Dan Rather SHREDS Wall Street Journal For Dodging Duty To Call Out Trump’s Lies In Epic Rant

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Baker, announced that his paper would no longer call out Trump on his lies. Sure, they’ll still report what he says, but apparently, Baker thinks that it should be up to the readers to decide whether Trump is lying or telling the truth. In other words, Baker is tossing out journalistic responsibility, probably to avoid becoming a casualty of Trump’s crusade against the “dishonest media.”

Dan Rather, former CBS Evening News anchor and veteran journalist, has a different take on this. In explaining his perspective, he took the Wall Street Journal through a paper shredder for Baker’s new stance, blasting Baker’s decision right out of the gate:

“A lie, is a lie, is a lie. Journalism, as I was taught it, is a process of getting as close to some valid version of the truth as is humanly possible. And one of my definitions of news is information that the powerful don’t want you to know.”

Basically, if you can concretely back up your assertions that someone is being less-than-honest, then, as a journalist, it is your responsibility to say so. Baker tried to differentiate between lies and misstatements by saying the word “lie” indicates an intent to deceive in yesterday’s interview, but Rather sees right through that (as do the rest of us):

“It is not the proper role of journalists to meet lies—especially from someone of Mr. Trump’s stature and power—by hiding behind semantics and euphemisms. Our role is to call it as we see it, based on solid reporting. When something is, in fact, a demonstrable lie, it is our responsibility to say so.”

Little Green Footballs’ Charles Johnson also sees a massive problem with Baker’s decision, and posted this series of tweets about it:

What absolute, hypocritical horseshit coming from the Wall Street Journal, then. It really does look like Baker’s trying to cover his ass to avoid ending up in Trump’s anti-media crosshairs.

There are things Trump says that are demonstrably lies, even under Baker’s definition. For instance, he claimed he never told people to check out Alicia Machado’s alleged “sex tape,” when he literally tweeted, “Check out sex tape.” He ran an ad that supposedly showed Mexicans streaming across our border, which was actually a recording from Morocco (his campaign later tried to backpedal on that, to no avail).

He claimed to have seen a top-secret tape of a U.S. plane unloading cash and giving it to Iranian officials in Iran (he and his campaign tried to backpedal on that, too). He also claimed he sent investigators to Hawaii to look into Obama’s birth certificate, and then said they couldn’t believe what they were finding. That never happened.

And that was all before he was even elected. It’s really hard to wonder whether he had an intent to deceive with these, given how they played into his larger goals.

As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent points out, he doesn’t throw falsehoods around casually. His claim that he saw thousands of Muslims cheering the Twin Towers as they fell from the streets of New Jersey was part of a larger effort to demonize Muslims and boost his own appeal to the xenophobic right.

After explaining how Trump’s birtherism was part of a larger effort to gain political clout and legitimacy, Sargent goes on to say:

“In these cases, was Trump lying? The standard that Baker adopts — that there must be a provable intent to mislead — seems woefully inadequate to informing readers about what Trump is really up to here. Sure, it’s possible that Trump continued to believe these things after they were debunked. We cannot prove otherwise. But so what? If we accept that it’s possible to prove something to be false — which Baker does, judging by his own comments — then we presumably also accept that this can be adequately proved to Trump. And so, Trump is telling a falsehood even though it has been demonstrated to him to be a falsehood.”

And that’s what Dan Rather is getting at in his Facebook post:

“We are being confronted by versions of what are claimed to be ‘the truth’ that resemble something spewed out by a fertilizer-spreader in a wind tunnel. And there is every indication that this will only continue in the Tweets and statements of the man who will now hold forth from behind the Great Seal of the President of the United States.”

Read his full statement below:

Featured image via Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Hamptons International Film Festival