NPR logo The L-Word


The L-Word

Why can't we say it? (No, not *that* word)

I mean this one: "Lie" as in "untruth."

We journalists are loathe to say a politician is lying.

Let's take that Bridge to Nowhere. Sarah Palin repeatedly says on the stump, "I said 'thanks, but no thanks' to the Bridge to Nowhere." And yet nearly every news outlet has repeatedly said that's not true; she was for it before Congress withdrew the funding for it.

News organizations often say a politician is "exaggerating" or "mis-stating." We don't use the word "lying" because it implies intent to deceive.

We didn't use the L word during Hillary Clinton's, um, forgetfulness regarding taking cover under Bosnian sniper fire.

We didn't use it when Bill Clinton was parsing the word "is."

And we're not using it now...Yet...



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your country needs you and it's your responsibility

Sent by chris | 6:20 PM | 9-12-2008

I would appreciate being informed of the truth so that I can make educated decisions on who and how to run this country. I'm tired of being treated like a child by the media and the Republican candidates who avoid and divert questions. Stop the pandering. People are dying in the name of the "truth". If we can send youth to the front lines to die, we can burst our Palin bubble and start addressing our issues responsibly.

Sent by Erin | 9:32 PM | 9-12-2008

Our very democracy depends on an informed electorate An informed electorate depends on the media, you are the electorate too and an ally. The American people need you to give us the facts, condemn slanderous, deceptive ads and expose the trickery and manipulation of win at any cost campaign strategies so na??ve folks won't be duped again! For instance, many ordinary citizens are not aware of the distract-attack staretegy. The future of this country depends on the media exposing these tactics commonly known to the media and inside the political world.

As an American citizen I'm fed up with it all, we need to set our standards higher for the potential leaders of this country. If a job applicant tried to pull the same dishonorable,deceptive stunts they would be booted out the door. If the media doesn't do it's job then we will be faced with more of the failed policies of the last eight years. Please don't let it happen. I agree with Chris call a lie a LIE!

p.s how about a blog entry about the recent sevice forum?

Sent by Ali Harrod | 11:56 PM | 9-12-2008

You didn't then, and you haven't yet...
but you want to. You SO want to.
You just don't do it now to keep from looking even more hypocritical than usual.
But, you sure talk about that fact now, (to make sure everybody knows how 'fair' you are.)

Sent by Smee | 9:03 AM | 9-13-2008

Just do it; he lied, she lied, they all lied, we all lied. Your giving people who should know better too much benefit of the doubt and treating the rest of us like morons. Just who is it you are protecting?

Oh, and by the way, according to Encarta moron is also considered will be blocked. But on the other hand look up GWB and you're likely to find some reference to moron depending on how much time one wants to spend digging into it.

Anyhow, stupid is stupid and it takes a minimum of two to perpetuate a lie. I think we've all had enough of the amateurs in charge of the media today and their inability for reporting real news. It seems painfully obvious that having a degree in journalism doesn't mean you have the gonads to back it up.

Sent by George Gekas | 11:11 PM | 9-13-2008

Please do your job! An educated electorate is necessary for our government to not become a tyrannic state. Call a lie a lie so as not to confuse the public. The members of the press are the only gatekeepers.

Sent by Alyssa | 11:22 AM | 9-14-2008

hmm... it would *seem* like a good comparison to Clinton, until one realizes she stopped saying it after people pointed out it wasn't factually correct.

Sarah Palin has no such sense of shame, or else has no connection to the reality of facts that the rest of us, unprotected by Republican megabucks and echo chambers, must live in.

*That*'s the danger she poses to this country. The same naked contempt for facts and truth that the previous eight years have given us all such a depressing exposure to.

I'll freely admit I was disappointed in Clinton when she tried to puff herself up in such a ridiculous way. (I was far, far more upset when she started tossing around words like "obliterate", which in a presidential candidate is as irresponsible as juggling vials of nitroglycerin.) But when her phony story failed, Clinton at least had the sense - and the bare human decency - to at least move on to some other means (or, if you're not a fan of hers, some other political ploy).

Not Palin! Apparently she's so busy "not blinking" that she's become immune to facts, reason, truth... and shame.

Sent by Kasreyn | 3:10 PM | 9-15-2008