Donald Trump Has Freed Up Journalists' Ability To Call Bullshit; But It Won't Last, Nor Extend To Others

from the that's-too-bad dept

If you’ve been watching the political press at all this election season, you may notice something interesting that’s different: the press is now calling bullshit on Donald Trump pretty regularly. Perhaps nothing has made this quite as clear as whoever handles the chyron text for CNN, who seems to take a bit of delight in real time fact checking of Donald Trump in a manner never really seen before:


Of course, there are different ways to look at this. If you’re Michael Goodwin at the NY Post, you argue that it’s yet another example of the horrible biased liberal media, but even worse because now it’s dropped all pretenses:

It?s pure bias, which the Times fancies itself an expert in detecting in others, but is blissfully tolerant of its own. And with the top political editor quoted in the story as ?approving the one-sided coverage as necessary and deserving, the prejudice is now official policy.

It?s a historic mistake and a complete break with the paper?s own traditions. Instead of dropping its standards, the Times should bend over backwards to enforce them, even while acknowledging that Trump is a rare breed. That?s the whole point of standards ? they are designed to guide decisions not just in easy cases, but in all cases, to preserve trust.

That makes for a neat media narrative, but it doesn’t really make much sense. If it were the case, then we’d see this kind of bullshit calling on lots of conservative politicians. But that’s rarely the case. It seems to me that Ezra Klein’s take on the same issue, at Vox, is much more accurate. That the media feels freed of its awkward “objective” standpoint by the fact that Trump is just so blatant in his lies. This is not to say other politicians aren’t frequently dishonest or wrong. But Trump takes lying to a new level.

“The things Trump says are demonstrably false in a way that?s abnormal for politicians,” says the Atlantic?s James Fallows, who wrote the book Why Americans Hate the Media. “When he says he got a letter from the NFL on the debates and then the NFL says, ?No, he didn?t,? it emboldens the media to treat him in a different way.”

Politicians are not fully truthful. Everyone knows that. But they make a basic effort at being, as Stephen Colbert put it, truthy. The statistics they cite are usually in the neighborhood of correct. The falsehoods they offer are crafted through the careful omission of fact rather than the inclusion of falsehood. They may say things journalists know are wrong ? climate change denial is a constant among Republican officeholders ? but they protect themselves by wrapping their arguments in well-constructed controversy or appealing to hand-selected experts.

This is part of how political reporting operates. Politicians are allowed to be wrong, but they can?t lie. Trump just lies.

This is a big difference, but one that many people often confuse. Getting things wrong — because you’re misinformed, because you just really want to believe something is true, or because you just made a mistake — is one thing. But pure fabrication is something different. And it’s the outright fabrications that the press feels comfortable calling out.

The question is what does this actually mean for journalism? Goodwin, at the Post, sees this as the downfall of journalism. The fact that the media will actually call someone out on their lies is seen as “bias” because it’s not done equally to other candidates. Klein sees this as a temporary state of being — because most other candidates will return to their truthy wrongness with the press happy to eat that up, with nothing more than a “he said/she said” type of false equivalency when there’s some question about the facts.

Another writer, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, more or less agrees with Goodwin that this is somehow freeing the press up to be biased, after noting how much he disagrees with Trump — but worries about the press feeling emboldened.

I hate Trump, and I hope he loses. But I fear one consequence of his candidacy will be an even more biased press in the future.

Then there’s Klein, who thinks that Trump’s uniqueness means that this is a unique scenario for the press as well, and one that has many of them uncomfortable:

Covering Trump this way isn?t freeing. It?s uncomfortable, both for individual journalists and for the broader institutions they serve. I think, if anything, the likely reaction will be overcorrection: The press would be so happy to have a semi-normal Republican candidate it could cover respectfully that whoever follows Trump is likely to benefit from a bit of halo effect just by comparison.

Like so much else in this election, what defines the press?s coverage of Trump isn?t that he?s a Republican but that there is something abnormal about him, about his campaign, and about the dynamics surrounding it. Assuming more normal politicians succeed him, more normal forms of coverage will reassert themselves.

I think Klein is probably right here, and this is an unfortunate thing. Because we should want our press to be calling bullshit. It’s not bias to call out someone when they lie. It’s not bias to point out someone said something that’s wrong. We should get over this lame “he said/she said” concept behind the stupidly fake idea of “objective” reporting, and do what reporters should be doing: calling bullshit when there’s actual bullshit.

