It is a truism to say that everyone lies to someone. Since public officials entrusted with power in our democracy are no exception to this human trait—as historical research documents—it should be exceedingly acceptable to point out that all politicians, from your local city council right up to the White House, lie as well. The Framers afforded the press special constitutional protection in large part to ensure that such lies would not reach the public unchallenged.
It’s undeniable that the overuse of “lie” and “lying” would be detrimental to both journalism and the truth. But modern newsrooms have instead erred in the other direction, by either consigning these words to the narrative ghetto of partisan quotes, or locking them out of the the press’s political coverage altogether. In pursuit of a more bottom-line friendly pose of neutrality, the corporate media have neutered a critical tool of truth-telling and political accountability.