The New York Times Proves Why Journalists Can’t Be Trusted To “Fact-Check” Since They Don’t Know What A Lie Is

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Ugh.

I finally grabbed a barf bag and read the New York Times attack piece from the weekend titled “A Week of Whoppers.” Silly me: Donald Trump lies so often that I simply took it on faith that the Times would have no trouble finding real and substantive lies to expose from The Donald. Instead, what I found were a few genuine lies of no great significance lumpod with statements that were obviously not meant literally, off-the-cuff remarks that any objective listener would assume were just generalizations, self-evident hyperbole, or opinion. None rose to the level of outright attempts to deceive on the magnitude of “I never sent or received classified material,” or “wiped? Like with a cloth?”

Needless to say, but I’ll still say it, none came within a Washington mile of lies like “I did not have sex with that woman,”  which is one Hillary Clinton attempted to facilitate. It is depressing that any reporter, editor or reader would find the analysis that all 31 of these alleged “lies by Trump were “lies” fair, rational or convincing. Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman prove themselves to be partisan hacks with this weak piece of anti-Trump hype. The statements flagged here are so clearly the result of a concerted anti-Trump bias that editors must have assumed that few would actually read them, and just take the headline and sheer size of the feature as proof that the Times had legitimately proven massive dishonesty.

And it had: its own.

Here are all 31 alleged Trump “lies,” with the Ethics Alarms verdicts on each.

1. He said a supportive crowd chanted, “Let him speak!” when a black pastor in Flint, Mich., asked Mr. Trump not to give a political speech in the church.
Fox News interview, Sept. 15.

There were no such chants.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Unproven. Who knows what Trump heard, or what someone said or may have told trump someone said. The fair assumption would be that this is a mistake on Trump’s part, not a lie.

2. “I was against going into the war in Iraq.” Speech in Florida, Sept. 19.

This is not getting any truer with repetition. He never publicly expressed opposition to the war before it began, and he made supportive remarks to Howard Stern.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Since Trump (this time) didn’t say he was always against the war, this is not a provable lie as worded. “He never publicly expressed opposition to the war before it began” proves nothing. If I say “I’ve always admired James K. Polk,” would Burns and Haberman say I was lying because I never publicly expressed admiration of Polk in the past? Well, if I was a Republican running against Hillary, probably so.

3. He said any supportive comments he made about the Iraq war came “long before” the war began.
Fox News interview, Sept. 18.

He expressed support for the war in September 2002, when Congress was debating whether to authorize military action.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Again, unless they can show that Trump was saying what he didn’t believe himself, it’s not a lie or a “whopper.” Lies are intentional untruths told to deceive. How can you write a column about lies when you don’t know what a lie is?

4. He said he had publicly opposed the Iraq war in an Esquire interview “pretty quickly after the war started.” Fox News interview, Sept. 18.

The Esquire interview appeared in the August 2004 edition, 17 months after the war began.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: I hate to be picky, but lies 2-6 on this list are essentially the same alleged lie. As for this one, “pretty quickly” is not susceptible to fact-checking. Who knows what Trump regards as “pretty quickly”? It was 12 months ago: we all compress time in our imperfect memories. Again, there is no proof that this is a “lie.” It doesn’t matter that people who talk and reason as sloppily as Trump think it’s a lie: the job of journalists is to clarify, not further obscure.

5. Before the Iraq invasion, he said, he had told the Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto something “pretty close” to: “Don’t go in, and don’t make the mistake of going in.” Fox News interview, Sept. 18.

Not remotely close. He told Mr. Cavuto that President George W. Bush had to take decisive action.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Boy, these are really lame accusations! So Trump doesn’t remember exactly what he told Neil Cavuto. I was interviewed by Cavuto some time ago, and less time than has elapsed since Trump’s interview. I have no idea what I said to Neil. If I took a guess and was wrong, would I be lying?

6. He said that when Howard Stern asked him about Iraq in 2002, it was “the first time the word Iraq was ever mentioned to me.” Fox News interview, Sept. 18.

Mr. Trump expressed alarm about Saddam Hussein and the situation in Iraq in 2000 in his own book.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: FOUL. Trump was obviously talking about the Iraq war in reference to Stern, not Iraq generally. Why don’t the reporters point out that they can prove Trump studied Iraq in 5th grade geography? That would be about as legitimate an argument that he’s lying here.

7. “You see what’s happening with my poll numbers with African-Americans. They’re going, like, high.” Speech in North Carolina, Sept. 20; made same claim in Ohio, Sept. 21.

Polls show him winning virtually no support from African-Americans.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Trump isn’t lying because he looks at different polls than the Times. This is really bottom-of-the-barrel smearing.

