Pointing Out Government Lies is Not “Taking Sides”

Glenn Greenwald in a Salon piece entitled, “Journalists Angry Over the Commission of Journalism:”

“Objectivity” does not require refraining from pointing out the falsity of government claims.  The opposite is true; objectivity requires that a journalist do exactly that: Treat factually false statements as false.

The word “lie” tends to turn off many people due to its negative connotation.  But it has a valid objective meaning that is appropriate for certain situations–for instance, when the lie will result in real harm to many people or when it is told by organizations or persons who purport to be especially trustworthy.  A lie told by our government is not just still a lie, it is especially a lie.

The government and its many component agencies don’t always or even necessarily usually lie, but one suspects that they would lie much less often if the likely consequence was public embarrassment rather than complicity.

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