Democracy Dies in Darkness

Letters to the Editor | Opinion

The media is late to the party on calling out the president’s lies

September 7, 2018 at 5:34 PM

President Trump, with Vice President Pence, right, passes news photographers at the White House on Wednesday. (Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)

The media made a big deal of The Post’s decision to use the word “lie” for the first time in Glenn Kessler’s Aug. 23 front-page Fact Checker column, “A changing story, but with one constant: It wasn’t true, ” in reference to President Trump’s statements. Although Trump has made more than 4,000 false and misleading statements since taking office, there was reluctance to affirmatively accuse him of being a liar — until now.

The Post not only may be a little late to the party, but also it is clearly undeserving of accolades for recognizing what most Americans already knew. The rationale as to why The Post’s epiphany did not come to light sooner was unconvincing at best: “It is difficult to document whether the president knows he is not telling the truth.”

The guiding principles for journalists, according to the Poynter Institute, include being “honest, fair, and courageous in gathering, reporting, and . . . [holding] the powerful accountable.” Democracy is compromised when the media, in an abundance of caution and for purposes of political correctness, ignore these fundamental precepts.

Jim Paladino, Tampa

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