'The big L word': The National in Conversation asks when to call out a lie

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'The big L word': The National in Conversation asks when to call out a lie

A question from the audience started a lengthy conversation among the panelists at The National in Conversation: The Changing Nature of News. The topic: lies.

The question asked what is the responsibility of journalists to call out a lie when they know it is there. 

Most of the panelists expressed the difficulty of straight out calling someone on a lie. 

"Part of the problem here is a lie truly defined is when you knowingly deceive. The problem is the knowingly part, because you're never really sure if they're absolutely sure that they're decieving." said Peter Mansbridge. 

'Liar is a real trigger word'

The way to call it out was a common theme, with many saying to tip toe is better. 

"Liar is a real trigger word, if you call someone a liar — that's it we are into it," said Rosemary Barton, host of Power & Politics. 

"But if I say 'I don't really think that's my interpretation of the facts,' then you all know that I've understood that the person's lying but I haven't gotten up in their grill, that's the difference."

CBC senior correspondent Susan Ormiston agreed.

"Sometimes I want to say to the person I'm interviewing, 'That's a lie,' usually I choose another way to say that's not the truth and I think it's a better way likely to say it."

"I think we all should be a little bit more honest about calling out lies, we can call it something else if we want but we need to nail it."

Working as a columnist and satirist  Rex Murphy and Mark Critch said it is a bit different for them. 

'That flash of truth'

"I find in an interview you can kind of get away with it, cause you can say 'c'mon' and that flash of truth on the person's face will kind of give it away," said Critch, while Murphy said the best option is when it is up to the audience. 

"The best situation is all the information that we have, we pass to you and we let your adult judgements make the call on the big L word"​