New York Times Can't Quite Bring Itself to Call Liar a Liar

Paul Browne, the NYPD's longtime spokesman, is retiring. It is a well-established and irrefutable fact that Paul Browne is a liar. The New York Times knows this. They'll even write about it. They just can't come right out and say it.

Nobody knows that Paul Browne is a liar better than New York Times "Gotham" columnist Michael Powell, a veteran of the NYC police beat. In fact, Michael Powell knows this fact so well that he dedicated his entire column to pointing out that Paul Browne is a liar, contrasting him with other spokespersons who are not liars, and detailing the various instances in which Paul Browne has been shown to be a liar. It just seems like there's one thing missing...

The headline on Powell's story: "Shades of the Truth From the Police."

But he too often engaged in unwise spokesman behavior, which is to say he shaded the truth, and more than once...

Mr. Browne offered a variant on up is down...

In each case, Mr. Browne betrayed little doubt — he offered as fact what proved to be flatly wrong...

He went through my bill of indictment, calmly disputing that he had bent the truth.

If only there were some word that could directly and accurately convey what the New York Times is striving to mightily to say here without actually coming out and saying it due to institutional shyness over using such a direct and accurate word.

[Here you will find a Twitter argument on this topic. Photo: AP]