Helene Cooper: NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet Worries The Word "Lie" Will Lose Its Meaning In Trump Era


On NBC's 'Meet the Press' roundtable, New York Times reporter reveals that the Times newsroom is "wrestling" with Dean Baquet, the executive editor, told her that they should not use the word "lie" every time lies, otherwise "it will lose its impact when it is a real whopped."

CHUCK TODD, NBC: It's funny you say this about [President Trump's] mental capacity. Andrew Sullivan went there [in a New York Magazine piece titled, Trump Is Making Us All Live in His Delusional Reality Show]. This is what he wrote, Helene, "If someone behaved like this in my actual life, if someone kept insisting that the sea was red and the sky green I'd assume they were a few sandwiches short of a picnic. It's vital for us to remember this every day almost no one else in public life is so openly living in his own disturbed world."

HELENE COOPER, NEW YORK TIMES: What do you want me to do? It's something that at the Times we've been wrestling with on the news side because we get a lot of letters from readers saying, "Why do you guys say the president made misstatements? Why do you say--"

CHUCK TODD: Getting a lot of tweets right now.

HELENE COOPER: Yeah, "Why don't you just call a lie a lie?" And we've said lied in the past. But what Dean Baquet, who's the executive editor of the Times has said is that he thinks that we shouldn't use it all the time because if we use it all the time it loses its meaning.

But this is something that I can't remember as a reporter wrestling with how do you call-- and he's right to a certain extent. If you keep saying lie, lie, lie it does lose its impact when there's a real whopper. But it's something I'm not used to having to deal with as a reporter when you're talking about the president.

CHUCK TODD: It's disorienting.

CAROL LEE: That's the thing because all politicians tell lies. We've all experienced this in covering politicians.

CHUCK TODD: But there used to be honor among thieves.

CAROL LEE: This is different. This is a different level. And I think what we struggle with as reporters is what do you label a lie? Because a lie has to be deliberate. And so with President Trump in order to call it a lie you have to be able to show that he is deliberately, intentionally doing that.

And there's a lot of times when he's ill-informed, he's misinformed. And you don't exactly know what his intent is.

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