Part 2—We liberals insisted on "lies:" Way back when, early last fall, presidential candidate Donald J. Trump authored one of his many moments.
It all began on Wednesday, September 14, 2016. Candidate Trump journeyed to Flint, where he delivered a heartfelt address to a reported 50 people in a local church.
At one point, he began trashing Candidate Clinton. The local minister interrupted, saying this: "Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we've done for Flint, not to give a political speech."
Trump accepted the minster's direction and pulled himself back in line.
The next morning, Candidate Trump appeared on Fox & Friends, perhaps the most god-awful program in the history of "cable news." During this appearance, he described his experience at the church, offering an account which was perhaps less than completely accurate.
At this point, National Public Radio stepped into the fray.
NPR's Scott Detrow had been in the church in Flint, serving as the press corps' pool reporter. In response to Trump's remarks on Fox & Friends, Detrow published this account of what had actually happened.
NPR published Detrow's report under this offensive headline:
"Trump Criticizes Flint Pastor—But Misstates Key Facts About Their Encounter"
What made the headline offensive? According to some in our liberal tents, NPR shouldn't have said that Trump had "misstated key facts." NPR should have said that Donald J. Trump had "lied."
Should Detrow, or Detrow's editors, have said that Trump had "lied?" Just for the record, Deytrow cited only two alleged misstatements by Trump, and one of the two involved a highly subjective matter of judgment.
(Did the minster really "seem nervous" at the start of the event?)
Regarding the second alleged misstatement, should NPR have said that Trump lied? In response to such assertions, NPR's public editor, Michael Oreskes, offered this instant defense of Detrow's report, and of NPR's headline.
Oreskes offered a somewhat limited case for eschewing the L-word in this instance. He didn't state the most obvious reason: in all likelihood, NPR didn't know whether Donald J. Trump had lied.
You can read Oreskes' short piece for yourself. For our money, the skill level displayed in the piece wasn't gigantically high.
A few months later, Donald J. Trump had been sworn in as president-for-life, lord of all he surveyed. Sure enough, this issue invaded NPR's tents again.
In this instance, Trump visited the CIA, where he made a short heartfelt address announcing his love for the intelligence community. On Wednesday morning, January 23, NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly discussed Trump's remarks and attendant issues on NPR's Morning Edition.
Kelly's interview with Steve Inskeep ran 869 words. She said that some of Trump's recent statements had been "false," even "provably not true."
Below, you see the bulk of the passage where these critiques were offered. Rather plainly, this was not a Trump-friendly report:
INSKEEP (1/23/17): NPR national security correspondent Mary Louise Kelly is in our studio. She's been speaking with members of the intelligence community, past and present.In our view, Kelly may have been ahead of her skies a bit in a few of her assessments. Example:
Good morning, Mary Louise.
KELLY: Good morning.
INSKEEP: OK, so he's not saying, "I'm making up with the intelligence agencies." He's saying, "I never had a problem with you to begin with."
KELLY: That's what he said. And that is false. President Trump is on record in statements, in tweets, in that news conference you just mentioned that he held as president-elect. And he is on the record ridiculing and attacking U.S. intelligence officials. So to suggest that the media made up this feud—
INSKEEP: His own statements.
KELLY: It's provably not true. In that same speech out of the CIA this weekend, Trump also falsely inflated the size of the crowd at his inauguration. In talking about the weather, he described that when he began to speak at his inauguration, the rain stopped immediately. And in fact, you could see water beating on the lapel of his coat.
Now, does it matter whether it rained or not?
KELLY: Who cares? But it does matter to the CIA veterans, who I was reaching out to this weekend. It rankles because he made these untrue claims and of where he made them, in the lobby of the CIA.
INSKEEP: And not just any lobby—there's a wall of stars behind him as he was speaking. And those stars represent something.
KELLY: They represent CIA officers who have died in the line of duty. And it's interesting. One of the former intelligence officers who I reached this weekend said there's the stars. And those are sacred if you work at CIA. But this person said, remember what's on the opposite wall, what Trump was looking at as he spoke.
And I have crossed that lobby, Steve, many times on my way to interview officials who work there. And carved in the marble on the opposite wall is this. It's a quotation from the Bible. And it reads, "and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Trump may have attacked certain "U.S. intelligence officials." But did that mean that he was angry with "the intelligence agencies" in general?
