Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Economist on the difference between lying, mistakes, falsehoods and nonsense.

There is an excellent article by the Economist on calling out politicians and others who say things which are not true - and when we should accuse them of lying, talking nonsense, exaggerating, misleading people, or making a mistake.

If you are registered to read the Economist online, you can find a text version here.

There is also a very good video version featuring Lane Greene, the Economist's language correspondent who I presume to have been the main author of the article, with similar but not quite identical script and this is available to watch via twitter here

or on YouTube, which will play if you click on the window below -

As they rightly say (in the print version)

"Journalists should be tough when powerful people say untrue things. When those statements first hit the headlines, “false” packs plenty of punch. Reporters should demand to know the reason for the false statements."

But, to quote the video version, after encouraging people to use words like "nonsense" and "exaggeration" where those are more appropriate, Lane Green argues that:

"Using these exact terms will only make it more effective when we catch powerful people red-handed in a true, no-doubt-about-it, lie."

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