At the top of the Washington Post’s website, a day after the second Trump-Biden presidential campaign debate, is a story entitled, “Trump seeks momentum from debate while Biden focuses on pandemic.” Read it and you’ll see a classic example of political coverage: an insider compendium that seeks to frame the debate’s impact on the race.

Washington Post home page

This story has a hollow core: empty space surrounded by the oh-so-savvy insider-isms that political journalists can’t resist. (Yes, it’s also a horse-race story, but at this point in the political cycle, that’s probably appropriate.)

The hole in this story is ignoring the central feature of the debate, which is not that the president’s overt behavior was slightly less obnoxious than during the first face-off with Biden. No, the central reality was that Trump lied incessantly and brazenly, spewing deceit about every topic that came up during the 90-minute TV event.

You won’t find the word “lie” in the piece, of course. Big Journalism does carnival-quality contortions to avoid using that clear and — in Trump’s case — plainly accurate word. Big Journalism only resorts to it when something the president’s standard-issue deceit rises to a level of brazenness that even timid news organization’s can’t justify a tamer word.

But “lie” isn’t the only missing word. So are “false” and “deceive” and “untrue” and, as far as I can tell, any other word that might even hint at the fountain of deceit that erupted — as usual — from the president of the United States.

That may account for the missing context in the Post’s story. Journalists have thoroughly normalized Trump’s lying. So perhaps it didn’t occur to the team of reporters to mention that central reality of the debate — nor, maybe worse, to their editors who put the story at the top of their home page.

Perhaps they assumed all readers already understood the context. I do note, meanwhile, that the Post featured a story — right next to this one on the home page — on one of Trump’s repeatedly told lies.

But very few people will see the Post story in that context, because most people arrive at story pages via social media and other links. And when they read this horse-race special, they won’t be reminded of the core reality of Donald Trump: his relentless, malign deceit during the event the story was covering. Journalism should be better than this.

WordPress has just added a feature to its blogging software that, in theory, looks like a winner. It’s supposed to break up blog posts that are longer than the 280 characters allowed in individual tweets (almost there…) into threads. And, according to the company that makes this software, it will do so in an elegant fashion. So let’s see.

The first issue, and nearly a showstopper, is that I’m required to use the “blocks” editing system that WordPress has been pushing on its users for a while now. I’m totally accustomed to the old system’s simple editor, which lets me focus on the words and, when I need to, drop an image into the post. But I’m an old, unreconstructed blogger from ancient times, as we like to refer to the years from 1999 to roughly 2010, when social media became, more and more, the primary outlet for a lot of us.

I started this post with a screen shot from Twitter (actually TweetDeck), reduced slightly and embedded into the post. I’m not sure how it’s going to look yet in Twitter, but it looks OK in WP for the moment.

I’m going to click the JetPack link in the upper right to see how the Twitter integration works. (It was already working well for posting single tweets.) I see that it gives me some useful options, not least a) a way to customize the introduction message; and b) decide whether to post the entire thread on Twitter or simply link to this post there. (I’d like the option to forego the introductory tweet and just post the thread directly.)

When I preview the thread I see that WordPress often, but not always, breaks up the post into single sentences from the blog post. That’s not optimal, but I can understand the logic.

It also lets me edit where those breaks will not occur — I don’t see a way to force a break. That’s not ideal. I tried it and some of the breaks further down got wonky.

I’d also like to have WP automatically put in indicators of where I am in the thread, e.g. 1/x, 2/x, 3/x…10/end to give a reader a better indication of where the particular tweet comes in the sequence, and to be another alert that it’s part of a thread or, if I get ambitious, a tweetstorm.

Whoops, I see in the last one that it broke in the middle of the sentence, adding ellipses at the end of one tweet and the beginning of the next one. So much for my theory that it does complete sentences.

This seems to work pretty well, overall. I’m planning to give it more of a workout soon.