Lies and the Media

“Journalists by nature shy from pinning the “liar” label on any political leader, but President Bush’s acknowledgments that he had not been forthcoming about his plans to dump Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld have kicked up a fuss at the White House and sparked a debate about the limits of presidential evasion.”

Howard Kurtz – President’s Evasion Raises Truth Issues –

I take exception to the use of the word any in the above quote. Reporters have no problem going after business leaders, religious leaders, or even run of the mill politicians. They didn’t seem to have much trouble implying (pointedly) that Clinton wasn’t being honest. But, for some reason they seem to cut George a lot of slack in the veracity department. You know, I have to wonder about the reason for this. Maybe if the media as a whole held the President to the same standard they would hold any one of us, and were held to that same standard themselves, there would be less partisan bickering in this country.

Think back over the past few election cycles, how much of the political debate has been based on outright lies? The political operatives continually us unsubstantiated innuendo to paint their opponents which is then picked up by the partisan media before being pushed into the mainstream without the benefit of actual fact checking. Hell fact checking used to be what news reporters did. But then again, news reporters used to be what main stream media hired.

Maybe what we need is a code like you find on restaurant reviews. Instead of the cost we should see a number of checkmarks indicating the actual number of confirmed facts in the story. That way we could weigh the conclusions reached with some degree of confidence we aren’t being fed a load of BS by “fair and balanced” reporting.