Saturday, September 24, 2016

Why the Media Must Call Donald Trump a Liar

The news isn't that Trump's opinions are different from ours. It's that his facts are.

I know, name-calling is wrong, but this is one lying motherfucker.

After the birther fiasco perpetrated by Donald Trump -- where he called a press conference only to promote his new hotel, and himself -- the news media finally popped a fuse. It may be too little too late, but it's still welcome.

The outlet to really make a "Trump's a liar" splash was the New York Times. Here's the Times today:
All politicians bend the truth to fit their purposes, including Hillary Clinton. But Donald J. Trump has unleashed a blizzard of falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies in the general election, peppering his speeches, interviews and Twitter posts with untruths so frequent that they can seem flighty or random — even compulsive.
However, a closer examination, over the course of a week, revealed an unmistakable pattern: Virtually all of Mr. Trump’s falsehoods directly bolstered a powerful and self-aggrandizing narrative depicting him as a heroic savior for a nation menaced from every direction. Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, described the practice as creating “an unreality bubble that he surrounds himself with.”
Good grief.

Slate has an article on why the Times decided call out Lyin' Donald Trump:
Were you part of the debate over whether to use the word lie in the paper?
Absolutely, and not only the discussion about using it, which I completely supported. Carolyn Ryan and Michael Barbaro, the editor and the reporter on the story, came to me and said, “We think this is the moment, and we want to write this.” I made the decision to make it the lead story, but they came to me and said, “Here’s the story we want to write,” and they described the story. Carolyn even said to me, “We want to put lie in the headline, are you comfortable with that,” and I said, “yeah, absolutely.”
You said you didn’t decide what was on the front page, and you—
Except in extraordinary cases. This was extraordinary.
Yes, the pure mendacity of Donald Trump is extraordinary.

PolitiFact has the graphs. WaPo Fact Checker has the count. Hillary Clinton drops a prebuttal on Trump at her website. Her hope, I'd imagine, is that moderators and reporters might study up on his lies. We can bet Hillary is working OT to memorize as many facts as possible in order to fact-check the Donald in real time.

It's going to be fascinating at the debate, just in the area of Trump's lies. Drinking game idea: a shot every time a Trump lie is challenged or debated. As Stephen Colbert might say: "Drunk in 30 minutes, or almost drunk in 30 minutes?"

Where do the candidates stand on "the truth?" Clinton is all for it, but Trump doesn't want fact-checking and has begun to warn the moderators, as in this Chicago Tribune article. The Trib falls solidly in favor of "the truth."
But the careful observer [of the review of Matt Lauer's town hall moderating] will note an important difference here. Many of those who criticized Lauer’s performance faulted him for failing to challenge Trump’s well-documented falsehoods in real time (in particular, his claim that he opposed the Iraq War). By contrast, Trump is telegraphing that his supporters will hammer the moderators if they do challenge his well-documented falsehoods in real time.
In other words, one side wants the moderators to hold the candidates accountable, and the other doesn’t. We can argue endlessly over whether those in the former camp are trying to game the debates so that Trump faces tougher questioning than Clinton. But the bottom line is that, given that it is simply true that Trump lies a lot more frequently, audaciously and egregiously than Clinton, and that it took many months before this was widely acknowledged in the press, most Clinton supporters would probably be just fine with equivalent treatment of both of their assertions at the debate, and if they aren’t, they should be.
Get the popcorn and the tequila ready. We're going to need it Monday.

Special Note for those who wonder if Trump can win (either the debate or the presidency): Read this column by Gail Collins:
What we have here is a candidate for president of the United States who makes stuff up all the time, but is either incapable of realizing that he’s telling a lie, or constitutionally unable to take blame for being untruthful.
Yet, according to the polls, Hillary Clinton’s biggest problem is that the public thinks she’s dishonest. Amazing.
Amazing indeed.

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