Who to believe | AspenTimes.com

Who to believe

We have a choice. We can believe the professional journalists who’ve dedicated their lives to the truth or trust the confirmed and habitual liar who resides in the White House.

In my brief journalism career, I was impressed by the profession’s commitment to accuracy. Each day, the dailies hold a budget meeting and it has nothing to do with money except the amount of news you can carry depends on how much advertising you have. They’re budgeting space in the newspaper ­— which stories get front page play and which are buried.

The veracity of the stories is preeminent at these meetings. Is your story based on hearsay? Is it just somebody’s opinion? Have you closed all the loopholes? Are your sources reliable? This can be a particularly perilous stumbling block because your sources are often politicians, lawyers, businessmen and police officers; people not generally known for their trustworthiness.

“You haven’t got it,” said Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards) to Woodward and Bernstein (Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) in the film “All the President’s Men,” a very realistic portrayal of newsroom activities.

Ethics is another topic that comes up just about every day. Is the story fair? Have you told both sides of the issue? I told my father, a lawyer, that journalism was the most ethical profession there was. That started a helluva argument.

On the other hand, there is the integrity of our current POTUS. The litany of his lies would fill up the rest of this newspaper.

Let’s play a little game. I will choose one of his recent falsehoods and you respond with one you’ve heard from the press. I’ll start.

“Believe me, I’m the least racist person you know.”

“Believe me, the new tax plan will cost me a fortune.”

“Believe me, we just enacted the largest tax cut in history.”

No response? Game. Set. Match.

Believe me, when he prefaces his remarks that way, roll up your pant legs.

Fred Malo Jr.