According to Professor Harry G. Frankfurt, liars lie deliberately; BSers simply don’t care. Professor Frankfurt wrote a book on this; it’s called “On Bullsh*t.” There’s a great discussion of this going in a post entitled “On (CowPuckey)” over at Barataria; Erik Hare starts out by asking:

Is it really a lie when the person making an outrageous statement doesn’t actually care if it’s the truth or not?

Simply not caring explains Michele Bachmann, a Finalist for’s 2009 Lie Of The Year. In fact, has examined 9 – NINE – statements from Bacnmann, and found all – ALL – of them “False” (four of those claims were actually rated “Pants On Fire” – as in “Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire”).

Bachmann still doesn’t care; just last month, as noted here, Bachmann went on a Sunday TV show and said some (stuff) that prompted a Pat Kessler “Reality Check”.

As noted:

And in Kessler’s “Reality Check” – on Bachmann’s outrageous fabrications concerning the economy – Kessler found Bachmann’s claims, and I quote: “That’s factually WRONG” and “This is FALSE” and “This starts with a kernel of truth, but is OUT OF CONTEXT” and “This is NOT TRUE.” (emphasis NOT added) (

So, what did Bachmann do, after getting Reality Checked by Pat Kessler? Went on stage at a GOPer rally with Sarah Palin, and repeated that same (stuff) Pat Kessler had found to be: “WRONG”, “FALSE”, “OUT OF CONTEXT”, and “NOT TRUE”.

That’s what BSers do, because they simply don’t care if something is true or not – they only care that the listener (in Bachmann’s case, “voter”) thinks it’s true.

Erik Hare will be joing The Big E and yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter, this Saturday (May 15th) as I Guest Host “Radio Cafe with Cathy Hauser” from 2:00 to 3:00 pm on AM950 – KTNF. We’ll be talking about Professor Frankfurt’s book (“On Bullsh*t”), Erik’s post over at Barataria, this post (and any subsequent comments!), the media’s role in propagating/covering BS, and how BS seems to be the modus operandi of today’s Republican Party.

There’s a video interview of Professor Frankfurt discussing his book below the fold, plus an added bonus – a link to Jon Stewart interviewing Professor Frankfurt on “The Daily Show”!

Professor Frankfurt’s Book, “On Bullsh*t”, is available locally through Common Good Books in St. Paul; if you can’t make it in to the shop, you can order on line and they’ll ship.

A little bit about Emeritus Professor Harry G. Frankfurt of Princeton University, from Wikipedia:

On Bullshit is an essay by philosopher Harry Frankfurt. Originally published in the journal Raritan in 1986, the essay was republished as a separate volume in 2005 and became a nonfiction bestseller, spending twenty-seven weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.[1]

In the essay, Frankfurt defines a theory of bullshit, defining the concept and analyzing its applications. In particular, Frankfurt distinguishes bullshitting from lying: while the liar deliberately makes false claims, the bullshitter is simply uninterested in the truth. Bullshitters aim primarily to impress and persuade their audiences. While liars need to know the truth to better conceal it, bullshitters, interested solely in advancing their own agendas, have no use for the truth. Thus, Frankfurt claims, “…bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are,” (Frankfurt 61).

This work laid the foundation for Frankfurt’s 2006 follow-up book, On Truth.

For a more entertaining, less scholarly interview of Professor Frankfurt, here’s the link to The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart!

The Daily Show – Professor Frankfurt

(cross posted from MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

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