Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The American media still can't handle a lie

The American media still can't handle a lie

 

Earlier this week, I promised a megapost on Mitt Romney, which would have focused on the facts that a) his campaign for president was based largely on lies and b) no one seems to be mentioning this. That post won't be coming, as I've been ordered to cover Penn State tonight and then start my furlough to write the 1948 Eagles project.

Instead, I will note that Romney's lies have caught the attention of the public editor of the New York Times. How should the paper handle the problem? He has not a clue.

Another example: on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches “apologizing for America,” a phrase to which Paul Krugman objected in a December 23 column arguing that politics has advanced to the “post-truth” stage.

As an Op-Ed columnist, Mr. Krugman clearly has the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie. My question for readers is: should news reporters do the same?

If so, then perhaps the next time Mr. Romney says the president has a habit of apologizing for his country, the reporter should insert a paragraph saying, more or less:

“The president has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president’s words.”

Many folks on the Internet say it's pathetic that the New York Times even had to ask this question, and personally I think it's beyond pathetic. When journalists find its easier to repeat provable lies rather than  challenge them, it's time to ask ourselves why we even bothered to become journalists. In recent days, Romney has made himself a little more available to reporters. I find it hard to believe that no one has yet asked him for a) specific examples of when Obama has apologized for America and b) specific examples of European-style socialism the president is imposing (um, does he mean the health care plan that was modelled after Romney's health care plan?...). If journalists can't force Mitt Romney to handle the truth, that's pathetic, too.

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Will Bunch
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