In The Denver Post: In the age of Trump, lying gets another look

Amid flurry of bogus claims, when is a lie a lie?

February 11th 2017 | L&S News
Media Mentions, Social Sciences
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In less contentious times, arguments over the word “lie” generally involve its grammatical partner “lay.”

But the election of Donald Trump, criticized during his campaign and in the early days of his presidency for statements often at odds with verifiable fact, has recast the discussion.

Political prevarication comes with the territory. And the media traditionally have been reluctant to label individuals with the L-word, defaulting to terms like “falsehood” or “baseless claim.” But from claims of crowd size and even the weather at his inauguration to unfounded complaints of voter fraud in the millions, Trump has by sheer frequency and repetition dared those chronicling his public discourse to use a word they’d rather not.

“I’m very, very careful with the word lie, because it does imply intent, and sometimes when people share a falsehood they’re not necessarily intending to lie,” says Kathleen Bartzen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “What concerns me most right now is whether we’ve come to a point where people don’t necessarily believe there is a truth anymore.”

Read more in The Denver Post.