen the Clinton Death list?

LoganSix on January 18, 2013 at 3:17 PM

comparing him to Bill Clinton’s lie about a personal matter is silly.

nonpartisan on January 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

.
Bill Clinton lied to a Federal Judge and, FYI, when testifying before a Federal Judge there is no “it’s a personal matter” excuse – for ANYONE.

He committed a felony and was disbarred for perjuring himself.

The only people who are NOT bothered by that behavior are liberals – who also like to misrepresent themselves whenever they can.

PolAgnostic on January 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

to my knowledge they didn’t threaten and bully their accusers. Maybe they did, I could be wrong.

scalleywag on January 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Gee, I don’t know, let’s ask Billy Dale if he was badgered by the White House, and who was that “If you drag a $20 bill through a trailer park…”. I would consider “rape” as being threatening or being a bully, but that’s just how old fashioned I am…

right2bright on January 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

In fact, the undisputed, major instances of lying involving politicians often have to do with sex — President Bill Clinton’s denial of “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinsky, Sen. John Edwards’s denial that he had an affair and fathered a child as his wife was dying of cancer, and Rep. Anthony Weiner’s denials that he sent sexually suggestive photographs of himself to women via Twitter.

War-On-Women-I-Think-There-May-Be-A-Pattern-Here Alert.

SAMinVA on January 18, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Testimony from VA Dr. Barbara Battalino during the Clinton Impeachment hearings…

BARBARA BATTALINO, Osteopath/Psychiatrist: Before April 1998, I was, like most of you, watching or listening to these proceedings. That is I was a good, loyal, upstanding United States citizen. I worked, voted, paid my taxes with honesty, and was respected by my profession, church and family. So how is it that I am a convicted felon? In early 1998, my attorney received word that the Department of Justice planned to indict me for perjury, based on an untruthful response I gave to a question regarding whether anything of a sexual nature. Understanding that I would be subjecting myself to unwarranted civil exposure if I told the truth, I justified in my own mind that this deception was warranted in order to protect my personal and professional self-interest. In an attempt to save myself and my family any further embarrassment and/or financial loss, I agreed to accept a negotiated disposition of the criminal case.

My sentence will not end on February 27, 1999, when the electronic monitoring device is removed from my ankle, nor will it end on July 19, 1999, when my formal probationary period is completed. In a very real sense I am condemned to a life sentence. I have lost my professional standing, my life as it had been, and my cherished privacy. These consequences are irrevocable. Because a president is not a king, he or she must abide by the same laws as the rest of us. Whether Mr. Clinton is impeached or not is in the hands of this committee, of the House of Representatives, and the United States Senate. But even if justice does not prevail, Mr. Clinton’s consequences will be reserved for God and history to determine.

Del Dolemonte on January 18, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Honey Boo Boo. ’nuff said.

Galtian on January 18, 2013 at 3:30 PM

I’m going short on garishly colored spandex stock.

Mr. Arrogant on January 18, 2013 at 4:16 PM

I wonder if people are still wearing thier “Live Strong” bracelets?

creek on January 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Thanks for the reminder. I’ve worn it so long, I didn’t even know it was there.

Garym on January 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM

But … why does this matter more than politicians who lie, who apparently can only get four at a time?

Because lying is wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

…. except when done by Democrats seeking political power.

There Goes The Neighborhood on January 18, 2013 at 4:53 PM

lance armstrong didn’t just lie…he sued other people who were telling the truth.

comparing him to Bill Clinton’s lie about a personal matter is silly.

nonpartisan on January 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Helpful hint: never try to defend a Clinton’s honesty. There are too many documented cases of Bill and Hillary Clinton lying.

Clinton didn’t have to sue people. He had enough power to absolutely ruin them.

Clinton didn’t just lie. He used his power to go after political enemies. The very reason Linda Tripp befriended Monica Lewinsky was because she feared retaliation. Since she was smeared in the media multiple times in very public ways, that seemed to be true.

Hillary Clinton was caught lying so many times that William Safire, a columnist for the New York Times, called her a congenital liar. Ironically, Bill Clinton’s response was fake outrage, in suggesting he’d like to punch Safire in the nose.

