OK

Writers and commentarians in the close orbit of "real" media are asking, more and more frequently, questions like "What Will Force the Media to Expose Romney & Ryan's Lies?"

What they, and we, are really asking the titans of media (Gray Ladies, peacocks, unblinking eyes, etc.) is, "Why can't you just say the word 'lie?'"

I don't pretend to know all the intricacies of politeness-for-access and corporate conflicts of interest, though I assume they contribute to this reticence.

But I am familiar with liars, the truly consistent, compulsive kind that are often called "pathological" (though I don't pretend sufficient expertise in psychology to parse that, either). And I know how hard it can be to cross that line, to bestow the permanent and inescapable title on someone. It feels wrong to withdraw forever one's trust from another, to write off a person as never to be believed.

Still, sometimes, in business or friendship or even family, the step must be taken. When someone you care about or respect (or even simply wish to respect) displays over and over again a willingness or compulsion to tell untruths for personal gain or prestige or for no discernible reason whatsoever, there comes a time when you must add that person's name to the "never to be trusted on any subject" list.

That time has arrived. The scarlet letter must be hung and the iron heated for the branding. There is no longer a doubt in which to find benefit.

Mitt Romney lies and has lied from the very first day of his campaign ("apology tour," anyone?). And there is only one proper title for one who will and does lie at every opportunity, even when the truth might better serve.

Mr. Williams, Mr. Pelley, Ms Sawyer, et. al., you know the word and you know it is true and that it is news, not opinion. It's time to call it.

Don't worry about shocking us. We know already.

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