8. “Almost, it seems, everybody agrees” with his position on immigration. Remarks in Texas, Sept. 17.

Most Americans oppose his signature positions on immigration.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: This one is particularly outrageous. A phrase as vague as “Almost, it seems” cannot support the claim of lying! What are Trump’s “signature positions on illegal immigration?” That it’s illegal? That it needs to stop? A majority of Americans agree with that. The article’s statement is as much of a lie as Trump’s!

9. He has made “a lot of progress” with Hispanic and black voters, and “you see that in the polls.” Fred Dicker radio show, Sept. 15.

No major poll has shown him making up significant ground with black or Hispanic voters.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Did Trump say “major polls”? He said polls. All this says is that he sees progress in the polls. You can’t prove he doesn’t, so you can’t call this a lie.

10. He was “never a fan” of Colin Powell. Fox News interview, Sept. 18.

In his book “The America We Deserve,” he named Mr. Powell as among the “best and brightest” in American society.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: …which does not make Trump a “fan.” I could and will say honestly that “Barry Bonds was one of the best players in baseball history,” and also that I was  never a fan of his, since he was a lying, cheating fraud. Nor do the reporters know how Trump felt about Powell when he wrote that assessment.

11. Mr. Trump said that after The Times published an article scrutinizing his relationships with women, “All the women came out and said they think Donald Trump is terrific.” Fox News interview, Sept. 18.

Only one woman who was quoted in the article came to his defense after its publication.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Pure hyperbole and a self-evident generalization. Not meant to deceive, and not a lie.

12. “Unlike other people” who only raise money for themselves during presidential campaigns, he also raises money for the Republican Party.
Fox News interview, Sept. 15.

Every presidential nominee forms a joint fund-raising agreement to share money with his or her national party.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Like many Trump statements, this is probably just ignorance. Ignorance isn’t lying.

13. In the primaries, Mr. Kasich “won one and, by the way, didn’t win it by much — that was Ohio.” Fox News interview, Sept. 19.

Mr. Kasich crushed him in Ohio, winning by 11 percentage points.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Oh, for heaven’s sake. Seriously? Seriously? Trump is “lying” because he regards 11 points as “not much” and the Times calls it “crushing?”

14. Lester Holt, the NBC anchor and debate moderator, “is a Democrat.” Fox News interview, Sept. 19.

Mr. Holt is a registered Republican, New York City records show.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Holt is black and is a journalist. I assumed he was a Democrat too. Knock me over with a feather! Does that mean I was lying? Gee, do you think Holt voted for Obama twice? How one is registered does not, moreover, necessarily prove what one’s partisan leanings are. Trump may well be correct.

15. The presidential debate moderators “are all Democrats.” “It’s a very unfair system.” Fox News interview, Sept. 19.

Only one, Chris Wallace of Fox News, is a registered Democrat.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Uh-huh. Trump means they are all probably liberals and biased to the left. He’s almost certainly correct, but even if it’s not an entirely accurate rationalization, it’s pretty close, and not a lie. It’s less misleading than the Times’ statement, which is deceit.

16. He said it “hasn’t been reported” that Mrs. Clinton called some Trump supporters “deplorable.”
Speech in North Carolina, Sept. 20.

It would be difficult to find a news organization that didn’t report her remark.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: I’ll give this one to the Times, I suppose. That’s one out of 16 so far.

17. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.” Remarks in Washington, Sept. 16.

Mrs. Clinton and her campaign never publicly questioned President Obama’s birthplace; Mr. Trump made it his signature cause for five years.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: This is not a lie, even though the news media tried to spin it as one. I wrote about this here. Note the Times’ Clintonesque use of “publicly,” as if under-the-radar efforts to spread rumors don’t count.

18. Mrs. Clinton had “the power and the duty” to stop the release of unauthorized immigrants whose home countries would not accept their deportation after they were released from prison. Numerous speeches, including in Colorado, Sept. 17, and Florida, Sept. 19.

The Secretary of State does not have the power to detain convicted criminals after they have served their sentences, and has little power to make foreign countries accept deportees.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: At best, a vague statement asserting that Clinton was not powerless—in her influence within the administration, in her dealings with other nations—to address the problem. At worst, ignorance.

19. Mrs. Clinton has not criticized jihadists and foreign governments that oppress and kill women, gay people and non-Muslims. “Has Hillary Clinton ever called people who support these practices deplorable and irredeemable? No.” Speech in Florida, Sept. 19.

She has denounced jihadists and foreign countries on the same grounds, if not necessarily using the same words.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: This is reckless disregard for the truth, and is the most fairly labelled a lie so far. Score so far: two out of 19.

