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Daniel Dale @ddale8
, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I’m someone who uses “lie” a lot for Trump claims. I also think Maggie’s points in this fight are indisputably true.

Two things are true at once: 1) Trump is a serial liar; 2) Reporters can’t call *all* his false claims lies; sometimes he’s confused or ignorant, not intentional.
I think basically all big U.S. papers are too cautious in using “lie” with Trump - it’s warranted in many cases - and that they devote too little coverage to the lies. That doesn’t mean they should call every false claim a lie.
When Trump makes up a fictional phone call from the head of the Boy Scouts, there’s no word for that but lie. When Trump is wrong about policy, he is often clearly lying, but other times he seems ill-informed.
The term is not the central issue, in my view. What’s most important is consistent coverage of the dishonesty, consistently treating it as a major story, consistently calling it out in basic news coverage rather than leaving it to fact-checkers. That’s what’s too often missing.
I understand the frustration of the liberals who yell at me to CALL THEM LIES. But if we’re going to hold ourselves out as arbiters of truth, we have to stick to what we know is true.
In conclusion here is my list of the 1,591 false claims Trump has made as president:…
I agree that false claims that come from ignorance are also bad! I don’t see “false claim” as an exculpatory phrase. It is bad that the president lies so often, and it’s bad the president so often doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
In this case, with the claim about the NYT, I used lie. (“Ridiculous lie.”) I understand the argument that we don’t know for sure if he was just unaware of his own staff’s briefing, but still. (It’s subjective!)
One more: I think the biggest issue with coverage of Trump’s dishonesty is that it usually doesn’t happen at all. Even if they’re called “falsehoods” or whatever, at least the biggest lies are noted in some way. But...
I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve covered a rally where Trump has said more than 15 false things and then read stories on the rally that didn’t once mention this incessant dishonesty. It’s “Trump talks up tax plan” or “Trump attacks such and such.”
So I know there can be more than one problem at once, but I think what is clearly the biggest issue is not coverage terminology but coverage frequency and intensity - the continued treatment of Trump’s dishonesty as something other than a central daily story of this presidency.
We can’t get worn down by Trump’s relentlessness with lying, treat a false claim as worth mentioning the first time but not the 32nd time. We have to match his energy and consistency, challenge every time, I say.

THE END (for now)
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