Saturday, May 26, 2018

When Trump Speaks or Writes, Figure Out the Lies First. Then Call It Like It Is.

We've spent days letting Trump control the agenda with his daily splash of lies. It has to stop.

Paul Waldman gets it:
You may have noticed that today’s news is not dominated by the blockbuster revelations of what members of Congress learned yesterday when they met with Justice Department officials to review information about the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, specifically the bureau’s use of a confidential informant who contacted Trump campaign officials after learning of suspicious links involving Russia.

Why is it that the results of that highly unusual meeting (two meetings, actually) are not splashed across every front page and dominating every minute of cable news today? Because the whole thing was a farce, and it didn’t give Republicans what they were hoping for.

This reveals the absurd pattern we’ve fallen into. It goes like this: President Trump makes a ridiculous accusation that almost everyone immediately understands to be false. Then we in the media, because it’s the president, treat that accusation as though it’s something that has to be taken seriously. Then governmental resources are mustered to deal with the accusation. Then Republicans try to twist the mobilization of those resources to give them the answer they’re seeking. But because it’s all based on a lie, they fail once Democrats force some measure of truth to be revealed.
This pattern has to stop. When Trump lies, just report the lie. Then follow up with "We have no reason to take Trump seriously." The press must not say things like "Trump claims [fill in lie]..." followed by reaction around the political sphere. Just say, "There he goes again. We cannot follow up on lies. We await a factual statement on the matter."

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