There Goes The Neighborhood on January 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Of course, everyone in biking dopes. It’s a sport of dopers…

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Please don’t include Canadian Clara Hughes in that list. Arguably one of the greatest athletes of this era, winning medals in both Winter (Speed skating) and Summer Olympic games (cycling)in multiple games. 1 of only 5 people to ever do it. And she is staunchly anti-doping.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Hughes

can_con on January 18, 2013 at 5:30 PM

lance armstrong didn’t just lie…he sued other people who were telling the truth.

comparing him to Bill Clinton’s lie about a personal matter is silly.

nonpartisan on January 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

As was pointed out above, Clinton was charged with perjury (and later dis-barred for it). Also encouraging perjury by others. Several of the incidents in the pattern of a so-called “private matter” took place in his office during work hours. And further, his dalliances with Miss Lewinsky, a White House intern, was an improper boss-employee relationship in an of itself.

MUCH worse thank Armstrong’s doings, even if he did do everything that he has been accused of.

Kevin K. on January 18, 2013 at 5:45 PM

people expect people to be fair, not to lie, etc.

consider the outrage over a college kid who shaves points in a basketball game from some “sleazy” guy – we loathe the kid who would cheat like this.

Or the basketball ref recently caught cheating. or Pete Rose.

but Nancy Pelosi, Harry Ried ? Eh, “that’s politics for ya’”

————-
Q. What happens when people find out they’ve been lied to (for a very long time)?

A: They get mad, they get VERY mad.

he he

williampeck1958 on January 18, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Several of the incidents in the pattern of a so-called “private matter” took place in his office during work hours. And further, his dalliances with Miss Lewinsky, a White House intern, was an improper boss-employee relationship in an of itself.

Kevin K. on January 18, 2013 at 5:45 PM

NOW President Patricia Ireland, 1998:

No matter how offensive the president’s behavior was, it does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. And, the no-holds-barred attack by the ultra-conservatives on women’s issues is a far more onerous threat to women and our families. It is time to bring the House Judiciary Committee’s sideshow to a close, and for Congress to focus on important issues like improving Social Security and Medicare, passing equal pay initiatives, strengthening public education and funding anti-violence-against-women programs.

NOW VP Kim Gandy, 1998:

The President’s behavior, offensive as it was, does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

In fact, the conservative majority in Congress, with their relentless attacks on women’s rights, is a far greater threat to women and our families. Considering their antagonism towards women’s concerns, perhaps it should not be surprising that they are seriously considering the impeachment of a president who not only was elected twice with overwhelming support from women, but also continues to have the support of the nation.

Translated: Some are More Equal than others.

Del Dolemonte on January 18, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Please don’t include Canadian Clara Hughes in that list. Arguably one of the greatest athletes of this era, winning medals in both Winter (Speed skating) and Summer Olympic games (cycling)in multiple games. 1 of only 5 people to ever do it. And she is staunchly anti-doping.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Hughes

can_con on January 18, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Lance Armstrong was “staunchly anti-doping” too. Until he wasn’t.

gryphon202 on January 18, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Translated: Some are More Equal than others.

Del Dolemonte on January 18, 2013 at 6:17 PM

That hasn’t changed. Just listen to all the “the presidents’ kids need protection worse than yours do” bullshit coming from the gun control apologists. It’s always the same with these morons, as long as it’s a Democrat in office.

gryphon202 on January 18, 2013 at 6:26 PM

My reaction to the Lance Armstrong scandal in one word: Meh.
I suspect that most people in this country, like me, couldn’t give a rat’s ass about this ‘scandal’. C’mon, the guy pedaled a bike for a living!
This is another shiny object being pushed by the media to keep our attention diverted from this Administration’s failures.

Guinness on January 18, 2013 at 6:53 PM

THIS is your response to Hypocrisy THIS DEEP?

Weak……. and there are bigger issues to fry……

williamg on January 19, 2013 at 12:47 AM

nonpartisan on January 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

You are that much of an ignorant f***stick that you actually went there?

Do you have medication administered at strict times during the day?

tom daschle concerned on January 19, 2013 at 8:25 AM

And this points out the real problem with the outrage over Armstrong, and Manti Te’o, and all of the sports heroes that turn out to have feet of clay, and I say this as a sports fan. Armstrong deserves all the scorn he’s receiving, but let’s keep this in perspective. When we’re seven times more enraged by a sports figure who lied about doping than we are when public figures lie to us about policy (as Kessler routinely and mostly fairly points out), then we need to reassess our priorities faster than the final sprint of the Tour de France, doped up or not.

Don’t need your social lesson, EM! Put a sock in it!

Sherman1864 on January 19, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Besides, EM, you are the one who wrote this piece to begin with: if it ain’t important don’t write about it … otherwise:

Put a sock in it!

Sherman1864 on January 19, 2013 at 6:24 PM