I respectfully disagree with the PG editorial board’s opinion offered in defense of President Barack Obama regarding what constitutes a lie (“Truth About a ‘Lie,’ ” Nov. 10). According to the editors, a lie is a “deliberate misstating of the truth; it is not simply something that was wrongly stated with good intentions, in this case perhaps, to make the complicated simple for public consumption.”
The noun “lie” is not qualified by good intentions, but rather by intent to deceive (reference Mirriam-Webster or The American Heritage dictionaries). The public record is clear. Mr. Obama deliberately and knowingly made false statements on dozens of occasions in an effort to pass the Affordable Care Act. Call it whatever you want, but these statements meet the definition of a lie.
However, more worrisome than the president’s lies is the editors’ acceptance of wrongly stated facts (lies) if done with good intentions. To be so willing to sacrifice the truth upon an altar of expediency is a very slippery slope. The Iraq War, justified by falsehoods, allegedly well-intentioned, serves as a recent and stark admonition of the folly of such flexibility with the truth.
The editors aver that the ACA is good policy. That point can be debated. However, since Mr. Obama’s words were not “scrupulously faithful to the facts,” our nation was denied that debate. As such, we were denied the opportunity to have a better law with more universal support and less public acrimony. America deserved better.
To quote then-candidate Barack Obama, “Don’t tell me that words don’t matter.”
The biggest lie
The PG editorial itself (“Truth About a ‘Lie,’ ” Nov. 10) is a lie defending a lie that is perhaps the biggest, boldest intentional lie ever uttered by an American president, far exceeding those of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. This is no petty cover-up lie. This was a lie perpetrated to alter the future of the American republic in a breathtaking way.
There can be no doubt that the president’s precise wording, repeated exactly the same way more than 30 times, was intentional. It was a deliberate deception, supposedly justified by concerns that without this exact phrasing, the entire ACA would be in jeopardy. The Post-Gazette knows this just like every other media outlet in the country both for and against the ACA. Yet the Post-Gazette makes this agonizingly twisted attempt to soft- pedal the lie. The president’s lie is clearly the most Machiavellian (the ends justify the means) conduct that I have ever seen by an American administration in my 60-plus years, and it appears that the Post-Gazette is doing all it can to help him get away with it.