Wall Street Journal Editor Says His Newspaper Won't Call Donald Trump's Lies 'Lies'

"It wasn't a lie, it was just, you know, bullshit." -- Elwood Blues

Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker said his newspaper would not refer to false statements from the Trump administration as "lies," because doing so would ascribe a "moral intent" to the statements.

Baker appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" Sunday, where he described some of President-elect Donald Trump's falsehoods as "questionable" and "challengeable." But, he said, "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."

He said reporters should state the facts, but leave classifying them to readers, citing the example of Trump's claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were celebrating on 9/11 (which is false). [...]

The New York Times editorial board has used "lie" to describe Trump's rampant abuse of facts. And Washington Post conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin has taken the media to task for not using the word. Other outlets ― including MSNBC, New York Magazine and HuffPost ― will use the word when it's merited.

But Baker said that in doing so, "you run the risk that you look like you are, you're not being, objective."

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3 Responses:

  1. Not Frank says:

    I have seen it pointed out that Trump is more a bullshitter than a liar, in that liars consider truth to hold importance (and so attempt to alter it), whereas bullshitters merely care that you're impressed by them and will trample over truth and lies in the process, and not even care later what they said.

    That stated, per the above, Trump saying things to make people impressed with him is deliberate misleading.

  2. robert_ says:

    Memories of the New York Times, when it questioned whether it should be the in the business of challenging claims and looking for the truth.

    Looks like they were ahead of their time.