There has been a surprising trend of outright calling a lie a lie when told by politicians in this leg of the campaign. Hopefully this trend continues as the DNC begins this week, as we’re sure to hear as many distortions, half-truths and outright lies coming from the other side of the…
This is an intriguing debate between two smart journalistic minds: Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith wrote a piece today broadly criticizing the nature of calling policy differences “lies,” as many did with Paul Ryan’s speech; and Anthony De Rosa’s piece, linked here, responds directly to Smith, with a tough kicker line: "What we don’t need is more journalists wasting our time explaining to us why they’re lying."
A useful third voice in this debate is the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, who had this to say regarding his blog’s coverage of Paul Ryan’s speech: "I’d personally feel better if our coverage didn’t look so lopsided. But first the campaigns have to be relatively equal. So far in this campaign, you can look fair, or you can be fair, but you can’t be both." In other words, he’s finding it a struggle to show even-handed balance in the face of what seems to be clear dishonesty.
There’s been this long debate in journalism circles about the nature of political reporting in this era of cloudy phrases, conflated bickering and political oneupsmanship that seems to speed up by the hour. Mix in efforts to balance one side with the other, and you get a lot of questions as to whether this is doing more harm than good to modern discourse. (Hint: It probably isn’t helping things.)
Versions of this tweet from astonished non-journalists have been coming at me all week during the fact-checking surge: twitter.com/trafficstatic/…
NYU professor Jay Rosen has been one of the strongest advocates for the idea of no-bull truth-rooted reporting over the idea of false balance. He has this crazy idea: Call stuff out when you see it! We’re with him: What’s the point of objectivity (and balance for the sake of balance) if it forces us into debates over the definition of a lie? We shouldn’t be fighting over the definition of a lie. We should be looking for the truth. It’s sad that we even need to debate this.
Lesson learned: Don’t trust a guy nicknamed “Forest Boy”
claim Nine months ago, a teenage boy stepped into Berlin, claiming he had been living in a nearby forest by himself for the past five years. Which obviously sounds totally plausible and stuff. He even got a nickname, “Forest Boy.”
rebuttal Now officials are saying this story is a total hoax, as the man’s former girlfriend says he’s 20 and from the Netherlands. Robin van Helsum went missing in September just days before he showed up in Germany. Hoaxed! source
A Maine man says he lied when he accused former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting him.
Zachary Tomaselli of Lewiston said Friday that he fabricated the allegations and took pride in his ability to convince people his claims were true. He told The Associated Press he’s a “habitual liar and sociopath” who lacks feelings for others.
Woman fakes mental illness to skip jury duty, brags on radio, gets charged
cause In a Denver courtroom in June, a potential juror, looking disheveled, claimed this: ”I broke out of domestic violence in the military. And I have a lot of repercussions. One is post-traumatic stress disorder.” She was dismissed from jury duty quickly as a result.
reaction Months later, the former juror, a Denver cosmetologist and published author named Susan Cole, regularly told her clients about her scheme to getting out of jury duty, at one point calling in to a radio station and retelling the story. Bad idea.
result On Wednesday, Cole was charged with perjury and attempting to influence a public servant, both felonies. Cole used her book as evidence of domestic violence, but she had no way to prove her PTSD to investigators. So she got charged. source
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