WSJ Had To Publish Trump's Letter Of Lies Because, Ummm, Russia Hoax
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published a letter to the editor from an irate Florida man. The letter writer excoriated the paper's Editorial Board for a Monday piece which acknowledged President Joe Biden's narrow win in Pennsylvania — "Well actually, the election was rigged, which you, unfortunately, still haven't figured out" — before launching into a litany of disproven claims about stolen ballots.
The editors failed to provide any context for the piece, running its many blatant falsehoods without factcheck, as if the number of votes cast were simply a matter of opinion. This despite the fact that just months ago an angry mob who believed the letter writer and his lies tried to violently overthrow the US government.
Facing massive blowback, the Editorial Board followed up with a post defending the propriety of publishing the former president's dangerous lies, and it is amazing. They had to do it, you see, because the "progressive parsons of the press" published all the those stories about Trump and Russia.
As for the media clerics, their attempts to censor Mr. Trump have done nothing to diminish his popularity. Our advice would be to examine their own standards after they fell so easily for false Russian collusion claims. They'd have more credibility in refuting Mr. Trump's.
Acknowledging that Trump "tosses off enough unsourced numbers in 30 seconds to keep a fact-checker busy for 30 days" as part of a strategy to flood the zone with shit, the editors gigglesnort over the former president's pathetically flimsy sourcing:
Mr. Trump says that "25,000 ballots were requested from nursing homes at the exact same time." His citation for this—no kidding—is a Nov. 9 cable-TV hit by Sen. Lindsey Graham. Mr. Trump is alleging 25,000 fake votes in Pennsylvania, based on a stray remark by someone from South Carolina.
But they acknowledge no responsibility to even footnote his preposterous claims, because "We trust our readers to make up their own minds about his statement. And we think it's news when an ex-President who may run in 2024 wrote what he did, even if (or perhaps especially if) his claims are bananas."
And there's a rational argument to be made for that second statement. Indeed, it is newsworthy that Trump continues to flog these debunked lies about the election a full year later, particularly since so many of his followers actually believe him. Journalists do have a responsibility to cover the effect the former president's false claims are having on the American body politic. But that's not what they did.
Instead of reporting on Trump's deceptions as news, they handed over their microphone, allowing him to spread the same lies that got him banned from every major social media platform. One of the most important news outlets in the country lent its gravitas to claims it knows are lies, and not the kind of lies that could be categorized as "opinions" — this wasn't a claim that trickle down economics is good and tax cuts for the rich make us all better off. These are objectively false statements of fact given the imprimatur of credibility by grossly irresponsible partisans who shrug it off by claiming that they bear no responsibility for what they choose to publish.
"Mr. Trump is making these claims elsewhere, so we hardly did him a special favor by letting him respond to our editorial," they shrug. "We offer the same courtesy to others we criticize, even when they make allegations we think are false."
In summary and in conclusion, it's fine to publish lies, because lies are news. And haha isn't it funny how much Trump lies all the time? And really, if you think about it, isn't it really the libs' fault for writing about Trump's one million contacts with Russia?
So thanks, WSJ, for that very excellent lesson in how to journalism good. We all learned a lot today.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.