20. “Do people notice Hillary is copying my airplane rallies — she puts the plane behind her like I have been doing from the beginning.” Twitter, Sept. 20.

He did not invent the tarmac rally or the campaign-plane backdrop.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: He didn’t say he invented them. He says Hillary is now copying what he does. That maybe a foolish conclusion, but Trump is  a narcissist, after all.

21. Mrs. Clinton destroyed 13 smartphones with a hammer while she was secretary of state. Speeches in Florida, Sept. 15 and Sept. 19.

An aide told the F.B.I. of only two occasions in which phones were destroyed with a hammer.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: The notes says she lost 13, and two were destroyed with a hammer. Big deal. He may have been wrongly briefed or gotten mixed up.

22. He said Mrs. Clinton is calling for “total amnesty in the first 100 days,” including “a virtual end to immigration enforcement” and for unauthorized immigrants to receive Social Security and Medicare. Speech in Colorado, Sept. 17.

She has not proposed this.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: This is a lie. 3 in 22.

23. Mrs. Clinton is “effectively proposing to abolish the borders around the country.”Numerous speeches, including in Texas, Sept. 17.

She is not even proposing to cut funding for the Border Patrol.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: “Effectively” is like “virtually.” He is saying that Clinton’s policies amount to opening the borders. Virtually doesn’t mean literally. If he meant “abolish the borders” literally, then the Times’ quibble would be fair.

Most of the time, what the news media call Trump’s lies or outrages are statements that they intentionally interpret literally when they know he did not mean them literally.

24. “Hillary Clinton’s plan would bring in 620,000 refugees in her first term alone,” and would cost $400 billion. Numerous speeches, including in North Carolina, Sept. 20.

She endorsed admitting 65,000 Syrian refugees this year, on top of other admissions. Mr. Trump is falsely claiming that she wants to do this every year and is estimating the cost accordingly.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: This is scaremongering and deserves to be called out as a lie. That makes 24 statements called lies, four actual lies.

25. “Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before — ever, ever, ever.” Speech in North Carolina, Sept. 20.

No measurement supports this characterization of black America.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Pure opinion. Absolutely not a lie.

26. “Fifty-eight percent of black youth are not working. ” Numerous speeches, including in Florida, Sept. 16, and Colorado, Sept. 17.

This misleading statistic counts high school students as out of work. Black youth unemployment actually was 20.6 percent in July.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Deceit. Another one for the Times. Five out of 27.

27. Many dangerous refugees are being welcomed by the Obama administration. “Hundreds of thousands of people are being approved to pour into the country. We have no idea who they are.” New Hampshire speech, Sept. 15.

The Obama administration has admitted more than 10,000 Syrian refugees, using an extensive screening process.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: I’m glad the Times has so much faith in that process. I don’t, and many experts in the field don’t either. This is Trump’s opinion, not a lie.

28. “We have cities that are far more dangerous than Afghanistan.” Numerous speeches, including in Florida, Sept. 16; Colorado, Sept. 17; North Carolina, Sept. 20; Ohio, Sept. 21; and a Fox News interview on Sept. 21.

No American city resembles a war zone, though crime has risen lately in some, like Chicago. Urban violence has fallen precipitously over the past 25 years.

Ethics Alarms Verdict:  This is classic absurd Trump hyperbole that, again, he does not expect even his dumbest followers to take literally. Meanwhile, could these reporters be more partisan? They are spinning for Obama: murders are currently rising in cities, which is the point Trump is making. They also write for a newspaper that deemed the crisis of mass shooting so great that it called for the gutting of the Second Amendment in a front page editorial. Which is it, an urban safety crisis, or another Obama-made nirvana?

29. Ford plans to cut American jobs by relocating small-car production to Mexico, and may move all production outside the United States.Fox News interview and New Hampshire speech, Sept. 15.

Mark Fields, Ford’s chief executive, said it was not cutting American jobs.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: Trump doesn’t believe him. All of a sudden, the New York Times regards the word of CEOs as gold?

30. “We have a trade deficit this year with China of approximately $500 billion.” North Carolina speech, Sept. 20.

He has made this claim repeatedly, but the trade deficit with China is significantly smaller.

Ethics Alarms Verdict: This statistic is one Google search away. It’s reckless enough to be labelled a lie. That makes six lies total.

31. Senator Bernie Sanders fell victim to “a rigged system with the superdelegates.” Speeches in New Hampshire, Sept. 15, and North Carolina, Sept. 20.

Mr. Sanders did not lose the Democratic nomination because of superdelegates. Mrs. Clinton beat him in pledged delegates, too.