If there’s any bias in the media, it’s not because they’re calling bullshit, but because they’re not doing it enough. They should be more aggressive in pointing out not just what’s an outright lie, but when a politician says something that’s wrong (though they should distinguish between what’s just wrong and what’s a deliberate lie). Klein is probably right that reporters will go back to their old ways after this election, and Goodwin and Gobry will breathe a sigh of relief, but the reality is that we’ll be losing out on a real opportunity to move the media from compliant stenographers to actual journalists.

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Comments on “Donald Trump Has Freed Up Journalists' Ability To Call Bullshit; But It Won't Last, Nor Extend To Others”

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93 Comments
Whatever says:

I think perhaps you have a bit of a problem between “bullshit” and “I don’t like your answer”. The press are calling out Trump because his stuff is over the top bullshit, with absolutely no space for doubt. The press can call it out, because it’s clear and not subject of opinion or debate.

It’s rare that things are so clear cut. Most of the time, there are at least two possible interpretations of someone’s statements, or enough provable truth in the lies that it’s hard to split them out. The media still do a pretty good job (many news organizations run fact check stories) but the generally don’t call someone and out and out liar, often pointing to shreds of truth that salt the lies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Fact checking

The Australian public broadcaster the ABC used to have a fact checking team for a few years debunking politicians claims until it was defunded just before the last Federal election last month.

As the rest of the media landscape is owned by paid up members of the current Liberal/National Party coalition there is little fact checking now that the former factcheckers have been liberated from their jobs only to find that nobody else wants then. We sure need them, but those who pay the wages don’t want any sunshine on their bought & paid for politicians.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Fact checking

It’s one of the ongoing issues of media and politics. Media has the ability to shape people’s opinion, and the owners of media have rarely been shy to try.

The biggest difference is that in the past, you might see editorials or op-eds in support of a given candidate. In more recent years. we have seen the media becoming more and more mouth pieces for their chosen party. I think of it as the Fox News Effect. Online sites like Breibart don’t even attempt to get the facts right, pouring lies and misdirection into the political debate (see #hillaryhealth for more of that crap).

The total lack of fact in news reporting these days is pretty scary.

bob says:

Re: Re: Re:

As the article pointed out there is (at least to journalists and politicians) a difference between blatant lying and being wrong or saying half-truths. Everyone expects the half-truths from politicians (we really should accept that behavior) but nobody wants to deal with blatant lies.

Trump is the blatant liar. He will say something that is so blatantly false that beyond any doubt you know it is false.

Other politicians (all of them that I have seen) will say stuff that is wrong but that does have a small kernel (very small sometimes) of truth to it.

For example saying 50% of people are blank when the number is more like 46%. As opposed to Trump saying the 50% and then adding I did the survey personally door to door.

That is the problem with a blatant liar.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

ha ha ha ha…

How can you breath with all of that BS flying around your head? Trump is NOT the only BLATANT LIAR in the election.

Remember, every time you open your fucking mouth the bullshit you are spewing gets everywhere, and as you breath in to charge up for another round of spewing that bullshit you inhale the shit you just dispersed.

I have been watching the news since the Clintoons… the only things I see in the news are Blatant lies. The only reason Bush was hated by the left is because a D was not next to his name. He lied just as good as the rest of your clowns!

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

There is real danger in these waters....

“Covering Trump this way isn’t freeing. It’s uncomfortable, both for individual journalists and for the broader institutions they serve. I think, if anything, the likely reaction will be overcorrection: The press would be so happy to have a semi-normal Republican candidate it could cover respectfully that whoever follows Trump is likely to benefit from a bit of halo effect just by comparison.”

And not just by the media, mind you. The next Republican Presidential candidate is already guaranteed to appear more likable, more sane, more Presidential by virtue of following this fiasco of a cycle. It’s funny, but four years ago Ted Cruz was unelectable because of his place on the political spectrum being too extreme. What a Trump candidacy may have done is shift the American public’s zero-point on the political spectrum to the right, far more than Bernie Sanders did so to the left. In 2020, Ted Cruz may still be considered extreme, but will likely realize less of a penalty for that extremeness because of this election cycle.

And that should be terrifying. It’s also yet another reason why the press should not be engaging in false dichotomy and slaving itself to concepts of equal time that are undeserving.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: There is real danger in these waters....

