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"You Can’t Just Say the President Is Lying"

The limits of honesty in the mainstream press

[From a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. sponsored by Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism (11/4/04), excerpted from Extra! January/February 2005  http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=21&extra_issue_id=140]
... Loren Ghiglione (Medill School of Journalism, Moderator): Why can't you say it plainly?

[Elizabeth Bumiller (New York Times)]: You can't just say the president is lying. You don't just say that in the . . . you just say—

Ghiglione: Well, why can't you?

[laughter from the audience]

Bumiller: You can in an editorial, but I'm sorry, you can't in a news column. Mr. Bush is lying? You can say Mr. Bush is, you can say. . . .

[Murmuring and laughter continue from audience.]

Bumiller [to audience]: And stop the fussing! You can say Mr. Bush's statement was not factually accurate. You can't say the president is lying—that's a judgment call.

[Susan Page (USA Today)]: I think its much more powerful to say, "However, the president's statement did not reflect the record"—

Bumiller: Or "was not factually accurate."

Page: "Was not factually accurate." I think that's more powerful than. . . .

[Audience continues to murmur.]

Bumiller [to audience]: What is wrong with that? What is your problem with that? What? Why do you all object to that?...

homepage: homepage: http://www.fair.org/
address: address: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting

Or, is it: "You Can't Say Just the President is Lying"? 11.Jun.2005 17:39


Well, hell, in that case...Dick Cheney is lying, Condoleeza Rice is lying, Donald Rumsfeld is lying, John Negroponte is lying, Michael Chertoff is lying, Roberto Gonzales is lying, Porter Goss is lying (no big deal, it's a job requirement at CIA), Robert Mueller is lying, ... you get the picture.

Also included in who is lying are the elected in the legislative branch, especially the leadership positions, who have more opportunities (and need) to lie. One name will be mentioned, however: Tom DeLay is lying!

In the interest of full, fair and responsible treatment, the same goes for Bill Clinton, Al Gore, et al.

dictionary.reference.com gives definitions of "lying":

v. lied, ly·ing, (lng) lies
v. intr.
To present false information with the intention of deceiving.
To convey a false image or impression...

v. tr.
To cause to be in a specific condition or affect in a specific way by telling falsehoods...

The Misleaders (random selection)
The Misleaders (random selection)

splitting hairs 11.Jun.2005 21:10

frizzy frizzy

The mainstream media, and perhaps the culture at large, seem to think it matters whether someone is being INTENTIONALLY DECEITFUL, which is unknowable and unproveable, or is merely expressing falsehoods due to a negligent disregard for the truth. I don't think the difference is important, myself.

ok, then...corp media! don't like to be put on the spot, eh? 11.Jun.2005 22:25


...let's say that YOU--the corporate media are the lackeys of these military contractor corporations--and that YOU are the liars committing cover up's for your boss! You intellectual prostitutes! Your purpose as so clear to me above is simply to perpetuate doublethink.

I like Al Sharpton, who always tells it like it is. 11.Jun.2005 22:53


Sharpton Says Bush Lied, Hopes President Knew It

MILWAUKEE, Feb. 15 -- The question from panelist Lester Holt seemed simple enough: Did President Bush lie to the American people about the war in Iraq, and if so, why?

"Well, first of all, I think that if he did know he was lying and was lying, that's even worse," Al Sharpton explained. "Clearly, he lied. Now if he is an unconscious liar, and doesn't realize when he's lying, then we're really in trouble. Because, absolutely, it was a lie."

As the audience began to murmur and laugh, Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) was caught on camera trying unsuccessfully to stifle a chuckle. Sharpton was just getting warmed up.

"They said they knew the weapons were there. . . . So I hope he knew he was lying, because if he didn't, and just went in some kind of crazy, psychological breakdown, then we are really in trouble. Clearly, you know, I'm a minister. Why do people lie? Because they're liars. He lied in Florida; he's lied several times. I believe he lied in Iraq," he concluded, to heavy applause.

Undaunted, Holt, of MSNBC, sought clarification. "Why would he lie?" the panelist asked.

After another long response, Sharpton said the definitive account should be left to Bush: "I think we should give him the rest of his retirement to figure that out and explain to us."