But Sanders did lose to a rigged system that had superdelegates as part of its rigging.

I count only six lies out of the Times’ claimed 31, and I was generous. These mostly trivial statements certainly don’t prove Trump to be so vile and untrustworthy that they  justifies abandoning journalism ethics to defeat him. Nor do they show him to be a worse liar than Hillary; indeed, most of Trumps factual misrepresentations are easily checked, unlike Hillary’s slippery and lawyerly machinations.

How could the Times possibly think this collection warranted an entire print edition page (page 25 on Sunday)? The answer is gross partisan bias. I am sympathetic to a point, for Trump’s mode of expression in a serious realm is infuriatingly casual, imprecise and vague. It is, however, how most people speak, which is why he gets away with it. It is not a lie, however, when someone says, “I do this all the time” and everyone knows that if he literally did it all the time he wouldn’t be able to eat or sleep. Yet this is the level of “dishonesty” that the Times wants us to regard as lies, and the kind of statement Trump makes routinely that the news media wants us to look at as evidence of dishonesty.  Trump is undoubtedly dishonest, intellectually lazy, inarticulate, reckless with words and ignorant.By using this disingenuous “fact-check” tactic to attack him, however, all the news media succeeds in revealing is its own character deficits.

 

32 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

32 responses to “The New York Times Proves Why Journalists Can’t Be Trusted To “Fact-Check” Since They Don’t Know What A Lie Is

  1. “This misleading statistic counts high school students as out of work. Black youth unemployment actually was 20.6 percent in July.”

    Well why don’t we pop the freaking bubbly? Black youth unemployment is only 350% the average American unemployment rate.

    But let’s look at what he actually said:

    “Fifty-eight percent of black youth are not working.”

    The unemployment rate only measures people over 18 and under 65 that want to work but can’t. Using 20.6 as a base, you add in youths not looking for work, youths on programs, and youths in post secondary school and you might come up close to 58 percent. You’ll absolutely blow it out of the water if you start including youths from the minimum employment age. So pick your metric and define it…. Trumps words at face value are objectively true…. For that statement.

    • Chris Marschner

      HT: If I were the Times I could call you out for a lie. You said the unemployment rate measure people 18-65 when in fact it’s technically 16-65 and non-institutionalized. Easy mistake to make. But I guess mistakes are lies to the Times.

      Your point however is spot on. “Not working” does not equal unemployment rate. Thus it is not a lie and as you point out it may be accurate. More importantly, if you include the institutionalized black population in which 1 in 4 African American males under 34 are guest s at our houses of correction the numbers skyrocket.

      I don’t consider it hyperbole or a lie to state emphatically that there is a extraordinarily serious problem in labor market for African American males which is resulting in significant social disorder and increased burdens on everyone. At this point “what difference does it make” how many are out of work – we have a problem that needs to be worked on.

      If we are to dismiss Trump as a candidate who lacks credibility because he lies then shouldn’t the NY Times, WAPO, and other print media be deemed not credible when they lie about their objectivity? Should we give any credence to a liar who wants to call out another as liar who should not believed?

      • … I thought it was 18, but every resource I can find says 16, if it even mentions the age range at all. Maybe that’s changed in the last 10 years? Regardless. I knew about institutionalised… But I find it a strange and meaningless distinction; How do you actively seek a job while in prison?

  2. Isaac

    These media outlets are doing nothing but wasting their time pointing fingers and Trump and shouting, “Aha! He’s a Liar!” Everyone KNOWS he’s a liar. They don’t need any other smoking guns. The problem is, it’s the information age, and no matter how much the NYT obscures it, everyone knows that Hillary is also a liar, too.

    Far be it from me to tell the Gray Lady how to achieve it’s goals, but maybe they should try the headline, “Here’s Why We Think the Other Liar Would Be a Better President.”

  3. Chris

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: This is reckless disregard for the truth, and is the most fairly labelled a lie so far. Score so far: two out of 19.

    Jack, nearly *all* of the preceding statements *also* show reckless disregard for the truth. So many of your rebuttals amount to “Trump is probably just ignorant,” which isn’t a defense of making up stuff and telling everyone it’s tbe truth. If you’re going to concede that this one can be fairly called a lie because it shows “reckless disregard for the truth,” I’m not getting why the preceding statements don’t count as lies as well.

    • I explained the difference, Chris. That one was a assertion that is so easily checked that it is reckless disregard for the facts and the equivilent of a lie. I’m sure you know what a lie is, right? Do you? The issue is L-Y-I-N-G, which relates to character. You can’t possibly read these quibbles, random rhetoric and opinions and call more than a handful of them that.

