Yes, Rick Perry may have made “oops” the word of the moment, but at least he wasn’t lying, he just plain forgot. Nobody’s perfect. We forgive a simple mistake; it’s deceit that becomes a lie we can’t forgive. So many big whoppers were revealed this year that 2011 might be called “The Year of the Lie.”
Here are the 11 biggest lies of 2011:
#11. Pakistan: “We don’t know whereUsama Bin Laden is!” Oops, the fact Usama was found 100 yards from a Pakistani military academy in a fortified compound has proved embarrassing both for the Pakistani military and for its civilian government, calling into question whether they knew about his presence in Abbottabad—or how they could have failed to know.
#10. John Edwards. “I did not break the law.” Former presidential hopeful John Edwards first said he wasn’t the father of his former campaign aide’s child and then, when proof surfaced, he was. This year he pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he solicited and secretly spent more than $925,000 in campaign contributions to hide his mistress and their baby from the public at the height of his presidential campaign. Edwards' lawyers argued that the secret spending was designed to hide the affair from his wife, Elizabeth, not to aid the campaign. Oops, so much for his 2007 Father of the Year Award.
#9. Michelle Bachmann: The HPV vaccine “can cause mental retardation.” After criticizing Texas Gov. Rick Perry for mandating a vaccine for school girls, Rep. Michele Bachmann claimed to have met a woman whose daughter suffered mental retardation from the vaccine, that it has "very dangerous consequences" and that it puts "little children's lives at risk." Oops, the American Academy of Pediatrics, which includes 60,000 primary care pediatricians, issued a formal response addressing her “false statements.”
#8. Casey Anthony. She’s the Florida mother acquitted of killing her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, left an Orlando county jail as a free woman. Inexplicable was Casey’s carefree conduct for the 31 days following Caylee’s disappearance, as she stayed with her boyfriend, went to nightclubs, took shopping excursions, and got a tattoo that proclaimed "Bella Vita," beautiful life in Italian. All the while, she was telling her mother and her friends that Caylee was being cared for by a nanny. The problem: the nanny didn’t exist. Oops, she lied, but after 11 hours of deliberations, the jury found her not guilty of any involvement in Caylee’s death.
#7. Solyndra: Less than three months before declaring bankruptcy, the federally-backed solar power company Solyndra sent a memo to Congress describing the company as "ramping" up its production, that it was "competitive" with foreign rivals and "on track" to hit its financial targets for the year. Oops, taxpayers are now on the hook for nearly $530 million.
#6. Penn State and its administration. We are “Penn State proud!” Former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been charged with 40 counts of molesting eight boys over 15 years, but several men had the opportunity to end a horrific tale of child rape. For reasons only they can understand, they did not. These men who acted as role models for so many, could not find the courage, given the chance, to “do the right thing” and stop a colleague from hurting children. Oops, they have to forever live with their consciences.
#5. Conrad Murray. Michael Jackson took the propofol himself! After Jackson’s personal physician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the judge blasted his arrogance, "lies and deceits," and violation of trust. Oops, Murray waited 30 minutes to call 911, told a security guard to hide the propofol, and lied to the hospital doctors about what medication he had given Jackson.
#4. Herman Cain. “There is not an ounce of truth to all these allegations." After being confronted with sexual harassment charges, Herman Cain said the reason his story continued to change was that he was able to "gradually recall" the details of what happened. He accused five women of being liars, and oops, his candidacy has derailed.
#3. Mariah Yeater. “Justin Bieber is, in fact, the father of my baby.” The teen idol’s legal team called the allegations made in a paternity suit "malicious, defamatory and demonstrably false.” Oops, seems they were right, the suit was quickly dropped and Yeater’s 15 minutes are up.
#2. The Kardashians: “This was not an easy decision,” Kim said as she announced her divorce from Kris Humphries. Not an easy decision? It only took you 72 days to make! Worse, one day after she filed for divorce, her mother claimed they “didn’t make a dime” from the wedding. Oops, reports are she earned $18 million for the event.
#1. Reality TV. Can we all just agree that “reality” TV is not real?
Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to each other that in 2012, we’ll do better.
Lis Wiehl is the legal analyst and contributor on the Fox News Channel and the author of the new book "THE TRUTH ADVANTAGE: The 7 Keys to a Happy and Fulfilling Life."