by Jim Wright
American journalism is dead.
Or it might as well be.
They just can’t do it. They just can’t use the word. Just can’t do it.
Trump openly brags that he “made up facts” in a meeting with a foreign leader and the press just plays along.
Made up facts.
Made up “facts.”
In the context of information, a fact is defined as: a piece of information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article, a thing that is indisputably proven to be the case, information based on evidence.
You can’t make up facts.
If you’re making it up and presenting it as fact, you’re lying. By definition.
The word is “lied.”
Not alternative facts.
Not made up facts.
HE LIED. THE WORD IS LIED. LIED. LIED. LIED.
Now, this morning, when I said something to that effect on Twitter, someone responded with, “They can’t! They can’t say ‘lied’ because libel laws.”
And you know what? That’s bullshit.
Look at how many times the conservative media has said, “Hillary Lied!” this week alone.
If you can safely say “Hillary Lied!” you can safely say “Trump Lied.”
More importantly, Journalism shouldn’t be about what you can and cannot SAFELY say.
And it’s not libel laws that prevent the press from using the words, from saying Trump lied.
Then, somebody else asked, “does it matter?”
Does it really matter if the press says “lied?” Do you really think it would perceptibly move the needle [of public opinion]?
Does it matter?
Does it matter what terminology the press uses?
Yes. Yes it does. It matters a hell of a lot.
The press is the record of not only our time, of not only FACT, but how we as a people regard the world around us. The press is a record our views, our perception, our civilization in gestalt. It not only records our viewpoint, it helps to shape it. MOREOVER, it shapes history’s perception.
For context, look at how the press of the 1930s enabled Hitler and used vague euphemisms for genocide and fascism.
We ask ourselves, how could they have let Hitler happen? How could they have let the Holocaust happen? How could Germany have gone so insane? How? How is that possible?
How? Well, you’re looking at it. You’re looking right at it.
Do I think how the press records TODAY will alter our perception of Trump? Yes, no, maybe. It depends on the journalism, see Watergate for example. The truth, the ability to use the words, lied, stole, crook, directly moved the needle of public perception regarding Nixon — both in that time and IN HIS FUTURE. When we (that future) look back on that time, our judgement of our own nation in that moment is shaped in very large part by the press OF THAT TIME.
So, do I think how the press records TODAY will determine how future generations see US as a people?
Yes I very much do. Q.E.D.
This ongoing refusal to use the words, to describe Trump and this failed Congress in bald terms, reflects our inability as Americans to face our failure as citizens of the Republic.
It reflects a profound cowardice in not only the Press itself, but also in us as citizens, as a people, and as a nation.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
The Founders must have believed this too. They must have. Because the Press is the ONLY private institution, the ONLY private business, specifically called out in the Constitution and given enumerated rights.
That was for a very specific reason.
Because in a free society, the Press is THE watchdog of liberty.
This continued and repeated inability to use the words, to speak the truth no matter the cost, is an utter betrayal of that duty to the Republic.
This is cowardice pure and simple.
Cowardice of the press.
Cowardice of the people.
Cowardice of the nation.
And THAT is what the future will know of us.