Counting lies: How Obama deepens distrust in the presidency

Too often, the Obama administration has peddled bad information – knowingly (a lie) and unknowingly (incompetence and recklessness), because the president and his team have determined that, in Washington’s toxic environment, the unmitigated truth is a vulnerability. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Obama’s apologists will accuse Lewis and me of “false equivalence.” They will say, correctly, that there is no comparison between Bush-era deceptions that dragged a country into war and the worst of Obama’s distortions. They miss the point.

A president doesn’t build trust by being dishonest about lesser events than his predecessor. Authentic leaders don’t parse wrongdoing; they avoid it and own up to it. Two wrongs don’t make a right on your child’s playground; why should it be okay at your White House? The point is to remind the nation’s leaders – heads of every institution, including government and the media – that any breach of trust frays the social fabric.