Journalists have the duty to expose lies
By Dan Rather
Journalism, as I was taught it, is a process of getting as close to some valid version of the truth as is humanly possible. And one of my definitions of news is information that the powerful don't want you to know.
So this statement (see this article) from the editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal about how his paper will report on Donald Trump’s potential (likely?) future lies is deeply disturbing.
It is not the proper role of journalists to meet lies—especially from someone of Mr. Trump’s stature and power—by hiding behind semantics and euphemisms.
Our role is to call it as we see it, based on solid reporting.
When something is, in fact, a demonstrable lie, it is our responsibility to say so.
There is no joy in taking issue with the Journal’s chief editor. His newspaper is a publication for which I have deep respect for the overall quality of its reporting.
But, as I have said before and will say as long as people are willing to listen, this is a gut check moment for the press.
We are being confronted by versions of what are claimed to be “the truth” that resemble something spewed out by a fertilizer-spreader in a wind tunnel.
And there is every indication that this will only continue in the Tweets and statements of the man who will now hold forth from behind the Great Seal of the President of the United States.
Some journalists and publications will rise to the occasion. Some will not.
You as the paying, subscribing public, can use your leverage and pocketbooks to keep those who should be honest brokers of information, well, honest.