The next Republican Presidential candidate is already guaranteed to appear more likable, more sane, more Presidential by virtue of following this fiasco of a cycle. It’s funny, but four years ago Ted Cruz was unelectable because of his place on the political spectrum being too extreme. What a Trump candidacy may have done is shift the American public’s zero-point on the political spectrum to the right, far more than Bernie Sanders did so to the left. In 2020, Ted Cruz may still be considered extreme, but will likely realize less of a penalty for that extremeness because of this election cycle.

There’s a term for this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: There is real danger in these waters....

Which can only be applied to Donald… amiright?

I mean… its not like the communist democratic party is not in the same boat.

Both of these candidates suck ass, but voting for trump would be more fun just to piss off the idiots that hate his ass.

This election is going to be nothing more than pick your poison as usual, and every mindless asshole that votes for anyone in a party deserves the fucking misery that their government visits upon them!

Every Nation gets the government it deserves!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: There is real danger in these waters....

That’s right… you can’t be guilty of shit! You are just perfect. There is no way someone that avoids blame is guilty of anything!

Every problem we have right now was foretold by George Washington. You going to call him a victim blamer and politically ignorant as well?

Go read his farewell address Mr. “Political Ignorance!”

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: There is real danger in these waters....

The next Republican Presidential candidate is already guaranteed to appear more likable, more sane, more Presidential by virtue of following this fiasco of a cycle.

Neither sides candidate will look better in the next election cycle, what will look better is someone from further outside the current establishment. If we have learned anything from this election, with the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, is people want real change and are so desperate for that change, they are willing to run down the equally failed paths of Fascism and Socialism. That does not bode well for the US, both paths lead to societal upheaval, and a further erosion of basic rights.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: There is real danger in these waters....

“what will look better is someone from further outside the current establishment”

Isn’t the typical support call for Trump based around the fact that he’s not part of the establishment? It’s weird, American politics is the only arena where I hear having absolutely zero experience in a related field being pushed as a qualification. Yet, the candidate picked with this in mind is widely agreed to be terrible and toxic for the country, and what you need is someone with even less experience? It’s a very strange thing to behold from afar.

“equally failed paths of Fascism and Socialism”

Most developed countries have no problem with socialism and have benefited greatly from it. They understand what the word actually means, of course, and combine it with democracy rather than communism, or whatever current boogeyman word is being misused recently. Actual democratic socialism, which is what Sanders was mostly supporting from what I understand, is not a problem. Fascism, however, doesn’t tend to end well for the country or the people, and doesn’t mix well with demoracy.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Solving the wrong problem

If giving politicians a pass when they lie is a ‘break from tradition’, then I say don’t just break it, shatter it and throw away the pieces. News agencies absolutely should be calling politicians out when they lie, doing otherwise just allows politicians to use them as an avenue to lie with impunity, further emboldening politicians to lie since they know the press won’t call them out on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Solving the wrong problem

Trump has basically called all media liars and untrustworthy as well as several of his voters are already convinced.

Usually politicians are sneaky in fabricating “evidence” for what they are saying. Trump doesn’t even bother. As much as you should call out politicians for their fabrications, they are usually made in a way that hides the real senders, making it a heavy detective-work to find the evidence.
And when a month has passed since the statement, the person has touched on the subject in enough ways since then to wrap it in as slight misspeak and point to a later more wishywashy statement. If you keep digging after that, you will get stamped as “running a smear-campaign”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Solving the wrong problem

Trump has basically called all media liars and untrustworthy as well as several of his voters are already convinced.

I considered the media a bunch of liars more than 20 years ago. I don’t think Trump’s accusation of the medias lies are even really part of the conversation.

Regardless of which side anyone is on, all lies and untruths should be exposed. We can ill afford either Trump or Hillary spewing their lies while any significant portion of the worthless and according to some “blameless” electorate cheers each candidate on.

If you can get behind a liar, then you have no right to bitch about other lies!

Anonymous Coward says:

Lose Lose Situation

It is interesting to read the “journalist” fully agree there is a serious bias going on but since it is driving so much media attention to their site they don’t care. Massive amounts of ethical and possible political corruption in the Clinton emails are being disclosed daily yet the media wants to report on Trump saying something stupid. Saying and doing are two different things. Did you know there was a flood in Louisiana? Not likely because all the media wants to report on is Trump saying something about [insert issue here].

The US media is seriously out of touch. I am not saying new and all I can do is hang my head in disgust because it will not change anytime soon.

