History will judge your willingness to tell the truth and hold the press accountable. I've said it before, but it bears repeating; press who continue to refuse to call Trump a liar directly are as complicit as Republican congresspeople.
What strikes me is the tortured way adjectives and an adverb are used to offset the noun or verb "claim." Weak writing on full display and an easy path to being disregarded as readers can easily skip over the describers and just see "claim." It makes a big difference to the brain's interpretation of the sentence's meaning.
As an example:
The president incorrectly claimed he...
Trump lied because Obama (or Bush) actually did...
The first invites misunderstanding as it is fuzzy.
The second example is clear, direct, and provides no avenue for misunderstanding.
The first uses the title of president as the subject, which also provides a bit of cover with implied respect for the office. This implied respect also weakens the sentence; in contrast, by naming the offender as the subject of the sentence, the directness is powerful and attention-grabbing.
The wimpy usage of the English language is a crime against good writing in addition to being an injustice to readers.
I'm so glad I found your publication here. This headline captures how I've felt, especially in the Trump era. Way too accommodating.
I'm so glad that I pointed this out to my sister in law back in the summer of '15. I told her that lying is one of the 10 commandments, '...bear false witness against thy neighbor'. That it's right there along with murder and adultery, lying is bad. She's a devout christian and it rang a few bells in her head. Every time I heard another one of his lies, I remembered her and wondered if it ever stuck.
I remember like it was yesterday when Dean Baquet went on Fresh Air in early 2017 and furrowed his brow and stroked his chin about how tricky it is to use the word "lie" in regard to Trump.
To me the “lie by any other name” posture taken by the MSM is simply to defend the office of president rather than Trump, and to go all out “he lies...”another lie“, “The liar” would derogate and degrade the office and admit that this country in fact has installed a willful and pathological liar as president. The media has taken upon itself to try to salvage a small measure of dignity for the presidency as an institution, perhaps even as a “patriotic” gesture, by bending over backwards and tying itself in knots in avoiding to call out Trump as a LIAR, and settling for less dramatic synonyms.
Certainly Trump is a big fat lying liar literally and figuratively; however mainly he is a Bullshit Artist extraordinaire -- a con man so blatant even Marco Rubio recognized it once upon a time. Trump has no regard for the truth, casting everything in its most favorable light to himself. About the only media personality to flat out call Trump a Bullshit Artist is Fareed Zakaria. Just saying "Bullshit" back at Trump to me seems more effective than fact checking. As you've noted Eric, fact checking just normalizes the narrative and has no impact on Trumpers.
I've called "Bullshit" myself to Trump lovers, who sort-of concede the point with Fox-speak "he talks rough because he's a New Yorker and in construction, they talk like that" - mostly, his die-hard supporters don't care and willingly wallow in Trump's Bullshit with nary a care.
What's at stake with this president is that the commander-in-chief is a threat to the relationship between civilian control and military strategy. When we tie that to Trump's personal use of a corrupt Justice Department, a castrated State Department, and a discredited Intelligence apparatus along with a treasury department debased by its leaders, Mr Boehlert is understating the case for the media's complicity. They are not watching the chipping away of democracy as much as reporting on its demolition.
I continue to ask why but get no answer. I'm sorry to say it, but the news media see themselves as above being questioned, especially by peons like me. If I dared to walk up to a reporter and ask them a question, they would look at me as if I was an insect while muttering something under their breath.
Please continue holding their feet to the fire because they won't answer my phone calls.