Not necessarily, no. That said, when a chase is on, it can be easy for journalists to slip past such distinctions. We'd say Kelly was over her skies a tiny bit that day.
At any rate, and rather plainly, this was not a Trump-friendly report. Kelly had asserted all sorts of false statements by Trump. But once again, an NPR reporter had failed to use the word "lie."
When NPR listeners complained, Kelly returned for a second session in which she explained her decision.
On January 25, Kelly took part in a four-way discussion with Inskeep, Oreskes and host David Greene. What hadn't she said that Donald Trump lied? As part of her explanation, Kelly somewhat oddly said this:
KELLY (1/25/17): So this has prompted me to go actually look up the word "lie" in the Oxford English Dictionary. And here's the definition. I'll read it:Especially since she's a reporter, we agree with Kelly's decision. But did she really have to look up "lie" in the dictionary to know what the word has long meant? To understand the word's standard usage?
"A false statement made with intent to deceive."
"Intent" being the key word there. Without the ability to peer into Donald Trump's head, I can't tell you what his intent was. I can tell you what he said and how that squares—or doesn't—with facts, with publicly available facts.
INSKEEP: And leave you, leave the listener to make their own conclusions.
Mike Oreskes, how much discussion has there been about this word, lie?
ORESKES: There's been quite a bit. And of course, it began during the campaign. And we at NPR have decided not to use the word lie in most situations. And there's really two reasons...
Perhaps that was just performance art, designed to suggest that NPR was making the fullest possible effort to puzzle out this dispute. Surely, though, everyone knows the general meaning of the word "lie." Everyone knows that a lie, as a general matter, is an intentional false statement—a false statement made by a person who knows his statement is false.
Not long ago, we would have assumed that everyone was familiar with this simple-minded concept. We would have assumed that everyone knew that many or most misstatements, untruths and/or falsehoods actually aren't lies.
We would have assumed that everyone knew something else. We would have assumed that everyone knew that many misstatements which really are lies can't be reliably identified as such by external parties, for example by reporters. Here's the way that age-old problem goes:
Person A's statement was "provably untrue." Was Person A lying when he said it? If you're Person B or Reporter C, there's every chance that you won't be able to say for sure.
We would have thought that everyone was familiar with these basic points. But this is a highly partisan time, and a tribal chase is on.
When times are tribal, our basic skills and understandings may tend to head out the window. We may forget, ignore or fail to consider the most basic things we know.
In the high feeling of the moment, we may step around the things we know in search of the judgment we long to render.
We live in such a time right now. Over here in our liberal tents, our basic skills often seem to be AWOL.
Early in May, Masha Gessen stepped into the ring with NPR. Gessen is an admirable figure, but her basic skills seemed to be missing in action this day.
Her audience was laughing and applauding. But we'd have to say that the admirable Gessen wasn't quite using her words.
Tomorrow: Gessen scolds NPR
Also over at Slate: Last Friday, a similar discussion occurred at Slate, in this new Trumpcast.
Are Trump's speeches a tissue of lies? Our tribe is strongly inclined to say so.
Other explanations are possible—explanations which ought to be deeply troubling. We long to use our L-word so much, it seems that we never quite go there.
"In talking about the weather, he described that when he began to speak at his inauguration, the rain stopped immediately. And in fact, you could see water beating on the lapel of his coat."ReplyDelete
It is amazing, innit, how petty-minded this supposed Very Serious journo is - to bring up something like this.
And the anecdote with stars and the bible quote on the wall, doesn't it sound very much like something you'd expect to hear on a far-right AM station, rather than the esteemed National Petroleum Radio?
I think the point of the anecdote regarding the rain is just one (of the many) times Mr. Trump casually will say something that can be clearly demonstrated to be false. It does not matter whether it rained or not, but our President doesn't seem to understand that.Delete
Nah. I don't think there's any point here at all in regard to Mr Trump (I do realize that TDS sufferers will find it incredible; after all, everything is about Trump).Delete
To me, it demonstrates only one thing: the servility of the establishment presstitutes.
