Ruth Marcus’ Jan. 15 column “The art of journalism in the Age of Trump” agreed with the Wall Street Journal editor’s statement that journalist should not employ the word “liar” toward the president-elect and be reluctant with a term connoting “not mere falsehood but intention to deceive.” A liar says “something that’s false,” she quoted that editor. “It implies a deliberate intention to mislead.” Ascribing “moral intent,” creates “the risk” of looking like “you’re not being objective.”
How should we label someone who repeatedly makes false statements with no factual basis? Are they willfully ignorant? Is not willful ignorance a form of intentional deception and therefore a falsehood?
Anyone who repeatedly makes false statements and refuses to stand corrected, is, by definition, a liar. Their moral intent is objectively clear. All Americans, if honest, can point to that person and truthfully say he is a liar for his repeated falsehoods.
Public servants should represent the people’s interest, and that is conveyed through truthfulness. That person has a civic, social and moral obligation to tell the truth and the press has a civic, social and moral responsibility/obligation to report it if this obligation goes unfulfilled. Scripture states, “None are so blind as those who refuse to see.”