Avoiding the ‘L’ word

Reporters know President George W. Bush lies…a lot. Yet they just can’t seem to bring themselves to say the "L" word. Why is that?

Writes Dan Froomkin in The Washington Post:

Lying is probably the one word mainstream journalists are the most averse to using when recounting what the president said — even when they know he’s not telling the truth. The act of lying requires not just the presentation of false information, but an intention to deceive. Reporters — and, particularly editors — are notoriously resistant to ascribe such volition without ironclad evidence.

But there’s really no other way to describe what Bush said Thursday. Press secretary Tony Snow’s widely-quoted explanation that Bush’s statement was in some way "artfully worded" is just plain wrong.

It may not have been an important lie. And there are some mitigating factors: It was, after all, a personnel matter and there was some possibly legitimate concern about the financial markets. But it couldn’t be more clear that Bush was being intentionally deceptive.

Others may have that problem. We don’t. We call politicains liars all the time because they lie all the time.