People Share The Best Examples Of When An Attempt To Cover Something Up Totally Backfired
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Lies and secrets, secrets and lies. They always find a way to trickle out. Why we think we can make a big problem go by covering it up is beyond me. Nine times out of ten, the reason the drama is so fraught is because of the cover-up. If we would just attend to issues when they arise with logic, we'd all be a lot better off. But we're humans, we learn nothing.

Redditor u/Inflatabledartboard4 wanted to see who was willing to openly discuss about the times the "plan"... went completely off the rails by asking... What is the best example of a major cover-up backfiring?

I can't tell you how many times in school I tried to devise cover ups to cover up cover ups. More often than not the planning and execution was a mess but the the stories themselves got so convoluted you'd think I was living in a film parody of The Matrix. Note to self... never steal you mother's jewelry and then try to pass it off as her new birthday present. SMH. I have no explanation or defense.

Never Gone

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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.


In the USSR

The soviet union trying to say that Chernobyl wasn't as big a deal as it actually was.


One of my grandparent's 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.


Dark Waters

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 "f**k 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.


The Papers

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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.



Volkswagen and the emission dodging.


What was surreal was seeing thousands of them sitting in the parking lot of the Silverdome, the old Detroit Lion's stadium. I live just south of there and to see VWs mistake next to the derelict stadium was a trip.


Nevermind cover ups, those are some high crimes and misdemeanors. And so many plagued by tragic loss. Just so everyone knows... the Flint water is still poison. Let's continue...

The Graves

Katyn Massacre or Chernobyl.

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.

Chernobyl: Basically, Chernobyl powerplant's reactor in the Ukraine in 1986 exploded and almost contaminated the whole of Europe. The USSR tried to cover it up, but Sweden detected the radiation from the fallout. Pripyat became a ghost town and the city of Chernobyl (the city the powerplant was powering) became semi deserted.


Lips Together and Blow...

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.



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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.



In 1974, Karen Silkwood was found dead, as a result of a car crash. Silkwood was a chemical technician and labor union activist who was about the reveal the safety hazards. Despite drugs found on the scene, the police and coroner didn't believe the drug claim and went looking for other likely others. After being informed about death threats from her family, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the State Medical Examiner found radioactive contamination in her body.

This prompted an investigation at Kerr-McGee, the company Silkwood was talking about, which reveal the very problems that were about to going to be exposed to the media. Kerr-McGee had to pay up for what was done as they were held liable.


Oh Florida...

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Recent Polk County, Florida deputies losing (stealing) cash evidence, trying to cover it up, and getting fired.


What have we learned? Nothing right? Read again, just lead with the truth. It'll sting but as you can see... the other options will make it all much worse. This is particularly important for any future politicians following along. Don't be these guys.


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