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When Public Figures Lie

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Flying Headbutt, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Started this while reading something from Dan Kennedy from the Boston Phoenix.


    I wonder, why don't we ever say someone has out and out lied when we know for a fact they have? Clearly, it would go beyond just when a source gets something wrong or whatever. But when we know someone currently is, or has previously lied to us, why don't we just come out and say that's what happened? Especially since we'd have the truth as a defense?
  2. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    I would guess it's because many of us worry about being sued for libel. Even though we probably have evidence to back us up, the legal costs and the mere perception that we could possiby have lied are enough to force extra caution.
  3. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Journalists can point out issues with the truth, but calling someone a liar seems to be too personal and mean-spirited. Newspapers should take the high road.
  4. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Well I never even see someone say that person lied, which is different than calling him an out and out liar.
  5. I've been lied to over and over again. The proper thing to do is spell out the facts and let readers decide for themselves if the person lied. "Lied" can be somewhat subjective - especially when they backtrack, which they always do.
  6. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    What does a reporter gain by using that word -- "liar" -- in a story? If a candidate or a coach or a GM contradicts himself/herself, then point it out and let the readers decide.
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