The Presidential Assault on Truth

It seems that many would like to equate the recent deluge of stories that appear to be anti-Trump as a more petulant version of the standard out-group response to a presidential election. The out-group is called snowflakes and told to just get over it, and the media is demonized for its role in this unwarranted divisiveness.

This is a complete misrepresentation of what is actually happening.

For a moment, let’s deal with the reality that we have become very divided along partisan lines. People who wish to see the same general end state can have honest disagreements about the policies and programs best suited to achieving that end state, and sometimes those disagreements can get out of hand. Becoming too ensconced in your own ideology can be a serious impediment to meaningful conversation and compromise.

That isn’t the case here.

This situation is abnormal. Our President, and many of his senior advisors and surrogates, have a serious issue with facts. We have recently written about this misinformation campaign, and it is important that we understand that this more than the typical spin, and far more than disagreement over policy. This is an administration that systematically lies about nearly everything – whether of consequence or not – and then attacks the institutions designed to keep those lies in check.

The anti-media campaign is operating at maximum capacity right now, and we have to continue to call attention to it. At a press conference today, President Trump matter-of-factly told the press corps that they are “dishonest people,” while continuing to spin lies about his margin of victory and the recently revealed information about Mike Flynn’s communication with the Russian government, among other things. (See CNN’s list of most memorable lines from the press conference.)

Trump is also becoming more combative with the Intelligence Community, apparently preparing to appoint a billionaire loyalist “to lead a broad review of American intelligence agencies,” as reported by the New York Times. This is extraordinarily problematic, as the individual has absolutely no experience in intelligence and would very likely serve the function of ensuring the IC agencies align their intelligence strictly to administration goals.

The free press is a cornerstone of the American ideal of a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” holding the people in power accountable for their words and actions. The IC agencies, though government bodies under the executive, are in place to give the government factual information upon which to base far-reaching policy decisions. He has also recently taken to attacking members of the judiciary, whose constitutionally established purpose is to ensure the executive and legislative branches stay within their constitutional limitations. Trump’s efforts to undermine the credibility of each of these institutions while simultaneously using social media to promulgate fabrications directly to the citizenry is dangerous. Trump, along with his cohorts, is attempting to create a situation where his administration is the sole source of credible information. This concentrated control of information within one man is the gateway to a totalitarian state.

We must therefor be relentless in identifying the lies of this administration, and hold those who promote them accountable. We must also avoid euphemisms for lying. They aren’t misrepresentations, or alternative facts, or spin. These blatantly factually incorrect assertions are lies, and we must simply call them lies.

And right now, unfortunately, our President is a liar.


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