Americans are increasingly comfortable with many white lies, new poll reveals

Findings reveal a morally fractured America where honesty is not one-size-fits-all.

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Ethics Sage Oceano, CA
    March 24, 2019 6:41 a.m.

    Interesting article with lots of good information. I do have a different take on ethics than the comments by Sharon Stoll. “It’s not that easy to be honest.” True enough but once an individual makes it part of their character and practices honesty it becomes more of a routine to be honest as virtue ethics theory suggests. “A rigid code of complete honesty will make you an individual nobody wants to be around.” Ethical people are honest because it is the right thing to do not for any reward including to be liked by others. Virtue is its own reward. As for white lies, ethics is not like a faucet we can turn on and off at a whim. It requires consistent behavior otherwise when we pick and choose when to be ethical: we create moral relativism where each person decides when to lie. This presents a problem of trust in society.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    March 29, 2018 11:50 a.m.


    Maybe you need a dictionary. A lie is an untruth whether or not you agree with it.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    March 29, 2018 7:51 a.m.

    For those of you who need a translation of this article: A "lie" is truth that YOU don't agree with!

  • JBs Logan, UT
    March 28, 2018 9:40 p.m.

    I read the article and the comments here. I have to say, this is one of the more thoughtful discussions I've read and I've gained insight into some commenters that I disagree with 99% of the time and is actually positive and helpful.

    The survey demonstrates the obvious disconnect between what groups of people, i.e. Evangelicals, say and what they do. They say that lying isn't okay, and yet voted for Mr. Trump who has the reputation for being an habitual liar, as documented by so many people who deal with him regularly.

    The United States is an ideal, and I hate to see that changing, but it is. Our republic is in trouble and lying doesn't help. We need the best people we can find to keep our country thriving, and we don't have that in Donald Trump, I'm truly sorry to say, so we need to find someone else who can.

  • Sion Knoxville, TN
    March 28, 2018 6:34 p.m.

    For too many years we heard the lies of Obama.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    March 28, 2018 6:28 p.m.

    Sad! More than white lies are being excepted:

    * America has excepted theft when politicians can forcefully take money from working people and give it to others.

    * Many folks feel it's ok having others paying to feed their children at school.

    * Many of our citizens born out of wedlock.

    * Permissiveness and porn excepted from television, theaters, music, and computers.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    March 28, 2018 6:18 p.m.

    "But we're not all lying at the same rate. The more religious people are, the less likely they are to believe lying is acceptable across a spectrum of scenarios."

    The second sentence above says nothing at all about the rate at which religious people lie.

  • cbm Salt Lake City, UT
    March 28, 2018 5:46 p.m.

    The problem with lying, as I've seen it first hand in a family relationship, is - if lying is a way of life, it then becomes very difficult to see the truth.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 28, 2018 4:37 p.m.

    Americans are more prone to believe lies because they are desperate. They accept the lies of Trump because they are desperate for a savior. And why are they so desperate? Because social power has gravitated to the top 1% along with their wealth. Money is social power. As the top 1% have increased their share of wealth, they have also acquired increased social power which they wield widely, off shoring, automating, destroying the lives of the rank and file. So of course the desperate rank and file will believe a charismatic showman like Trump. I have many old high school friends who have done so.

  • Dave T in Ogden Ogden, UT
    March 28, 2018 4:26 p.m.

    Amendment VI
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state

    Conservatives say the FBI is corrupt; I say the whole "impartial jury of the state" concept is corrupt.
    If the "Jury" of the House Intelligence Committee votes down party lines, given the same facts about Trump.
    If the "Jury" of the Supreme Court votes down party lines given the same US Constitution.
    The federal/Florida's AG choose to be guests of conservative media, shows they are partial from fairness.

    Yet members of the House Intelligence Committee, the Supreme Court, and AGs say the oath to the same US Constitution.

    As a result of our partisan politics, the 6th Amendment no longer gives the rights to an impartial jury, including those who still support Trump given all the facts. Our society has lost all moral compasses to be fair. You might as well rip the whole Constitution.

    Without this guiding Document to do what's right, we might as well become like Syria. They too have no guiding light to do what's right.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    March 28, 2018 4:08 p.m.

    America has lost some serious moral code. Hence, why we tolerate the corruption and fraud in Washington, local governments, in business, and in many of the things people do to each other. We have too many adults that believe in winning and gain at all costs and are role modeling that for younger generations.

  • Back Talk Federal Way, WA
    March 28, 2018 2:25 p.m.

    Protestents and Mormon "say" they dont agree that any lying is Ok. Saying is not Doing.

    Pretty crazy survey to compare taking a tax deduction that you dont have a reciept for or truly qualify for against lying to a spouse about an sexual affair. Wow, maybe my rationalization clock is really out of sync with everyone else.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    March 28, 2018 2:11 p.m.

    @Thid Barker
    But your response to seeing Democrats have a double standard is to justify your own. You continually post on anything critical of Republicans, particularly the president comments by pointing our Democrats acting badly.

    Who cares?!? I'm not voting for them! I'm a values voter, I'm not voting for them. What I'm getting at is you're excusing the President because Democrats did it too. That's the definition of hypocritical! You are letting their bad behavior set your expectations instead of standing by principle.

    “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” doesn't mean going along with whatever happens. It means that when there's a problem in our nation, we should make a concerted effort to correct it. The rampant dishonesty in our politics is a huge issue. Saying, "he did it first" doesn't fix anything.

  • DonO Draper, UT
    March 28, 2018 12:07 p.m.

    It's very fitting that you would put on your home page a picture of Donald Trump over the caption about Republicans accepting lying. He is by far the most duplicitous man to hold the office in recent memory. Bill Clinton lied about his personal behavior but Trump stretches the truth about anything and everything with which he doesn't agree. And it is disheartening to me that Republicans, including members of the LDS Church, are compromising their principles in the name of political expediency. I am not a "dooms-dayer" but I see this as a sign of the times.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    March 28, 2018 11:36 a.m.

    bass679: You will have to excuse me, I just get a little tired of the double standard! Nobody voted for Donald Trump because he didn't have flaws! Its just that the alternative was not flawless either! When the Democrats run a perfect person, I will vote for him/her! Until then, I just remember what Jesus taught. "First cast out the beam from your eye, and then you will see clearly to cast out the splinter from the eye of your brother." I think He meant we should not judge and always forgive others their flaws because we ALL have them! I didn't vote for President Trump, but because I love my country, we need him to succeed and not try to destroy him! That's all I have to say about that!

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    March 28, 2018 10:53 a.m.

    @Thid Barker
    Two wrongs don't make a right. Excusing behavior because the other guy does it too is just a heinous. And if you're trying to claim any sort of moral high ground it's also the very definition of hypocrisy.

    I get it's easier to give a snippy one liner than address the issue but it doesn't fix anything and it most certainly isn't winning in any sense of the word.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    March 28, 2018 9:52 a.m.

    When Democrats tell me how much Republicans lie, all I hear in my mind is, "It depends on what is, is"!

  • MrLogic Brigham City, UT
    March 28, 2018 6:28 a.m.

    "Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
    As to be hated needs but to be seen;
    Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
    We first endure, then pity, then embrace."

    -Alexander Pope

  • Ranch Here, UT
    March 28, 2018 6:20 a.m.

    I'm guessing many people lied on this survey. Based on what we see happening and what they say they believe.