Wall Street Journal's top editor says they won't call Trump a liar when Trump lies

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/02/wall-street-journals-top-edi.html


Well, he’s got us there. . . it’s highly problematic to ascribe moral intent to Trump.

We are so fucked.


To be expected of a Murdoch rag.


WSJ - weak affinity to Truth


That’s some real weaksauce right there. All statements can be challenged or questioned, but some are objectively false and some are not.



The Trump that some Americans elected was the enemy of most, if not all, of the free press. The actual Trump – GOP business as usual: re-populating the swamp with the banking industry elite etc – is surprise! okay with most of the Fourth Estate, because we know how our bread gets buttered.

There was a moment there when Trump denounced CNN that I thought “This is what we need, a media bulwark which is unafraid of speaking truth to power…” but now I suspect that cooler heads prevail – CNN will have butter with their bread.


Thing is, as long as they’re doing their job and instead of just calling it challengeable but actually presenting the truth along side the lies, that’s exactly what they should do. Calling it a lie does ascribe moral intent and unless it’s rigorously proven then to proclaim such would only play into Trump’s rhetoric that the media is biased and unfair. Granted this is coming from the same paper that has previously called statements by other people about other things a lie when there was no rigorous proof or even evidence of intent.


Perhaps they could ascribe ignorance?

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about; the poor ignorant bastard.”


Intent: that fine line between purposefully lying and simply being wrong. I can see their point, but track the misstatements, call the purveyor out on them, and if the same misstatements are being made 30 days later then start calling them lies.


The WSJ’s commitment to reporting facts is “questionable” and “challengeable.”


Calling a false statement “false” does not ascribe moral intent.

Wrong: Trump recently lent support the challengeable claim that Obama was born in Kenya.

Correct, but ascribing intent: Trump repeated the racist lie that Obama was born in Kenya in order to strengthen his base among white supremacists.

Correct and not ascribing intent: Trump once again falsely claimed that Obama was born in Kenya, repeating a long-disproved conspiracy theory popular among the white supremacist “Alt-right” movement.


As I understand this is the approach they intend to take.

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They said they’d use “questionable” rather than “false.” Not the same.


Wall Street Journal = Douche Bag Rag


Fine. Then here’s my parameters: when he says something false, the reporter and/or editor should contact Trump or his representative and demonstrate to them the information is false. If Trump or the representative continues to maintain the falsehood, then the story should be that despite being presented with facts the President is using false information to either make decision and is misleading the American people.

No value judgement, just facts.

But to just repeat the false information without calling it out is irresponsible.


Because they’re the “Clinton News Network”, of course. It’s meat for his demographic.

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Noticeable amount of comments already that reflect why voting systems to try stopping fake news simply won’t work: peoples’ opinions on the believability of a news source tends to be based on how much it reinforces what they want to believe, regardless of whether it’s true or not.


Just calling the speaker’s statement challengeable indicates that it might be true or false. If something is known to be false, then the person who uttered it either did not know the truth, or knew the truth, but spoke an untruth. To speak an untruth knowingly is objectively call lying. There is just no getting around that.

Now you can argue that there are things that cannot be determined to be either truth or fact. In that case, calling someone a liar is unfair. But if the there is an objective truth, like in the case of Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were celebrating on 9/11 (which is false), that is lying.


So if I get this straight, you’re not deciding whether what Trump says is true or not, you are deciding whether he is lying or ignorant.