      If you don’t get it, then you don’t acknowledge the difference between mistakes, opinions, exaggerations, generalities and intentional deception. In #19, he said X when the truth was NOT X. That’s not an “mistake,” because there is no evidence to support it, and the facts say the opposite. Are you really saying that that’s no different from saying “I’m not a fan of Colin Powell” when only he can say when and how much he was a fan of Colin Powell?

      If you can’t make that distinction, then you’re beyond help. Go write for the Times. Good Lord.

  4. Chris Marschner

    Trump may have been inaccurate on the trade deficit stat with China but the US did run a combined deficit in its merchandise and services account of $531B in 2015.

    The problem with trade stats is that you can get buried in the weeds very quickly. One significant problem we have with China is that they are acquiring our capital goods and copying them so that they will be able to produce them domestically in short order. Another problem is that the makeup of our sales to other nations is that they are intermediate goods of lesser value. Moreover, only a relatively number of buyers make up the market for intermediate goods such that if any one decides to vertically integrate our exports could drop precipitously. Because our imports are primarily finished consumer goods the values are higher and the monopsony power of the market is substantially diffused.

    Whether we run a $29B deficit with China or a $290B deficit is immaterial. What matters is the fact that China routinely violates international intellectual property rights, systematically closes off Chinese consumer markets to protect its own domestic producers, and is using its trade surplus as the capital to allow them to become a substantial creditor to the US giving them more leverage in trade negotiation.

    Trump understands that part.

  5. Steve

    Trump did horribly, not presidential. Holt fact checks or follows up on him but not Clinton. That won’t be lost on a lot of people and may become the story out of the debates, media and moderators becoming the story instead of the candidates.

  6. Chris

    In #19, he said X when the truth was NOT X.

    He did that a lot more than in just that one point.

    Let’s go through the rebuttals one by one:

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Unproven. Who knows what Trump heard, or what someone said or may have told trump someone said. The fair assumption would be that this is a mistake on Trump’s part, not a lie.

    No, the fair assumption is that Trump made it up, because that’s what Trump does. If there’s no evidence to corroborate Trump’s claim here, it is fair to assume it’s a lie.

    We know Trump creates support for him where none exists; that’s exactly what he’s doing here.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Since Trump (this time) didn’t say he was always against the war, this is not a provable lie as worded. “He never publicly expressed opposition to the war before it began” proves nothing. If I say “I’ve always admired James K. Polk,” would Burns and Haberman say I was lying because I never publicly expressed admiration of Polk in the past? Well, if I was a Republican running against Hillary, probably so.

    This is a ridiculous comparison. A better one would be if you had gone on record making negative statements about James K. Polk, and had no public record of positive statements, and then said “I’ve always admired James K. Polk.” That’s where Trump is with the Iraq War; his statements in support of the war are public record, while his claimed opposition to the war is nowhere to be found. When Hillary does this, you say she’s lying. Let’s not hold Trump to a lower standard.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Again, unless they can show that Trump was saying what he didn’t believe himself, it’s not a lie or a “whopper.”

    That’s an impossible standard, one that requires mind-reading, and one you’d never hold Hillary to. This is “It’s not a lie if you believe it;” George Costanza ethics. Trump said X when the truth was not X; according to you, that’s a lie.

    Who knows what Trump regards as “pretty quickly”?

    Who cares? Reasonable people would not consider this “pretty quickly,” meaning that what Trump said isn’t true.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Boy, these are really lame accusations! So Trump doesn’t remember exactly what he told Neil Cavuto. I was interviewed by Cavuto some time ago, and less time than has elapsed since Trump’s interview. I have no idea what I said to Neil. If I took a guess and was wrong, would I be lying?

    This is your worst defense yet. Trump “remembers” telling Cavuto the exact opposite of what he actually told him. Either Trump has the worst memory in the entire world, or he is intentionally lying. Who cares? At this point, what difference does it make? Either way, he’s not telling the truth.

    You’re saying that Trump can claim to have said the exact opposite of what he actually said, and unless we know with absolute certainty that Trump knows he isn’t telling the truth, it’s unfair to call it a lie. That’s an unreasonable standard.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: FOUL. Trump was obviously talking about the Iraq war in reference to Stern, not Iraq generally. Why don’t the reporters point out that they can prove Trump studied Iraq in 5th grade geography? That would be about as legitimate an argument that he’s lying here.

    This is your only reasonable defense so far.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Trump isn’t lying because he looks at different polls than the Times. This is really bottom-of-the-barrel smearing.