“What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lose Lose Situation

Not only is the email scandal being ignored, check out the videos on YouTube about her health. She has a real health problem going on and nobody is talking about it. She is quite likely not physically fit and possibly mentally fit for the job depending on the cause of the issue.

JBDragon (profile) says:

Re: Wouldn't it be awesome if...

Look, it’s the Clinton News Network calling out Trump, what’s new? Free Pass all day long for Clinton!!! Most mainstream news is so one sided it’s laughable these days. I know about as much about Obama now as I did before he got elected. How did he manage to pay for collage, his grades, etc? Do you know? It’s all been hush, hush, but man, the digging in trash and everything else for Sarah Palin was out of the world and she was running for just Vice President. Then twisting everything she said. While with Obama, they have shivers going up their legs when he talked. The only way he can, with a teleprompter.

RARELY is he ever asked a hard question. It’s always softballs. Then talking about a whole lot of nothing anyway that had nothing to do with the easy question. Zero experience running anything.

Not that I was a fan of BUSH or McCain or any other BUSH as they’re just huge RINO’s. Really, just a wing of the Democrat Party. That’s why the country is going into the crapper.

I liked John F. Kennedy, a Democrat of course, but these days, he would be considered a crazy right wing Republican.

John Cressman (profile) says:

Seriously?!

Please… walk yourself back to reality. It’s completely biased. Any fool can see that.

Now, that’s not saying that Trump is lying, but it’s being pointed out FAR, FAR, FAR more than other, more crooked politicians *cough* Hillary *cough*.

There IS NO OBJECTIVE media. Anyone who tells your differently is selling something. TechDirt certainly isn’t non-biased, it’s just that I happen to agree with your bias.

Objective journalism – if such a thing ever, truly existed – died the true death long, long ago.

Nowadays, nothing you look at is unbiased. Even science is biased. Look at all the “scientific” studies… milk is bad for you, paid by orange growers. Milk helps you lose weight, paid for by the diary association.

The media is having a field day because most of them are liberal democrats. Likewise, the conservative media is having a field day with Hillary because most of them are republicans.

Both sides haven’t figured out that people care more about Pokemon Go and Game of Thrones than they do about Politics.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Seriously?!

“Now, that’s not saying that Trump is lying, but it’s being pointed out FAR, FAR, FAR more than other, more crooked politicians cough Hillary cough.”

Your absolutely correct. I think the point of the story is that Trump is so blatant with it, that it’s making it super easy for the biased media to point out and beat to death… to the point that their ethics, what little they have, are starting to make them feel guilty.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Seriously?!

Disagree, Hillary makes it fucking easy too… but there is a difference.

Hillary has a D next to her name and Donald does not. I do not like Republicans, but the cognitive dissonance required to be a Democrat is truly boggling to the mind.

The road people take to avoid their destiny is often the road they find it on. This is the fucking Democratic Party in a nutshell! Inviting the very destruction they claim to hate in by the very front fucking door complete with fanfare!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Seriously?!

Politics has been mostly digested through night comedy shows. The scientific coverage from media are beyond terrible and it has been so for centuries. Most journalists lack the dedication and understanding to see how strong different sets of “evidence” are and mostly read the fluff (“summary”, “discussion”, “perspectivation” etc.) in more or less scientific work.

My point for modern media: There is a place much closer to objective than inviting a random nutjob to debate against an acclaimed scientist (“No need to let science stop a good discussion!”).

Your characterisation of modern media is not wrong. They are often even more blatant in their biases than most care to call them out on! But even before the “he says, she says”-methods and subjective talkshows got out of hand, the journalistic method in handling science-based content was questionable.

techflaws (profile) says:

Re: Seriously?!

Now, that’s not saying that Trump is lying, but it’s being pointed out FAR, FAR, FAR more than other, more crooked politicians cough Hillary cough.

Maybe, just maybe, that’s because Trump is lying FAR, FAR, FAR more often? You’re not suggesting there’s too few right-wing media like Breitbart & Co. around to expose ‘crooked’ Hillary’s lies, are you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Blantant?

by the fact that Trump is just so blatant in his lies

There is no one more blatant in their lies than Hillary and Obama. Obama stood in front of the UN two weeks after Benghazi and still told the lie about the YouTube video. That lie was debunked within a day of the attack. He and Hillary have done so much damage to our reputation it isn’t funny and yet the liberal media only cares about Trump. I am no Trump fan but until we get real journalism back, if we have ever had it, I will not watch lamestream media.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Blantant?

