Gerard Baker, Editor in Chief at the Wall Street Journal is more concerned about “maintaining objectivity” than accusing President-elect Trump of being a liar when fact-checking statements he’s made in the past.
“I’d be careful about using the word ‘lie.’ ‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead,” Editor in Chief Gerard Baker told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
As reported by Mallory Shelbourne for the Hill:
“Baker said news organizations should investigate claims like Trump’s during his campaign that he saw thousands of Muslims cheering on Sept. 11. There is no evidence that his claim is true.”
Despite Trump claiming these events were “well documented,” no footage has emerged, and he is not facing the consequences of being a liar. Instead- he is reaping the benefits of having fear mongered so much so, that he has won the presidency based on fear of others- fear of immigrants, fear of Muslims all found to be unfounded. Baker doesn’t seem to think the normalization of these lies has caused the acceptance of Trump’s lies as being truth, but it has.
“I think it’s then up to the reader to make up their own mind to say, ‘This is what Donald Trump says. This is what a reliable, trustworthy news organization reports. And you know what? I don’t think that’s true,’” Baker said.
“I think if you start ascribing a moral intent as it were to someone by saying that they’ve lied, I think you run the risk that you look like you are not being objective,” he added.
An even bigger problem with this situation is that Baker and the WSJ are not the only ones who feel this way.
When Trump took credit for saving a Ford plant in Kentucky, many headlines reiterated his claim word-for-word without checking — the plant was never in any danger, though it was going to shift productions. The same happened when Trump claimed to save over 1,000 Carrier jobs in Indiana (the actual number was smaller, and came at a huge taxpayer cost), and took credit for new jobs at Sprint.
Each time, by the time the truth came out, the news cycle had moved on — letting the lie stand in millions of people’s minds.
And surveys show that many Americans, when faced with a discrepancy between what Trump tells them and what a “reliable, trustworthy news organization reports,” will believe what Trump says over the media’s reporting. According to a nationally representative survey of Trump supporters by PPP, 40 percent of Trump voters think that the business mogul has more credibility than the New York Times. Forty-one percent of Trump voters think that he has more credibility than CNN.
Maintaining objectivity should not override the goal report the truth when reporting the news- the truth is what that brings honor and credibility to a publication and it’s writers, and to the misfortune of the general public mainstream media’s agenda is to make a dollar, not report as truthfully as possible. In the years ahead under a Trump administration it will be interesting to see how the landscape of journalism will change.
Do you think going forward journalists will feel increasingly censored in an attempt to “maintain objectivity”? We welcome your thoughts in our comment section below.
(Article By Tasha Sharifa)