Editor-in-Chief for the Wall Street Journal Gerard Baker claims that his newspaper refuses to refer to Donald Trump’s falsehoods as ‘lies.’
The newspaper’s decision to follow such protocol was reportedly due to the fact that doing so would ascribe “moral intent.”
On Sunday, the Editor-in-Chief appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, describing several of President-elect Donald Trump’s statements as being “questionable” and “challengeable,” but clarified his word choice when he stated that,
“I’d be careful about using the word ‘lie.’ ‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead.”
Baker explained that reporters should be diligent in stating the facts, but allow readers to take on classification. According to him, it is important to keep this in mind so that news outlets can look like they are being objective. In order to support this claim, Baker cited the President-elect’s claim that Muslims in New Jersey were actually celebrating 9/11, which has since been proven to be false.
“I think it’s then up to the reader to make up their own mind to say, ‘This is what Donald Trump says. This is what a reliable, trustworthy news organization reports. And you know what? I don’t think that’s true.’”
This policy exists in stark contrast to the policy adopted by other newspapers. For example, the New York Times editorial board has used “lie” in order to describe Mr. Trump’s false statements and “rampant abuse of facts.” Outlets including New York Magazine, MSNBC, and the Huffington Post have agreed to use the word when it is merited.
Baker also went on to suggest that Donald Trump is being treated differently by the media than other politicians.
“This is happening all the time now, people are looking at what Donald Trump’s saying and saying, ‘This is false, it’s a false claim.’ I think people are saying, ‘You know what, Hillary Clinton said a lot things that were false.’ I don’t remember the press being quite so concerned about saying she lied in headlines and stories like that.”