There is no one more blatant in their lies than Hillary and Obama. Obama stood in front of the UN two weeks after Benghazi and still told the lie about the YouTube video. That lie was debunked within a day of the attack. He and Hillary have done so much damage to our reputation it isn’t funny and yet the liberal media only cares about Trump. I am no Trump fan but until we get real journalism back, if we have ever had it, I will not watch lamestream media.

While you’re totally correct about the lack of biparisan fact-calling in modern journalism, you are seriously mistaken about the damage Obama and H. Clinton have done to the reputation of the US, at least if you’re talking internationally. There’s a reason that Obama got a prize just for getting elected — the US’s reputation was already in the gutter. While they’ve both done a number of things (and lied about it) that probably deserve impeachment, this still didn’t stop them from IMPROVING the international reputation of the US. Likewise, H. Clinton is able to use Trump to make herself look really good, despite all the lies and half truths she’s told and bad decisions she’s made.

All I have to say about “real journalism” is “Rosebud”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Blantant?

Obama getting elected was just a temporary blip of improvement to the US’s reputation. His presidency following such has trashed it to even lower than it was with li’l Bushikins. Remember his claims to run the most transparent administration ever? Remember the reality of his war on whistleblowers? Remember his promises to close Guantanamo? Remember the reality of it still being open? Remember his promise of the ACA making healthcare affordable for all? Remember the reality of it criminalizing people not having health insurance, while simultaneously causing rates to skyrocket?

And ofc, we have the TPP as the nail in the coffin, in which he attempts to screw half the planet, including his own citizens, in order to give handouts to his corporate masters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Blantant?

Those are all true, But US handling of the international situations was seen as very good in his first period. As much as he has made some enemies in Kremlin and Peking, you would be surprised at how well he is doing. Granted, it came on a cheap background of mister “I can’t talk” Walker Bush who made the newscycle internationally as a laughingstock on a weekly basis and draw ire by his opinions on torture, “crusade against muslims”, his war in Iraq and his several scandals. Those were handled very poorly. When Obama was elected a pseudo-science poll hinted that about 3-4 countries in the world wanted a republican in the white house. As much as the media in Europe may be biased, neither Bush, Mccain, Romney nor Trump appeals to Europe. My guess is that American nationalism and interventionalism as described by those are not something anyone outside USA wants to see…

Roger Strong (profile) says:

A decade ago the US was flying $Billions in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq on cargo pallets. The disappearance of much of it made the news overseas.

The Guardian: How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish

Note the date of the article: Feb 8, 2007. This is the same day that Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith died.

CNN switched to non-stop 24-7 dead Playmate coverage for the week, and did not have room for the Iraq money story. Faux News of course simply ignored the Iraq money story.

The Daily Show – a comedy show – covered the Iraq money story and showed footage of Halliburton and military officials each giving their “I dunno…” in front of Congress. Foreign news services like The Guardian and BBC covered the story.

The major American news networks went to great lengths to avoid talking about the worst of the Bush II presidency. And yet the Republicans continued to declare the “lame-stream media” to be lib’rul and left-wing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Don’t worry it is definitely left-wing… They actually do not even work hard at denying it either.

That being said, the media is generally corrupt anyways… in this case government wasting money is just general bland news. Dead celebrities are always more newsworthy.

What is shocking is how Bush is not loved by the left. Obama has carried most of this policies and Bush started the TARP bailouts. The Repukes fucking loved Bush despite the fact that Bush damaged America more than any terrorist attack ever could.

It just goes to show that no matter who someone is or what they do, its all fucking good and well as long as they have the party affiliation.

Hell, my retired grandpa fucking loved Bush and Bush spat on the grave of every fallen soldier with the TSA and Homeland security!

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

What is shocking is how Bush is not loved by the left. Obama has carried most of this policies and Bush started the TARP bailouts.

Republicans have always been more in favor of socialism – for the wealthy. (TARP, corporate bail-outs etc.) But some times it goes to weird extremes. Space travel for example: Obama has been supporting the Commercial Cargo and Commercial Crew program with SpaceX and Orbital Sciences already making regular flights to ISS. Republicans on the other hand prefer the Big Government (and probably doomed) Space Launch System, AKA the Senate Launch System.