    The first three links in the Google search you linked to are Breitbart, Washington Examiner, and the Gateway Pundit; I can say with reasonable certainty that citing any poll results as interpreted by them is almost certainly a lie, because they are all liars. The fourth result is an LA Times article explaining that the interpretation of those polls by the preceding sources are, in fact, misleading. As in dishonest. As in lies. This is sad, Jack.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: This one is particularly outrageous. A phrase as vague as “Almost, it seems” cannot support the claim of lying! What are Trump’s “signature positions on illegal immigration?” That it’s illegal? That it needs to stop? A majority of Americans agree with that. The article’s statement is as much of a lie as Trump’s!

    At this point you’re about to make my head explode. Words have meaning, even words as vague as “almost” and “seems.” No, “almost” everybody doesn’t agree on Trump’s illegal immigration proposals–which you and I both know are a lot more than just “that it’s illegal”–and it doesn’t “seem” that way.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Did Trump say “major polls”? He said polls. All this says is that he sees progress in the polls. You can’t prove he doesn’t, so you can’t call this a lie.

    Hair-splitting.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: …which does not make Trump a “fan.” I could and will say honestly that “Barry Bonds was one of the best players in baseball history,” and also that I was never a fan of his, since he was a lying, cheating fraud. Nor do the reporters know how Trump felt about Powell when he wrote that assessment.

    Hair-splitting again.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Pure hyperbole and a self-evident generalization. Not meant to deceive, and not a lie.

    He said “all the women” when it was one woman. That’s a lie. He said X when it was not X. You can’t say whether he “meant to deceive” or not, but the most likely scenario is that he absolutely did.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Like many Trump statements, this is probably just ignorance. Ignorance isn’t lying.

    If he’s ignorant about something, he can’t just make up a fake fact and pretend it’s the truth. That’s called lying. If I said “Unlike Jack Marshall, I pay my taxes,” that is a lie. I am making up something about you that is not true. That’s EXACTLY what Trump did here.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Oh, for heaven’s sake. Seriously? Seriously? Trump is “lying” because he regards 11 points as “not much” and the Times calls it “crushing?”

    I’ll give you this one. 2 out of 13.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Holt is black and is a journalist. I assumed he was a Democrat too. Knock me over with a feather! Does that mean I was lying?

    If you a) said it in an interview and b) used it as evidence that he was biased against you, yes. It shows disregard for the truth. You can’t just make assumptions about people and then use them to smear them, as Trump did here to give the false impression that the moderator was biased against him.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Uh-huh. Trump means they are all probably liberals and biased to the left.

    So now you have special insight into Trump’s head, and know that he meant something he didn’t say? Fact-checkers have to fact-check what a person actually says, Jack, not what you wish they had said.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: This is not a lie, even though the news media tried to spin it as one. I wrote about this here. Note the Times’ Clintonesque use of “publicly,” as if under-the-radar efforts to spread rumors don’t count.

    It is a lie to say Hillary Clinton started it when she, personally, had nothing to do with it. The one campaign staffer who did was fired, which shows she did not approve of this line of attack.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: At best, a vague statement asserting that Clinton was not powerless—in her influence within the administration, in her dealings with other nations—to address the problem. At worst, ignorance.

    Good point. 3 out of 19.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: This is reckless disregard for the truth, and is the most fairly labelled a lie so far. Score so far: two out of 19.

    They’re all reckless disregard for the truth.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: He didn’t say he invented them. He says Hillary is now copying what he does. That maybe a foolish conclusion, but Trump is a narcissist, after all.

    Fair. 4 out of 20.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: The notes says she lost 13, and two were destroyed with a hammer. Big deal. He may have been wrongly briefed or gotten mixed up.

    “Wrongly briefed” is not an excuse for saying something that isn’t true. He’s running for president for Christ’s sake. It’s his job to determine the difference between the truth and lies. He said X when the truth was not X. Lie.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: “Effectively” is like “virtually.” He is saying that Clinton’s policies amount to opening the borders. Virtually doesn’t mean literally. If he meant “abolish the borders” literally, then the Times’ quibble would be fair.

    Most of the time, what the news media call Trump’s lies or outrages are statements that they intentionally interpret literally when they know he did not mean them literally.

    It’s still ridiculous enough to be extremely misleading. The purpose is to deceive. I’d call this a lie, but can see your argument; 4.5 out of 23.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Pure opinion. Absolutely not a lie.

    No, no, no, no, no. There are objective ways to measure whether the African-American community is truly in “the worst shape” it’s ever been in. These objective measures show it’s not. This is a lie meant to scaremonger.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: I’m glad the Times has so much faith in that process. I don’t, and many experts in the field don’t either. This is Trump’s opinion, not a lie.

    The “hundreds of thousands” part makes it a lie. The number is 10,000.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: This is classic absurd Trump hyperbole that, again, he does not expect even his dumbest followers to take literally.

