Judy Woodruff Explains Why ‘PBS Newshour’ Refuses to Call Trump a Liar, Even When They Catch Him Saying Something Blatantly False

Jul 31, 2018  •  Post A Comment

“‘PBS Newshour’ anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff defended the broadcast network program’s unwillingness to call President Trump a ‘liar’ when they catch him saying something that’s blatantly false,” James Hibberd reports for EW.com in a piece on Woodruff’s appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour.

Hibberd notes that while Woodruff conceded covering Trump poses its challenges, the show is not comfortable using the word “lie.”

“I understand it’s a term that’s used a lot now in news coverage; our view is that lying is not a term we can use lightly,” Woodruff is quoted saying. “When you use the term ‘lie’ you’re saying whatever was said was said with intention. We can’t know what’s in someone mind, so we’re much more comfortable with when somebody says something that cannot be borne out by the facts, we say what they said was ‘inaccurate’ or ‘false.’”

Woodruff added: “I will tell you, the first time I had to say on the air the president said something that was not accurate, I got a lump in my throat. It’s not something journalists are accustomed to doing. This is a different time. That said, we have to be very, very careful how we talk about what the president said because he’s still the president.”


  1. There’s better ways of dealing with this. No, they shouldn’t call him a liar, but they should call out his more blatant lies. This could be done by pointing out that he’s repeating a false statement despite it being repeatedly debunked, or referring to the more blatant statements as “apparent lies”.

    That he’s the president should be reason to hold him to a higher standard, not a lower one.

  2. “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”

    I don’t remember them calling Obama a liar for that one either, so don’t make it seem like they aren’t holding just Trump to account somehow.

  3. So, one has to ask Ms. Woodruff — does this mean Trump isn’t lying when he says the news media are “the enemy of the people”? Being objective and presenting facts in a balanced manner without name calling is great in a rational world, but Mr. Trump has changed that dynamic. Ms. Woodruff’s response is just one more example of why he won — because the mainstream media failed to hold him accountable.

  4. PBS is partly funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which receives federal monies so please don’t blame her for not using certain language in the current political atmosphere.. If you want to hear or read lists of lies, subscribe to The Washington Post.

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