WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Calling Out a Liar

Sep 27, 2016

As reported on NPR's Morning Edition last week, the New York Times is not mincing words when covering the campaign of Donald Trump. The newspaper is using the word "lie" often in its coverage of the Republican nominee for president.  

Shop Talk moderator Rich Egger said it's common for politicians to stretch the truth but it's unusual for the media to label anyone as a liar.

Panelist Will Buss said that's true -- but Trump is an unusual candidate.  Buss suggested journalists focus on objective and factual reporting, let the audience reach its own conclusions, and avoid labeling candidates.  

But Buss added it's tough to argue with the Times' decision. He said Trump is reckless in his approach and spreads falsehood after falsehood -- and what is a falsehood but a lie?

Panelist Jasmine Crighton said reporters usually avoid calling politicians liars because it's difficult to prove their intent. But she said there are numerous examples of Trump lying, with the birther controversy among the most prominent. Trump ignores facts and spreads misinformation. What else should he be called if not a liar? 

Crighton would not be surprised if other news media follow suit and start labeling lies as lies instead of using softer sounding synonyms.