Pathological lying is a disease

29 Jan, 2023 - 00:01 0 Views
Pathological lying is a disease

The Sunday Mail

Dr Masimba Mavaza

Each time elections are imminent, a very annoying group that seemingly specialises in putting the truth upside-down springs up.

They are preoccupied with lies.

The main reason people lie is low self-esteem, which is apparent in the group in question.

They use their lies to gain social acceptance.

As a nation, we need to expose the liars.

“ZimEye”, an online publication, recently twitted that the head of security at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Mavis Matsanga, is a serving Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) director.

They further alleged that her husband is a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).

“Mavis Matsanga straight to DG Isaac Moyo. Her father was a CIO and her family comes from Rusape. She lives near Patrick Chinamasa’s house, which recently got burnt down (sic).”

This is not only a lie, but total misrepresentation meant to besmirch ZEC.

The reference to the CIO DG and creation of a non-existent relationship is a way of creating mistrust ahead of the forthcoming elections.

The online publication seeks to disrupt the elections by undermining ZEC.

Pathological lying is a symptom of various personality disorders, including anti-social, narcissistic and histrionic personality disorders.

Other conditions such as borderline personality disorder may also lead to frequent lies. However, the lies themselves are not considered pathological.

For the online publication to tweet information without verifying it is beyond stooping low.

It is, therefore, clear that such nonsense is shameful, embarrassing and, indeed, idiotic. But why is “ZimEye” purveying such lies? What does it want to achieve by doing so?

Why do newspapers appear to be able to get away with bending the truth and sometimes telling even outrageous lies?

Some people tolerate these lies insofar as they bolster their beliefs and further their political endeavours.

It appears those lies are perceived by supporters of some political parties as acceptable and perhaps necessary means to achieve a political end.

It could also be that political figures might actually be using journalists to cause confusion and anarchy.

Moral conviction to a cause, not necessarily fairness and truth, can sometimes shape people’s dispositions towards those that demonise ZEC and seek to smear the image of the country’s security forces.

The lying by “ZimEye” takes a lot more effort than telling the truth, unless if the lier has a personality disorder.

In both of these cases, the liar convinces him or herself that what they are saying is the truth — even if, at some level, they know it is not.

By believing in their lies, they are also inciting people to rebel.

The same is true of people in high executive or political levels.

They have become so used to people accepting what they say, whether it is an obvious falsehood or not, that they continue to do it.

With elections around the corner, deception, misdirection, fact-bending, half-truths and downright lies are likely to become pervasive.

While we understand that journalists are obliged to maintain a neutral stance during the electioneering period, lying seems to be reaching its apogee.

However, there will be new heights (or depths, depending on how you look at it) to be reached between now and the elections.

It is amazing how often journalists lie, and most often, they are unwilling to admit they lied.

The euphemisms that journalists and politicians use to describe bare-faced lies are legendary.

Biased media usually misrepresents facts as they please.

Politicians’ words are distorted, misrepresented, twisted, exaggerated or taken out of context.

They overstate, understate or misstate.

But, of course, politicians never lie, at least that is what they say.

It is sad that the publisher of the “ZimEye” tweet knew full well that the DG or his office would not respond.

Yet, the truth is that the publication lied about Matsanga and ZEC.

Why do journalists believe they can lie and get away with it?

In this age of the internet and its army of professional and amateur fact-checkers, the chances of lies withstanding the glare of the inevitable cyber-scrutiny are slim to none.

So, why do some opposition media believe they can lie when their untruths can be so easily uncovered?

Isaac Moyo is the director-general of the CIO.

Before appointment to this post on December 9, 2017, he was Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa.

He does not in any way control appointments at ZEC.

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