Here’s an interesting take on an issue that seems to be gripping American journalists right now:
In a nutshell, a statement can fairly be called a lie if there is abundant evidence to the contrary that a speaker should have known about. For example, you can argue that saying the inauguration drew record crowds deserves to be called a lie because there are multiple credible news reports that have proven this to be untrue. At the time of the inauguration, saying so might merely have been a misunderstanding. But one week later, that stance has hardened into something that could be called a lie.****
Mathew Ingram make a good job of untangling the complications and ethical issues around calling something a lie. The core point? To be a lie, there has to be an intent to deceive. And it’s hard for to know people’s intent with authority.