On Trump Lies by Spencer Black

~ T. Rump, Trump By Trump  – 1-2017

ON TRUMP LIES by Spencer Black:

I don’t think I’ve ever watched a reality TV show. In fact, my wife jokes that our television set must be broken because it only seems to receive sports programming. Nevertheless, I know that Donald Trump gained much of his notoriety hosting “The Apprentice.”

There’s another popular reality show called “America’s Biggest Loser” in which overweight contestants compete to see who can shed the most excess poundage.

Donald Trump now seems to be starring in a variant of that show. Call it “America’s Biggest Liar.”

Trump lies with breathtaking frequency. We’re not talking about the occasional fudge or dodge or different interpretation of data. This is straight-out statements of demonstrably proven falsehood. It happens so often and so blatantly that it seems to be a conscious strategy of the Trump administration to overwhelm the public with so many lies that they will become accustomed to dishonesty from the nation’s top official.

It calls to mind the approach of the Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels who infamously said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it the people will eventually come to believe it.”

Trump’s top spokesperson, the ubiquitous Kellyanne Conway, said as much when she stated the lies of an administration spokesman about the sparse crowds at the inauguration were “alternative facts.” To his credit, displaying a backbone not enough journalists have shown recently, Chuck Todd replied: “Look, alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods.”

Consider just the obvious and easily disproven lies that Trump said in his first three days in office. He went to the CIA and said the press invented the feud between him and the intelligence community, when he had in fact repeatedly attacked them. Then he claimed the inauguration crowds were the biggest ever, even though pictures clearly showed that they were quite small compared to previous inaugurations. In fact, one of the first acts of his administration was to censor the National Park Service’s Twitter feed (the Park Service is responsible for the Capitol Mall where the inaugural crowd gathered) because they showed aerial pictures of the poor attendance at Trump’s inauguration.

That was just the beginning. On his first working day in the White House, a headline in the nation’s leading newspaper read “Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote in Meeting With Lawmakers.” In that instance Trump claimed, with no facts or substantiation, that his 3 million vote loss in the popular vote was because between 3 million and 5 million unauthorized immigrants voted for Clinton. The New York Times noted: “Voting officials across the country have said there is virtually no evidence of people voting illegally.”

The same day, Trump met with business leaders and vowed to get rid of many regulations that protect our air and water. Defending himself against potential charges that he was unconcerned about our environment, he lied again, saying: “I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment. I have received awards on the environment.” The Washington Post fact-checked this statement and reported that it was untrue: “We could not readily find references to Trump’s environmental awards in news coverage over the past 10 years. … In fact, environmentalists have criticized many of Trump’s projects.”

A Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star, compiled a list of 494 falsehoods Trump said during his campaign. (Why didn’t an American newspaper do that?) What we are seeing is a pattern of lies constituting a cynical strategy of constant deception aimed at devaluing the importance of truth in public discourse.

An American president’s biggest asset should be credibility. Donald Trump has none. He’s America’s Biggest Liar.

Spencer Black represented the 77th Assembly District for 26 years and was chair of the Natural Resources Committee. He currently serves as the vice president of the national Sierra Club and is an adjunct professor of urban and regional planning at UW-Madison.

 

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