When is an alternative fact a lie?

Let’s talk about this a little, because it’s a little more complicated than Sean Spicer attempting to mislead the public.

The WSJ recently made a splash in the news when they announced that they would not be describing the Trump administrations use of apparently less than factual statements as lies. I suspect that the New York Times will make an even bigger splash this morning when they use the L word about the newly elected President.

Here’s the thing: words matter here and so do intent.

A journalist can ascertain factuality in most cases, but intent is a hard creature to pin down. As Kellyanne would say, you have to look at what’s in President Trump’s heart. 

Why does it matter?

Because if a journalist or anyone else is going to attempt to be as fair and impartial as they can be, they need to choose their words carefully when reporting on factual errors. To use a political term, a professional writer of non-fiction needs to be conservative in their word selection.

The word lie contains an implicit value judgement. It means that not only did someone say something false, but they also knew it was false, and intended to be misleading. It is an inflammatory word, and using it should be considered carefully. Especially in the context of professional writing. 

There to indicate falsehood without indicating the intent. Pointing out factual errors as such can be done without the moral judgment that accompanies the word lie. In my opinion, journalists should use the word lie very seldom if ever.

That also means they don’t have to look into President Trump’s heart and decide if his intentions were pure. They can report on his words, and what they can determine that he did and said. 

Just the facts.

Is there video of him mocking a reporter at a rally? Yes.

Is there film of him calling Mexicans rapists? Yes.

Those are facts.

Facts are very powerful, although they don’t work very well with people who don’t care about them. Embellishment is not necessary.

Choose your words wisely, women and men of the press–we are counting on you to help us be an informed electorate.

Obligatory Thanksgiving post

There is so much to be grateful for in life that it’s useless to try to make a list. Thanksgiving Day does require some sort of acknowledgement of gratitude before I get any mashed potatoes, so…

I am incredibly blessed in pretty much every way a person can be. Wonderful life partner and family, loving friends, a great job, a penchant for both laughter and deep thought, health, sarcasm, enough money to have everything I need (and not so much that I can get into trouble), and living in a gorgeous place where I am free to be who I am.

Life isn’t perfect, nothing ever is, but as the late Leonard Cohen said “there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

Happy Thanksgiving, my loves!

PS
I feel like a really need to throw in something about red shoes, music, boozes, and books. You know, the stuff that pads the sometimes rough edges of life. There will always be bumps, but life has a multitude of compensations for them!

My ideal Elvis set list 

The other day I was listening to an old interview of Elvis on the Howard Stern Show, and now everythin’ that ends in ing sounds like Elvis. You know how it is. You’re listnin’ along, smilin’ at all the great songs..and without even noticin’ that it’s happenin’ all the g’s have fallen off your gerunds. 

It’s enbarassin’ really. 

I’m goin’ to see Elvis with the person who first introduced me to the music of the One True Elvis, and when we were discussin’ where to have dinner before the show, KelBel asked me what songs I wanted to hear. And that is a really hard question. There is such a long list. 

So I was thinkin’ about the ideal set list. There are songs he has to play, so we know that Alison and some detectives will be there. He’s got to play some of his more recent stuff so he doesn’t get bored. 

Here’s what I think:
Start with Pump it Up. It will drive the crowd wild, and he won’t have to do a lick of work the rest of the night 
Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes for me. This is the one I would be most disappointed not to hear, even though it breaks my heart a little bit to hear it at all. 

Lipstick Vogue for what’s his name

Sulphur to Sugar Cane

Something from North, like Someone Took the Words Away or Let Me Tell You About Her

My Science Fiction Twin

Uncomplicated

I Want You

You’d need some Peace, Love and Understanding or Shipbuilding

Am I Blue

Beyond Belief

Stella Hurt

Mystery Dance

Veronica

And then I just just sort of surrender. There are just too many songs. He can’t play them all.  I’ll be there with some of my favorite guys in the world, and it will be great no matter what. 

But, still. There better be red shoes.