    It doesn’t matter. He said X when X is not the case. It’s not only a lie, it’s a ridiculous lie.

    Ethics Alarms Verdict: Trump doesn’t believe him. All of a sudden, the New York Times regards the word of CEOs as gold?

    What evidence does Trump have that Ford is moving production to Mexico? If he has none, then his claim is a lie.

    But Sanders did lose to a rigged system that had superdelegates as part of its rigging.

    I’ve seen many claim this, but I’ve seen no evidence of it. I’ll give this one to you, though. 5.5 out of 30.

    You counted only 6 lies in the list of 31; I count only 6 instances where you fairly rebutted the charge of lying.

    Nor do they show him to be a worse liar than Hillary; indeed, most of Trumps factual misrepresentations are easily checked, unlike Hillary’s slippery and lawyerly machinations.

    So Trump isn’t a worse liar than Clinton because he tells obvious lies. Got it.

    • I admire the effort, Chris and you overwhelm me with the sheer volume of rebuttal rebuttal. I have new issues to fry, but…

      1. 1. He said a supportive crowd chanted, “Let him speak!” when a black pastor in Flint, Mich., asked Mr. Trump not to give a political speech in the church. Fox News interview, Sept. 15.

      There were no such chants.

      You are choosing one of two options, saying he made it up. It is equally valid to say that accounts missed what Trump heard. he was there. He’s a witness. You can’t call his statement a lie without proof, though proving a negative is hard. The Times chose to believe Elijah Cummings when he said he was spat on called a nigger by Tea Party demonstrators, though tapes didn’t support it, and Andrew Brietbart put out a reward for anyone who could back Cummings up.

      Guess who the Times believed. STRIKE ONE

      2. “I was against going into the war in Iraq” describes what Trump WAS, not what he said. The Times, and you, use what he said to disprove what he thought. Nope. Bad logic, and my analogy is 100% on point. STRIKE TWO

      3. You just made my point. Gee, I’m sorry if “lie” is too stringent for you, but you cannot call something a lie that relates to what the speaker believes as long as you don’t know what his belief is. You, and the Times, and many who are not as educates as either of you, do this repeatedly. In fact, I’ll call this CHRIS’S TIMES FALLACY to same space.

      4. CHRIS’S TIMES FALLACY

      5. CHRIS’S TIMES FALLACY

      6. CHRIS’S TIMES FALLACY Sorry, but to be a lie, the speaker or writer has to know it’s a lie. I know “liar” is a harder term than “ignorant” and “lazy” but they are different, and materially so.

      7. Who knows what Trump regards as “pretty quickly”?

      You say, “Who cares? Reasonable people would not consider this “pretty quickly,” meaning that what Trump said isn’t true.

      You know what? If you call this a lie, then you aren’t worth arguing with on this topic. You just said that if someone’s opinion doesn’t jibe with “most people,s’ then it’s a lie, because it “isn’t true.”

      I think an extra inning baseball game was thrilling and perfect. You think it was too long, and most people (who don’t follow the game) think it is too long as well. So what I said isn’t “true,” and I’m lying, according to you. the game was too long, and that’s that.
      …..
      But I can’t let this pass:

      But Sanders did lose to a rigged system that had superdelegates as part of its rigging.
      “I’ve seen many claim this, but I’ve seen no evidence of it. I’ll give this one to you, though. 5.5 out of 30.”

      No evidence. Wow. The superdelagates, which included Hillary’s husband. The e-mails showing the DNC staff active plotting against Sanders. The fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was fired mid-convention, and other staffers later. No evidence! Wow.

      See, this is why I call it Clinton Corruption. It has eaten you brain and critical faculties. This was no boating accident.

      Well, I agree that this is how most partisan fact-checks roll, but I expect better from you.
      Go put your head in a sack.

      • Chris

        Jack, by your logic, you literally cannot call anything a lie. Maybe Clinton is insane, and that’s why she claims to have released all her emails when she hasn’t. If she believes she has done this, then she isn’t lying.

        Right? What am I missing here?

        • It’s the standard used in perjury trials, for one thing. It is also the definition of lies. No, insane people are notlying when they claim they are Napoleon. That’s the word, that’s the concept. As a lawyer, I deal with it all the time. It’s not so difficult to aply correctly, but thee are definitely advantages to expanding the definition to include mistakes and opinions. This isn’t true/accurate/factual/ proven is not the same as “You lie!”

          • Chris

            Ok, so how do you tell whether someone like Trump knows what he’s saying is false or not? You listed many examples of things Trump should have known are false, but you dismissed them because you think it’s possible he could simply be mistaken. I think *all* of them show reckless disregard for the truth–it’s the job of anyone running for office to keep up with the facts, and Donald isn’t doing that.