Sometimes I imagine that some of the presstitutes utterly resent the situation they are in, and choose to express their resentment by spewing this sort of grotesque denunciations. But I'm probably giving them too much credit...
Bob's attacks on Maddow are too boring and ridiculous to read anymore. He's just not a serious person on the subject of Maddow.ReplyDelete
That's nice, Greg. Um, when in this thread did Bob bring up Maddow? Maybe Bob isn't the only one with obsessions on the brain?Delete
Trump is a lying liar. Picking ambiguous cases and arguing about whether those are lies is a big waste of time.ReplyDelete
Could you also address the headline template of 'Trump says X, offers no evidence', while every smear in the opposite direction (including by 'unnamed sources') is reported as the God's Honest Truth (The Trump White House's War Within)...ReplyDelete
I'll beat your ass idiot.ReplyDelete
Apparently Bob has figured out that physically threatening strangers on the Internet is the high road to credibility.Delete
Oops. I meant Greg, not Bob. Ah well.Delete
It really does not matter how many of Trump's lies can dance on the head of a pin. They're still lies.ReplyDelete
Now you can get ex-Lover back and stop a divorce or break-up…Even If Your Situation Seems Hopeless.! My husband said he no longer loved me at the end of May this year and i was hurt and heart broken i felt like my life was about to end and I almost committed suicide, I was emotionally down for a very long time. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr.Unity, which I meet online, on one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet and I came across a lot of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, cure cancer and other sickness, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. I also come across one particular testimony and it was about a woman called Tracey Hilton, she testified about how he brought back her Ex lover in less than 28 hours and at the end of her testimony she dropped Dr.Unity mail address. After reading all these,I decided to give it a try and I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a Love spell for me. In just 26 hours, my husband came back to me and we solved our issues, we are even happier than before. Dr.Unity is really a gifted man and I will not stop testifying about him because he is a wonderful man and so powerful... if you are here and you need your Ex back or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now and i guarantee you that he will help you. Here’s his contact: Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com , you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 ,ReplyDelete
you can also visit his website:http://unityspelltemple.webs.com ,
his blog:http://drunitytemple.blogspot.com .
Miriam Michel / UK ..
Way back when the Good Reverend Al Sharpton was sued for slander just because he falsely accused--and then hounded--some law enforcement officers of rape. Eventually they successfully sued him for slander. It was never completely established that Sharpton knowingly shouted falsehoods but he did lose his case on the grounds that if he didn't lie he was at least guilty of a reckless disregard for the truth.ReplyDelete
In other words, Sharpton may not have intentionally lied but on a practical level he was one for otherwise for being a verbally promiscuous fat head.
If you ask me this is a fine standard by which to judge Trump.
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
Walatra G Sea Jelly
BROKEN HEART MADE WHOLE AGAIN.....!!!!!!!!ReplyDelete
I never had a thing nor belief with spell casters until I saw a need for it when someone so dear to my heart left me for another man who doesn't even give a damn about her. Thanks to Dr. Odinani Owelle who used a spell to bring back my girlfriend to me in just two days when she came weeping and asking I forgive her for ever letting go and that she was gonna make up every bit of lost time and make me happier than ever for making me sob one bit
I came in contact with Dr. Odinani Owelle in a blog and thought of giving it a trial because I could not imagine that someone I love with all my heart was gonna leave me right under my close watch, the and then did I get to know that my close watch was not good enough. Like promised, Dr Odinani Owelle kept to his just words that brought back my love home to daddy and I am gonna love her more.
Wanna reach out to all the broken homes and relationships via this post of mine to believe that their problems can always be fixed, just get the right person to do it and I testify that there is no other right person as Dr. Odinani Owelle the real spell cast in the world Contact Him on hi's email adders email@example.com.
1. Getting your lover or husband back
2. Spiritual bulletproof
4. Money spell
5. Long life spell
6. Prosperity spell
7. Protection spell
8. Get a job spell
9. Becoming a manager spell
10. Get a huge loan without paying any fee spell
11. Getting your scam money back
12. Child spell
13. Pregnancy spell
14. Freedom spell
15. Love spell
16, vanishing spell
17. Invisible human spell
18. Success or pass spell
19. Marriage spell
20. Avenging spell
21. Popularity spell
22. Killing spell
23. Cancer spell...........