Sunday, May 27, 2018


The twittersphere is having another round of "why can't you just call Trump a liar" debate. I don't much care if they use the word "lie" but as was the case the last 15 times "we" had this debate, it's an incredibly dishonest debate, so to speak. Reporters say that they can't truly know that someone is lying, that they might just be mistaken, or that they have accidentally misspoke, and that labeling something a "lie" requires mind reading skills. It requires knowing what's in their hearts.

But journalists, in other contexts, do this *all the time*. "Paul Ryan believes..." or "Donald Trump believes..." or "Republicans believe..." (I'm sure they do similar for Democrats but I tend not to notice because it's usually at least closer to the truth) are regular constructions. You know, "Republicans believe that deficits are bad." That kind of thing. Republicans say lots of things and believe very few of the "beliefs" that are regularly attributed to them, beliefs that can only be, well, believed, if the journalists are capable of mind reading.

Word choice aside, we know that they know that they are dealing with regular liars (excuse me, people who pass on misinformation). And they still pass their bullshit along, sometimes anonymously, which is "information laundering" in the DC press. Allowing someone to pass on bullshit anonymously actually gives the bullshit more credibility than it would have had with a name attached to it. It's the silliest trick in the book, and one that our access press understands well but allow to happen anyway.

They can't call the president a liar, and they sympathize with the people who supposedly "have to" lie for him. They don't care much about their readers.

By "they" I mostly mean Maggie, of course.