  7. Chris

    Hm. Well, Jack, it seems you have misrepresented the New York Times.

    Most of your rebuttals rest on the definition of the word “lie,” but in fact, the New York Times doesn’t actually call any specific statement a lie.

    Here’s the intro:

    All politicians bend the truth to fit their purposes, including Hillary Clinton. But Donald J. Trump has unleashed a blizzard of falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies in the general election, peppering his speeches, interviews and Twitter posts with untruths so frequent that they can seem flighty or random — even compulsive.

    However, a closer examination, over the course of a week, revealed an unmistakable pattern: Virtually all of Mr. Trump’s falsehoods directly bolstered a powerful and self-aggrandizing narrative depicting him as a heroic savior for a nation menaced from every direction. Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, described the practice as creating “an unreality bubble that he surrounds himself with.”

    There are many words there to describe Trump’s statements. Lies is only one of them. But the article never–at any point–calls any specific statement a lie; in fact, they’re broken up into subcategories like “tall tales” and “unfounded claims.”

    So according to the article, some of Trump’s statements are “outright lies”–maybe even the ones you agreed were lies!–while some were merely “falsehoods” or even “exaggerations,” which is how you described a few of them.

    I still think the term “lie” is fair for most of the statements quoted, for the reasons I explained. But the New York Times was more careful than that. They did not, as you falsely claimed, describe each of these statements as a “lie.”

    I assume you misread the article, and that you weren’t lying about what was in it.

    • Nice try. Well, not really. The feature’s headline called all 31 “whoppers.” I have the paper right in front of me.

      Guess what “whopper” means….

      whop·per (h)wäpər/ noun informal
      noun: whopper; plural noun: whoppers

      First meaning: a thing that is extremely or unusually large.
      “the novel is a 1,079 page whopper”
      synonyms: giant, monster, colossus, mammoth, monstrosity, brute; informaljumbo
      “among the prehistoric land creatures, T.rex was quite a whopper!”

      (I think we can agree that this meaning was not what the Times meant, yes?)

      Second meaning:
      a gross or blatant LIE.

      Getting a bit desperate, are we?

      • Chris

        Jack, how can you know what the Times meant by “whopper” any more than you know what Trump meant by any of the words and phrases you claimed are ambiguous to defend him from the charge?

        I think it’s perfectly fair to believe they were referring to the previous definition–his misstatements are unusually large.

        They also use other words than “lie” specifically in the article–“falsehood,” “exaggeration,” “tall tales” and “untruths” are all examples. Why use these words if they mean “lie?” Is it possible the Times was giving Trump the exact benefit of the doubt you’ve given him here–and which you’ve refused to give the Times?

        • Desperate. The meaning of the headline could not be clearer. And the Timesis a professional source of facts: they cannot ethically fudge words and meanings like you suggest. Your opening statement here is so silly that it defies imagination. When “whopper” is applied to words, it means a big lie, and never means anything else. Never.

          • Chris

            Desperate. The meaning of the headline could not be clearer. And the Timesis a professional source of facts: they cannot ethically fudge words and meanings like you suggest.

            Nor can a candidate for President of the United States, Jack. Yet that’s exactly what Trump did in nearly every single example you said wasn’t a lie because [technicality, hair-split, ignorance, maybe he was possessed by Pazuzu].

            • Yes, because that’s what human beings do, and why we don’t call them liars every time they have an opinion we don’t like, or misstate a fact, or make a mistake, or remember something badly. He is accountable for all of these as a candidate, but he is not necessarily lying.

              I don’t know why you are so obstinate on this point. It’s easy, and it’s correct. “Lies” means intentional dishonesty. The Left has been intentionally blurring the lines since “Bush lied and People died,” to make those they disagree with seem malign, and I have been calling them on it ever since. It isn’t hard to separate Trump’s real lies, like his claim that he can’t release his taxes, or his claim that he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating on 9-11, from the fake ones, because they don’t involve belief or opinion, and are not subject to error—he either saw the celebrations or he didn’t, and since they weren’t on TV, he didn’t. If he hallucinated or is crazy, its his burden of proof to show it. It is the one calling liar who has the burden of showing deception and intent. “That’s not true” isn’t enough.

  8. Other Bill

    I still think Chris is on Hillary’s or somebody’s payroll. I’m retired and I don’t have has much time or interest as he seems to have. Plus, he too often sounds like a string of talking points. And he’s a little maniacal at times, like Paul Begala or Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Eric Weiner when they’re reading talking points.

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