One can just as easily say that it’s shocking how Obama is not loved by the right. He’s essentially a pre-2009 Republican, sticking to almost all their polices from TARP and auto bail-outs to the TPP to gun control to the military. Even ObamaCare is best described as “15 years of Republican policy until the moment Obama adopted it.”

The only significant difference is same-sex marriage. And even then with polls showing the majority of Americans supporting it – and prominent Republicans like George & Barbara Bush and Dick Cheney supporting it – he may be just one election cycle ahead of the Republicans.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This is one of the reasons I hate Republicans.

I cannot find much I disagree with in regards to your response.

Regarding same sex marriage, I abhor it on a moral level, but believe that government never had a right to say who or what can call another human being a significant other to begin with. I have grown to hate both the Christian and the Gay communities arguments because both are completely obtuse and worthless!

I think the government should just collect taxes evenly per person and stay the fuck out of EVERYONE’S bedroom!

JBDragon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Government should just not even be in the Marriage business!!! The reason why? TAXES, Married or Single. When your single, you get screwed in more taxes to be paid out!!! When in fact everyone should be equal, married or not. Even if Marriage right now is illegal, you can pretty much sign a number of documents and pretty much have the same thing anyway on paper making the whole think mute anyway unless you just want to push your agenda.

Get government OUT 100%, anyone, anywhere can marry whoever they want in whatever church or other way they care that matters to them.

Anonymous Coward says:

You should expect the press to call bullshit. It’s their job. Anyone can mindless report (retweet) some random crap that a public figure says or writes. It takes someone actual effort and knowledge to investigate and write a logical, informed opinion.

This is what people will pay for from journalists. It’s something that is relatively hard to duplicate. Throwing opposing quotes into a story with zero context or further information is what people get for free from everyone else. If they want to survive, they need to put some work in

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

To be unbiased, I would expect them to call out all of Hillary’s lies in a similar fashion.

Her lies are much harder to pin down, which is why they’re not called out as strongly. But to give you one example, on the NPR Politics podcast, they played a tape of Hillary claiming that the FBI director said that she told the truth to the public about her emails, and then one of the reporters flat out said “that isn’t what Comey said”. So yes, the press actually does point out when Clinton isn’t telling the truth. They don’t use the word “lied” but that’s fine, we can make our own judgments about that. CNN isn’t calling Trump a liar either.

David says:

Who is lying here?

Lying would be wittingly telling an untruth, and any interviews of Trump I have had the puzzlement to read had no signs of wits coming anywhere close to Trump.

To me he appears perfectly capable of honestly believing all of three completely contradictory things stated in a single paragraph or rather a number of half sentences.

I’d chalk it up to dementia but then this has not been all that much different for decades.

wiserabbit says:

Re: Who is lying here?

and while i gather the insanity of the entire situation, therein lies the rub…

we all know that all politicians lie.

the question is – do we want politicians that expertly craft their words so that their lies are not uncovered in the same news cycle or the dolt who actually just assumed that, since we all know everyone is lying, might as well blunder head first in and make it up later?

i’m not actually sure at this juncture which is actually worse…since we’ve seemed to given up on the hope that someone would be insane enough to well…tell the truth?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Who is lying here?

I have always and will always advocate for voting third party if you don’t care or don’t have a favourite. While it is a lost fight in this election, the only way to make politicians care about what they say and reduce the focus on smearing and one-liners is to not make the election a zero-sum game…

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Who is lying here?

While it is a lost fight in this election, the only way to make politicians care about what they say and reduce the focus on smearing and one-liners is to not make the election a zero-sum game…

Voting third party cannot change the fact that it’s a zero-sum game. One person wins, and everyone else loses.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Who is lying here?

As much as one wins, it doesn’t mean that one will lose.

Yeah, it really does. There will be only one president elected, so everyone but that person will have lost.

Having more than one loser will reduce the value of smearing a specific candidate…

Possibly, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a zero-sum contest. Zero-sum means that in order for one person to win, everyone else must lose. Which is exactly what the presidential election is.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Who is lying here?

Unfortunately, as long as we still have single-choice voting rather than a properly designed and implemented ranked-preference voting system, voting third-party will do nothing but give the major-party candidate with whom you disagree more a better chance of winning.

(I also don’t see any way to effectively implement ranked-preference voting without also doing away with the electoral college, which both serves as a further obstacle to making that switch and might have its own downsides. The fact remains, however, that the switch is a necessary prerequisite for a third party to be truly successful.)

