New York Times Editorial Page editor Alexander Rosenthal defended the paper’s editorial last weekend that said that President Obama “misspoke” when he made his promise to the American people that under Obamacare, they could keep their health insurance policy if they liked it.
Rosenthal was asked to comment on the controversy by public editor Margaret Sullivan, who wrote:
“We have a high threshold for whether someone lied,” he told me. The phrase that The Times used “means that he said something that wasn’t true.” Saying the president lied would have meant something different, Mr. Rosenthal said — that he knew it was false and intended to express the falsehood. “We don’t know that,” he said.
And that “threshold” is apparently even higher when it’s a President you support and are trying to protect from mounting criticism about the signature achievement of his presidency.
In the Times’ view, the President didn’t lie, he just said something that wasn’t true, over and over and over again.
Obama has surely met the Times’ threshold. Clearly he knew what he was saying was false, or else heads would be rolling of people in his administration who did know, and allowed him to continually say that “If you like your plan, you can keep it. Period.”