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How do I lie to you? Let me count the ways. I lie to thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I am untruthful to the level of everydays Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. I speak falsely to thee, as men strive for Right; My prevarication is pure, as they turn to Praise. My forgetfulness is a passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhoods faith. I exaggerate with an honor I seemed to lose With my integrity! – I fabricate with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and if He choose, My fiction shall seem even better after death.

Apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning for this version of her famous poem from Sonnets from the Portuguese. But learning the truth isnt easy these days, so we thought it might be useful to explore the fine art of falsehood in order to understand what makes its practitioners tick.

These words of advice from the as-yet-unwritten Liars Guide might help explain a few of the things you are seeing, hearing and reading these days:

1. Prevent opposing arguments from reaching your audience. Encourage media suppression of contrary opinions. The public knows only what it reads in newspapers or sees on television.

2. Put a crisis or negative slant on your subject if at all possible. You get better coverage if you make dire predictions or blame someone in office for what you confidently state is a terrible state of affairs.

3. Misinterpret the data in your favor. Search high and low for experts who agree with you, and ignore those who dont. Consistent repetition of your version of the story is most important.

4. Question loudly the intelligence of those who oppose you. It helps to belittle the opposition; you might be able to cut off their funding, cost them an election, or silence them through intimidation.

5. Quote half-truths in order to give status to what you are saying. Insignificant truths will carry you a long way and distract the opposition.

6. Leave out contrary opinions and inconvenient facts. Data presented and statements made by those who do not agree with you do not exist. Omission is blessed.

7. Incorporate high emotion and urgency into your message. Misleading excitement will always trump dull logic.

8. Emphasize your position over and over again. If something is repeated often enough, people will begin to believe it.

9. Claim misunderstanding, lack of necessary information, or outside pressure if confronted with a conflicting position which you took earlier.

10. Forget, if all else fails. If you dont remember it, it didnt happen. If your back is against the wall, remember the situation differently – it doesnt matter what you say, as long as your explanation sounds plausible.

Finally, remember that a skillful liar is never wrong. No matter what happens, look the other party in the eye and tell him that he just doesnt get it. That always works.

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