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 End FPTP, End electoral college.

Since it would take a constitutional amendment to change the voting system to other than FPTP and it would take a constitutional amendment to remove the electoral college and go by popular vote, we could just do them both in one amendment.

One amendment. One ratification.

Not likely, but not less likely either.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:3 End FPTP, End electoral college.

it would take a constitutional amendment to remove the electoral college and go by popular vote, we could just do them both in one amendment.

No, we couldn’t, unless there were a revolution first. Congress could, but the incumbents very much profit from the current state, so they won’t.

Lessig campaigned for system change and was surprisingly successful in the polls, so the Democratic Party kept shifting its rules and goal posts (and not adhering to the shifted rules themselves) in order to keep him out of the limelight until he threw up his hands in disgust and quit.

So the U.S. will keep having a bunch of leeches as representatives for a whole lot of suckers. They deserve each other.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 End FPTP, End electoral college.

I don’t see why it would take a constitutional amendment to change the voting system from single-choice to ranked-preference. (I consider the term “first-past-the-post” to be ambiguous, because it seems to me to be more about how the votes are counted than how they are cast.)

It would take a constitutional amendment for the federal government to do that, yes – but under the current terms of the constitution as I understand them (and if I’ve got this wrong, please do point out how), the conduct of elections is left to the states, and the states could switch to ranked-preference just as easily as some of them have switched to a caucus system.

Which is part of why I maintain that the most effective way of getting this implemented in practice is to campaign for ranked-preference voting at the lower levels – not even just the state level, but (where applicable) also the county, city, and even lower levels.

It’s likely to be easier to convince people to make the switch when you can talk to more of them individually and when more of them already know you outside of the campaign – and once the system is in place and shown to be working at those levels, the example which that provides (and the fact that people will have already experienced it at the lower levels) should make it easier to convince people to put it in at higher levels.

JBDragon (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How about at least 10% Democrat lies to the 90 Rebpblican, we can’t even get that. MSNBC is so far crazy left, it’s laughable. CNN has been the Clinton News Network for quite some time. NBC, CBS, ABC, Left, Left, left.

Look at all of them attack FOX News like crazy. Obama hates FOX News and would kill it if all possible. Fox News is really the only FAIR Network. Sure they’re more right, but they actually have both sides. How do I know? because many of the people on the show I’d like to strangle with their crazy left wing views. Really though, there’s just to many RINO’s in Government. Bush, McCain and many others, huge Rino’s. They’re NOT Republican’s. Trump is also no Republican. He’s just another RINO.

We’ve already had the lying Clinton’s in Office. Who stole many things from the White House as they left!!! I don’t want that or them again. I’m no fan of TRUMP, but splitting the vote for a better option just hands Hillary the chair.

Thad (user link) says:

Politicians are allowed to be wrong, but they can’t lie. Trump just lies.

I disagree with the premise. I can think of numerous examples in the past 20 years of politicians, of all stripes, making statements that they knew were false — in other words, lying — and the press coddling them with euphemisms like “misspoke” or “made questionable claims” or “received faulty intelligence” or “misstated the facts”. Whether you’re talking about Bush or Obama or Clinton or McCain or Romney or any politician of any stripe, the news media seem reluctant to use the l-word for anything short of extramarital affairs.

I don’t know that Trump’s lies are any more flagrant than, say, Bush’s (remember the debate where Kerry called Bush out on saying, of Bin Laden, “I don’t think about him that much, to be honest,” and Bush got this incredulous smirk on his face and claimed never to have said it?), but they’re more frequent, more obvious, and less strategic. Essentially, they’re impossible to ignore.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

A higher standard.

In the political culture I want, representatives and officials would be held to higher standards than the rest of us. Their extensive teams of staffers would be used to assure that everything they say before the House (or on the stand) would hold up to scrutiny when our fact-checking institutions confirmed their data points in active hopes of a blunder that can be used to scorn them as idiots or deceptive.

So that like John Kyl’s infamous Over 90% of Planned Parenthood is abortions line that Stephen Colbert turned into the #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement, any wrongful data would be cause for scrutiny of an official’s bias or competence, and a field day for news and comedians.

For now lying on the floor is expected, and people are eager to believe what confirms their biases, rather than know the truth, and our reps are allowed to capitalize on this (to the point of being allowed to perjur with impunity). And amazingly, Trump supporters, even commenters on this sight, seem to overlook the degree to which he lies.

