President Trump certainly has a record of making statements that are false. Or put another way, statements for which there is no credible evidence in support of his support his statements in question. Does this mean he lied? It might, but only if he knew the actual facts relative to his statements and intentionally misrepresented the truth. Something we all know politicians of both parties do more than just occasionally.
Does Donald Trump lie? If you read the fact checks conducted by a growing number of major media outlets, you bet. Like, all the time. And not just little stretches of the truth.
Just over half the Trump statements checked by Politifact’s Truth-o-Meter
were classified as false or pants-on-fire false, for example, while The Washington Post
’s fact checker gave a four Pinocchio rating
(its highest falsehood) to nearly 65 percent of the Trump claims it checked.
But what if we can’t agree on the facts? How do you determine “truth?” And if there is no agreement, is it still OK for the mainstream media to call them lies? Chuck Todd asked Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker as much on “Meet the Press”, and Baker’s response sort of broke the Internet.
“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. I think it’s perfectly — when Donald Trump says thousands of people were on the rooftops of New Jersey on 9/11 celebrating, thousands of Muslims were there celebrating, I think it’s right to investigate that claim, to report what we found, which is that nobody found any evidence of that whatsoever, and to say that.
“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.”
Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent shot back that of course the media has an obligation to call out Trump’s lies – and use the word lies – because Trump continues to repeat falsehoods even after they have been debunked. He’s a new kind of political animal, Sargent argued, and the media is utterly unprepared to cover his presidency.
The takeaway? It’s going to be a long four years for the press, and this debate has only just begun. (MORE BELOW THE FOLD)
Our nation is now divided by starkly different political ideologies, With the exception of The War Between The States we have never been so divided. Right now our major political parties are, on most important issues affecting all Americans, 180 degrees apart. And it seems as though there exists no desire to find common ground.
Unless Americans start demanding from their congressional representatives and senators a degree of bipartisanship, mutual cooperation, concern for America rather than party ideology, and putting the welfare of all Americans as their foremost responsibility we are doomed as a democratic republic.