On his way to Saudi Arabia, Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wanted to make sure reporters properly contextualized the administration’s position on the region’s strife. So he gave them some earnest advice: When someone regularly lies, dear reporters, you need to tell your readers about that. Make sure the public knows they are liars.
“Whenever you report about them, and you say, ‘The Houthis said,’ you should say ‘The well known frequently lying Houthis have said the following.’ This is important because you ought not report them as if these truth-tellers, as if these are people who aren’t completely under the boot of the Iranians … […]
“So there you go, whenever you say Houthis, you should begin with ‘the well-known, frequently known to lie Houthis,’ and then you can write whatever it is they say. And that’d be good reporting (laughter) and I know you care deeply about that good reporting.”
Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is obviously right on this one, and it’s refreshing to see such a high-profile conservative Republican making the case that when reporting on lying liars who lie about everything, it’s important to make sure the public knows they are lying liars who lie about everything. It is, after all, a basic premise of journalism: You’re supposed to report what the truth is, not merely act as stenographer or adjunct propagandist for whichever malevolent, self-promoting, citrus-faced grifter is currently attempting to put one over on America for their own personal gain.
The national press really ought to take that advice seriously. He is asking you nicely, after all.