I Write Letters

I've got a new piece up at BNR, which is an open letter to the New York Times public editor, in response to her essentially apologizing for not running dishonest coverage about Hillary Clinton:
Dear Ms. Spayd:

Hillary did not lie about her emails. Nor did she lie when she asserted that FBI Director Comey hadn't said otherwise.

As someone who is preoccupied with words for a living, surely you can appreciate the difference between "a lie," intended to deceive, and "a false statement," offered unknowingly.

This morning, as every morning, my husband woke up, showered and dressed, drank a cup of coffee, and kissed me goodbye before he left for work. If someone called the house looking for him, and I told them he's at work, and then they try him at work, but he's not there, either, because he's at a deli getting a sandwich for lunch, would I be lying?

No, I would have made an incorrect statement; told a falsehood. But I would not be lying. Because I was not intending to deceive anyone; I was simply providing what I thought to be a true statement based on the best information I had at the time.

This is not an insignificant distinction.

And it is a distinction that Comey recognizes. It is a distinction the law recognizes. Even if media outlets who are insistent on handing out "Pinocchios" refuse to make.

...The implicit premise in your column, Ms. Spayd, is that the New York Times was trying to conceal some nefarious claim made by Hillary, but the truth is that the Times quite rightly regarded it as a non-story, while other news outlets irresponsibly ignored the facts and crucial distinctions that, in fact, demonstrate Hillary did not lie then. Or now.

And it is frankly incredible to me that this – this! – is the hill you want to fight on, when it comes to the Times' coverage of Hillary.
There is much, much more at the link.

Can you picture my face right now? I bet you can picture my face right now. Ughhhhh.

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