TheBobinator says:

The Key to Trumps Success.

Trumps success with the mainstream media comes from, time and time again, coating a grain of truth in something so offensive to easily-excitable professional infotainers that they mis-interpret it, contrast it against the desired establishment narrative, and run stories on it.

Then he simply stirs the pot by stating how poorly he’s treated by them. The infotainers, being easily excitable, run the stories not realizing the damage they are doing to themselves.

The reason you’ve seen so many professionals put their organizations credibility on the line attacking Trump is that they are defending their carefully constructed narrative. Go look at BLS OES data sometime; there are more PR people than there are Journalists in the US. Where do they all work? Mostly at ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN and so forth. The narrative means nothing to Journalists, but managing people’s biases and peddling influence means everything to PR Professional.

Imagine you are in the PR or Marketing career, and every time you push your companies very carefully constructed image and narrative on the public, someone comes along and shatters it. Every single time. How frustrating and demeaning would that be?

Trump might attack General Mills and their Hamburger Helper Product by saying something to the effect of “What kind of Sick Joke sells Cancerous Bull Excrement to the public”? then when the media comes back with “It’s an innocent American Staple!” He’ll come back with “Does the Hamburger Helper hand have 3 fingers and a thumb or 4 fingers? If so, is it a right hand or a left hand? Finally, and most importantly, is it really just talking out of it’s rear end? What kind of company has a mascot touching food with it’s rear end? What else do you joke about making into the customers food?” All of the statements there are observational truth about the questionable anatomy of a poorly constructed marketing mascot but illustrate a great point about how his media campaign operates.

Now Imagine how offensive that would be to General Mill’s director of marketing? Eventually you’re forced to change.

Saying the Media Oligopoly is lieing implies they occasionally tell the truth. This belief, that an industry primarily dominated by the practice of Public Relations selling infotainment to manage biases and influence, actually tells the truth, is perhaps is sarcasm at it’s finest.

At this point Trump has hammered these people so much and so badly they do not have the confidence to establish a new narrative. All of the narratives are breaking down and that’s a bad line to sell marketers. Some have gone to their safe place with HRC and the establishment line, but that is, even if HRC wins, a sinking ship at this point.

Ultimately, good or bad, even if Trump loses the election, he’s forced these PR people back into Journalism. This is not something they are going to easily forget.

Anonymous Coward says:

You missed the point of Goodwin's article, Mike.

It’s not that the media was calling out Trump left and right.

It’s that the media has not done the same for Hillary and has been full-on damage control for her it’s not funny.

You can dislike Trump all you want, he won the primaries because voters were fed up with weak Republican leadership in Washington.

Hillary, on the other hand, was given a free pass for having the DNC in her back pocket rigging the primaries in her favor. And don’t go “the DNC is a private entity”, we all know that if the RNC helped Trump/Cruz/Rubio/Bush win the primary like the DNC did, you, everyone in the MSM and all the late-night show hosts from Maher to Colbert to Fallon to Conan would be going “this is an illegitimate presidential candidate” as they should if that was the case.

Goodwin’s article was pointing out that the MSM has been very much pro-Hillary this whole time and that this whole “Trump has freed up journalists ability to call bullshit” only seems to go one way. Kind of interesting.

It’s why trust in the media is at an all-time low and why more people are looking for alternative sources of news.

John Mayor says:

TRUMP: RED, WHITE AND BLUE

It’s been said that this present US Election is a “one horse race”!… and that Hillary possesses the only horse! But I contend!… that Hillary doesn’t need a horse to beat the “Corporate S_trump_et (a.k.a., ‘The Duck’!… and not to be confused with ‘Daffy’!… as such confusion, would be an insult to ‘Daffy’!)”!… but, simply, a pair of red sneakers, a white butterfly net, and a can of Blue Pepper Spray! Oh!… and some tracing paper, a pair of scissors, and a bottle of paste, for Trump’s beloved wanna-be, and would-be “prez in waiting”!… i.e., to trace, cut, and paste those post-election concession speaches together!
.
Please!… no emails!

David says:

Re: Re:

Both sides of the story? “Now while this looks like Trump is blatantly lying about what he said, he might just does not have the mental coherence to remember. I guess we’ll find out once we hand him the nuclear launch codes.”

A Trump that has no qualms about making Trump look bad will have no qualms about making the U.S.A. look bad. It doesn’t really matter whether it is incompetence or malice or both.

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