Don’t hold back, E.J.

“A press corps that relentlessly nitpicked Al Gore in 2000 in search of ‘little lies’ and exaggerations has given Bush wide latitude to make things up. I guess the incumbent benefits from the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

E.J. Dionne does not say that the President of the United States is a damned liar. That would be shrill. Instead, he says things such as:

A very intelligent political reporter I know said the other night that Republicans simply run better campaigns than Democrats. If I were given a free pass to stretch the truth to the breaking point, I could run a pretty good campaign, too.

It’s the old McCarthy problem: When a politician campaigns on flat-out lies, should reporters just report the lies and the denials, or should they do the fact-checking and report the results?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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