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WSJ Editor Defends Not Using Word 'Lies': Let Reader Decide

Image: WSJ Editor Defends Not Using Word 'Lies': Let Reader Decide

 WSJ Editor Gerard Baker (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 04 Jan 2017 09:44 PM

Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker defended his caution in describing as "lies" untrue statements made by President-elect Donald Trump, arguing it's a reporter's job is to present the facts – and to let readers draw their own conclusion.

In a commentary for the newspaper posted Wednesday,  Baker elaborated on remarks he first made last Sunday on "Meet The Press"  that triggered criticism, including from former CBS News anchor Dan Rather.

"I’d be careful about using the word 'lie'," Baker said when asked by "Meet The Press" moderator Chuck Todd whether he'd be comfortable using the word to describe some Trump statements.

"'Lie' implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead."

In his Wednesday commentary, Baker wrote "immediately, my remarks were followed by another fit of Trump-induced pearl-clutching among the journalistic elite."

Dan Rather described the remarks as "deeply disturbing" in a Facebook post – a "lecture on ethics" Baker mocked as feeling "a little like being lectured on the virtues of abstinence by Keith Richards."

Baker argued he didn't ban the use of the word "lie," but explained his "carefulness" about its use "is widely shared in the newsrooms of America."

"What matters is that we report the story and that we find the truth," he wrote.

"It’s our job also to point out when candidates, presidents, chief executives, public officials or others in the news say things that are untrue. But I’m content for the most part to leave the judgment about motive — and mendacity — to our readers, who are more than capable of making up their own minds about what constitutes a lie."

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Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker defended his caution in describing as lies untrue statements made by President-elect Donald Trump, arguing it's a reporter's job is to present the facts - and to let readers draw their own conclusion.In a commentary for the...
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Wednesday, 04 Jan 2017 09:44 PM
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