You remember when you were a kid and you do something wrong, and then you have to decide whether to come clean with your parents or make something up instead, and you always choose the excuse and it’s never a good idea?
I think it’s because most human beings can sniff out a lie and a coverup, a misdirection, even when we’re not trying to (and that goes double for parents).
Here are 12 times full-grown adults tried to cover up huge mistakes, only to have it not really work at all.
12. I mean that’s a big grave.
Katyn Massacre: Red Army troops during WWII killed and buried 22,000 Polish officers. The German Army found this mass grave and asked the local SS Commander if it was his graves. The SS Commander said it wasn’t his graves.
The Red Army though insisted it was the Nazis that did it. Boris Yeltsin later admitted to grave in 1992.
11. It was time to panic.
The soviet union trying to say that Chernobyl wasn’t as big a deal as it actually was.
One of my grandparents’ neighbors in Poland was a Belorussian guy from one of the closest towns to Chernobyl in Belarus.
The plant is basically on the Ukraine/Belarus border, and a huge amount of fallout happened in Belarus.
No one was informed until everyone else was, even though they got almost as much fallout as Prypiat. The way he describes it, they were across the border, so they didn’t want to share. Even when they did, the Belarusian gov maintained the thought process that it wasn’t a big deal, like the USSR was claiming.
No one was to be relocated. He was a teenager at the time and left for Minsk as soon as he could because of how pissed off the whole thing made him. His whole family stayed except for him, farming away while he was in the city and then moved to Poland after he met his Polish wife.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of his family died of cancer.
10. Still surreal.
Volkswagen and the emission dodging.
The crazy part of that story to me was always just how brazen they were about it.
If you hear the quick summary (VW realized their system wouldn’t pass the emissions test, so they developed software that detected when an emissions test was being conducted, and changed the engine’s operation to a mode that was much less fuel-efficient, but would pass the test), you would probably think the system was just being tweaked.
Maybe normal operating emissions were 1.5x, or something like that… but since it was a scandal, maybe it was more like 3-5x? They couldn’t have possibly designed a system that was too far off – they would have gone back to the lab if it was 10x, right?
Nope. It was more like 40x the limit.
9. And it’s still not over.
The water crisis in Flint.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha had been in touch with the Genesee Department of Health for months about Elevated Lead Levels (ELLs), and they went out of their way to obfuscate the data and make it seem like everything was normal. Dr. Hanna-Attisha brings in a research team from Virginia which shows that the ELLs are correlated with zip codes that recently switched water supplies. They still ignore/deny what’s happening. Finally, Dr. Hanna-Attisha says “fuck it”, and holds a press conference telling people that their water is unsafe and to stop using it immediately.
A major public health crisis could have been mitigated if the public health officials spent more time doing their job and less time worrying about whether or not it pisses the governor off
8. Sometimes it’s best to just leave things alone.
i guess the Streisand effect?
for those who don’t know, someone took a photo of Barbara Streisand’s Malibu home and posted it online. The photo didn’t get much attention until Barbara Streisand tried to have the photo blocked for the sake of her privacy.
Upon hearing that Streisand wanted the photo removed, the image became forbidden fruit and was viewed millions of times across the internet.
If she hadn’t tried to cover it up, no one would have looked.
7. As long as there is justice in the world.
Anyone mentioned Joe Michael Singer yet? And his rich daddy trying to use DMCA takedowns to remove images of his son violently assaulting two shop clerks.
Every video that gets taken down, three more spring up.
6. It’s risky business, that’s for sure.
Basically any case involving a dead about-to-be whistle blower. Killing someone is a good way to shut a person up. Its also a very good way of drawing attention to the person and what they had to say. The best way to cover something up is discredit the whistle blower.
5. As it should have.
Ex-UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi paid $175k to have the 2011 pepper spray incident removed from Google search results for the university, which brought the incident back into the public eye and was one of the scandals that eventually led to her resignation.
4. Florida, am I right?
Recent Polk County, Florida deputies losing (stealing) cash evidence, trying to cover it up, and getting fired.
3. Definitely unwise.
In 1973 the director of the CIA Richard Helms was worried that the watergate congressional investigations would spill over into investigations into the CIA so he ordered the destruction of all documents related to the MKUltra program.
20,000 documents were incorrectly stored with financial records and were not destroyed. They were later uncovered during an FOIA request and turned over to Congress.
2. Kickstarting a movement.
When EA tried to explain why it takes 6 quadrillion hours to unlock Darth Vader and got downvoted into oblivion.
Errr, that is vastly underselling it. The blowback wasn’t “being downvoted”.
That blowback was that it really kickstarted a movement and global awareness about loot crates, micro-transactions, and targeting minors and people with gambling issues with luck based purchases that continues to this day. It wasn’t just “why do I have to buy things to have any chance of realistically unlocking characters” it was “why do I have to buy luck based objects (see: gambling) for a chance to unlock the best content”
They basically opened their big stupid mouths about an issue only select people in the industry talked about, and said “Hey, our business model is really parasitic, and the fact that we are trying to call them “surprise mechanics” to avoid the term gambling is a big warning there is a ton of fuckery afoot.
Shortly after Belgium banned it affecting not just that game, but FIFA and other big revenue whales, and other countries are still threatening to follow suit or greatly limit loot crates + microtransactions.
1. It was inevitable, really.
Putin becoming used in millions of memes because the Russian Government tried to ban his likeness used in memes.
You’d think that people would learn, but they really don’t.
If you’ve got something to add to this list, put it down in the comments!