What Should the Media Do When Donald Trump Blatantly Lies? [Try Not Reporting Lies]

What Should the Media Do When Donald Trump Blatantly Lies? by Matthew Ingram.

From the post:

Political speech is a unique animal, especially during election season. It often mixes hyperbole with flowery language and aggressive rhetoric designed to inflame a particular passion. But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is arguably in a category unto himself. More than almost any other 2016 candidate, he is prone to telling flat-out lies, making up facts, and distorting the truth to a prodigious extent.

This kind of behavior creates a tricky problem for the press. How should media companies deal with Trump and his falsehoods? If he were just a joke candidate without a hope of ever being the Republican nominee, it would be easy enough to ignore him. But he appears to stand a better than even chance of getting the nomination — he has been leading in the polls for months.

If media outlets attack Trump’s lying directly, they run the risk of being accused of bias by his supporters and Republicans in general. In fact, that kind of reaction is already occurring in response to a New York Times editorial that accused the billionaire businessman of playing fast and loose with the truth on a number of issues, including whether Muslims in New Jersey cheered the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Part of the problem is that Trump and his candidacy are to some extent a creation of the mainstream media. At the very least, the two have developed a disturbingly co-dependent relationship.

As disturbing as the article in on media coverage of lies by Donald Trump, the crux of the dilemma was put this way:

since the U.S. news media is based on the commercial model—and more eyeballs on the page or the screen is good for business—the networks love it when someone like Donald Trump says outrageous stuff. Fact-checking rains on the parade of that revenue model.

Perhaps news rooms need a new version of First they came for:

First Trump lied about the refugees, and I reported it—
Because I was not a refugee.

Then Trump lied about blacks, and I reported it—
Because I was not black.

Then Trump lied about Jews, and I reported it—
Because I was not a Jew.

Donald Trump lied his way into the Whitehouse, and I made it possible-
Because fact checking conflicted with the bottom-line.

When I think about journalists who risk their lives reporting on drug cartels and violent governments, I wonder what they must think of the moral cowardice of political coverage in the United States?

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