Late last week, for the University of Mobile’s Center for Leadership, I tried to delve a bit more deeply into current controversies about media “fact checkers.” It’s not just the media, but society in general, that seems to have an increasing problem understanding even what constitutes a “fact” in the first place.
Second, a statement can be inaccurate without being a “lie.”…. Situation two: President George W. Bush was inaccurate when he said Saddam Hussein still had an active program of “weapons of mass destruction” when the United States began its liberation of Iraq – but he didn’t lie. A lie by definition involves deliberate intent to deceive; but every single bit of evidence shows that Bush and every other major political figure of both parties believed Saddam was hiding numerous WMDs. (As a matter of fact, Iraq still did possess WMDs, but only in small amounts.) It is a fact that Saddam once had many such weapons, that he tried to manufacture and/or acquire more of them, that he had used them in the past, that he even fooled his own senior Iraqi military officials into believing he still had them, and that he never showed proof that he had disposed of them. If Bush believed Saddam still had WMD, then he wasn’t lying. Period. He was just mistaken.