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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

 
The truth about lying

by digby















Via Media Matters: 
BRIAN STELTER (HOST): Let's tell some truths about lying, because the way Donald Trump lies has people rethinking some of the basic premises of journalism, like the assumption that everything a president says is automatically news. When President-elect Trump lies so casually, so cynically, the news isn't so much the false thing he said, it's that he felt like he could just go ahead and say it, go ahead and lie to you. That's the story. Why does he bend and flex and twist and warp and distort the truth? Personally I'm curious because I think Trump does it differently than past presidents. His lies are different and deserve scrutiny.

[...]

Court cases involving Trump have shown that he lies even when the truth is really easy to discern. And that's what we're seeing all again now. That's why I think fact-checking is important, but the framing of these stories is even more important. Take Trump's promotion of this voter fraud conspiracy idea. He said on Twitter "I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." The journalistic impulse was to say something like "Trump claims he won the popular vote." I would suggest to you that better framing is "Trump lies again, embracing a far-right-wing conspiracy theory." See, focusing on the falsehood creates more confusion and gives the lie even more life. And that's the wrong way to go. Focusing on Trump's tendency to buy into BS gets to what's really going on here. This calls for more reporting and for reporters to show our work, to show that we actually know the truth.



There's a lot of data out there showing that when people are shown facts it only tends to reinforce their own biases. So what Stelter is saying is true. Journalism cannot rely on simply fact-checking, although it's important to do it. It has to try to promote truth, not just facts, and that means they have to think hard about ways to talk about politics and government that successfully does that.

At least they're talking about it. Whether they can actually do it, I don't know. We are certainly seeing plenty of "if both sides criticize me it means I must be doing something right" defensiveness among journalists. And plenty of plain old "he said/she said" and "both sides do it" takes out there. For instance:



Still, it's good news that media critics are tackling this seriously. We are in big trouble if we don't figure out a way to govern from a common reality.


Happy Hollandaise everyone.














Happy Hollandaise everyone.














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