The Wall Street Journal: We Will Not Call A Lie A Lie.

Credit: Screenshot

Credit: Screenshot.

Since President-elect Donald Trump won the election, he has continued his campaign habit of making inconsistent, unverifiable, or even just obviously false statements. The American public is left to rely on the media to learn the truth and make sense of his proclamations.

That’s exactly what the media is supposed to do with any politician—when the President lies, it is the press’ obligation to tell the public. But it’s doubly important with a politician like Trump, whose entire political career has often been punctuated by flagrant lies.

But when Trump lies, the Wall Street Journal—the second largest paper by circulation in the country—will not call it a lie, according to the its editor-in-chief Gerard Baker.

“I’d be careful about using the word, ‘lie.’ ‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead,” Baker told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press on Sunday.

Well no shit, Sherlock. A lie is a deliberate intent to mislead. That would be why it’s called a lie. A falsehood. A fabrication. For fuck’s sake, it truly is Nineteen Eighty Four, and Doublespeak is here.

Instead, Baker said the paper would investigate the claim, and then present both sides: What Trump said, and what the paper found. Then, the readers will be left to decide which account is correct.

As an example, Baker cited one of Trump’s more outrageous lies: When he claimed that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey gathered on rooftops to celebrate 9/11. Baker noted that the WSJ investigated his claim and found it baseless.

Right. That’s an excellent example of a lie, a deliberate intent to mislead people into thinking this made up bullshit was true. So, it’s a LIE. Big, yuuuuge LIE. It’s okay to say so.

“I think it’s then up to the reader to make up their own mind to say, ‘This is what Donald Trump says. This is what a reliable, trustworthy news organization reports. And you know what? I don’t think that’s true.’ I think if you start ascribing a moral intent, as it were, to someone by saying that they’ve lied, I think you run the risk that you look like you are, like you’re not being objective,” he said.

Oh fuck you, with bells on. You can leave it up to people to decide whether or not they are okay with someone lying, you can’t prevent that anyway. What you can do is call a LIE a LIE.  That’s not a moral judgement, it’s reporting the truth. Idiot. And fuck all this “both sides” bullshit, too. I’m not interested in being fair to tyrants, facsists, compulsive liars, or nazis, among others.

The full story is at Think Progress.


  1. cubist says

    So… the WSJ thinks that Looking Objective is such a prize that they can’t even print [insert statement here] is false. I can sort of see how they might not want to use the word ‘lie’, on account of a lie is a false statement whose utterer knew it was false—’mistake’ is a better term for a false statement whose utterer didn’t know it was false, so the word ‘lie’ could be taken as an assertion that you know whether or not the utterer really was aware that they were talking shit—but the WSJ can’t even bring themselves to say [false statement] is false. Can’t even explicitly acknowledge that a falsehood is a falsehood, regardless of its utterer’s state of mind or level of knowledge.

    Since when has Looking Objective ever required one to not explicitly acknowledge the difference between true statements and false statements?

  2. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    If they won’t call the inaccurate statements “lies”
    couldn’t they call Trump “thick as two short planks”?

  3. says

    Well no shit, Sherlock. A lie is a deliberate intent to mislead.

    In which case, I have to somewhat agree with him. He has no way to know for sure if there is a deliberate intent to mislead or if Trump just happens to be mistaken. I could be OK with that if he’d at least be sure to make it clear that the things Trump says are completely false. But, he goes off the rails when he takes this attitude of “Oh, we’ll just report what we find and let our readers decide.” That’s just stupid.

  4. naturalcynic says

    At some point the number of misstatements becomes too high to say anything other than they were lies. Trump passed that threshold at least a decade ago. Unless there is some kind of psychopathology where never knowing or understanding what the truth is is evident. In either case, it should be a disqualification and the utterer should be categorically ignored.

  5. samihawkins says

    So we have major news organizations openly admitting that Trump can lie all he wants and they won’t call him out on it, but my fellow liberals still cling to the delusion that he can be stopped with truth and facts.

    Because it’d be wrooong to resort to lies and propaganda. Doesn’t matter that the GOP just used lies and propaganda to take over all three branches of our government, we still can’y use those tactics because they’re wroooooong and doing something wrooooooooong is apparently worse than standing by and watching the GOP annihlate every progressive gain of the last century.

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