Truth is the main
casualty in GOP
Donald Trump has a big problem with the truth. So do his supporters.
That an ignorant demagogue is now the presumptive leader of a major US political party speaks loudly about the voters who put him there.
There are none so blind as those who willfully won’t see.
Donald Trump has succeeded in making ignorance a virtue. Those who support him clearly agree.
No one can convincingly predict anything about a Trump presidency; his major selling point is his unpredictability. Apparently this is OK with his supporters, who are oblivious to his frequent self-contradictions, outright lies and bogus claims about all sorts of settled issues.
This is a remarkable – and frightening – reflection on the state of America’s broken political system. It’s also an indictment of many journalists who’ve failed to call out the lies when they hear them.
One need not look very far to find evidence of the massive lies spewing forth from the Republican nominee for president.
The Pulitzer prize winning site Politifact (a project of the Tampa Bay Times) is a widely respected monitor of candidates’ claims.
In it’s latest update Fact-checking the 2016 GOP presidential candidates the truth could not be more clear.
MSNBC stamped Trump’s statements as “false” but did anyone hear?
Out of 137 statements made by Trump only three are rated true with another nine mostly true. Ignoring the half-truths, 104 statements are rated mostly false, false, or pants-on-fire (their worst rating).
This does not include the total gibberish that sometimes comes out of his mouth as when he accused Hillary Clinton of playing the “women card” or saying he will slap a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports – as if Congress has no say in the matter.
On its site Factcheck.org the Annenberg Public Policy center lists a litany of Trump’s claims that don’t hold up to even the slightest scrutiny.
On his foreign policy speech it debunks his claim that “now ISIS is making millions and millions of dollars a week selling Libya oil.” This one was simply made up of whole cloth.
“Trump also repeated false and misleading claims that we have vetted before on the NAFTA pact, Iraq War and the U.S. trade deficit,” the group reports.
In giving Trump the Lie of the Year award for 2015, Poltifiact couldn’t settle on one whopper but found that three-quarters of the claims they examined were mostly false, totally false or pants-on-fire.
“Donald Trump doesn’t let facts slow him down. Bending the truth or being unhampered by accuracy is a strategy he has followed for years,” they report.
It not as if several credible media outlets have not called Trump out on his lies. They have. There is ample evidence of this.
The Politico story on Trump’s self-contradictions used his own words against him.
Just this week Politico published a long list of Trump statements contradicting his own previous claims in Donald Trump’s Greatest Self-Contradictions
It would be farcical if it were not tragic.
“In a world where candidates have lost elections over a single flip-flop, Trump has turned the self-contradiction into an art form,” the report notes in the lead-in.
Perusing the list culled from many sources including Trump’s own books, one is left with only one conclusion: Trump simply disdains the truth. He spouts whatever comes to mind at the moment. Perhaps that is too generous; little of what he says evidences any prior thoughtful consideration at all. His mouth moves much faster than his brain.
There was a time those seeking the highest office in the country would be held to account for speaking the truth – or not.
This year, however, more than 10 million voters either don’t know or don’t care about Trump’s brazen disregard for the truth.
At least part of the blame must go to journalists – especially those on television – who have repeatedly allowed Trump to get away with gross untruths without calling him on them.
This was made clear in the recent Washington Post story Few stand in Trump’s way as he piles up the Four-Pinocchio whoppers
“Trump makes Four-Pinocchio statements over and over again, even though fact checkers have demonstrated them to be false. He appears to care little about the facts; his staff does not even bother to respond to fact-checking inquiries,” the Post reported.
The online version of the Fact Checker keeps a running list of Trump’s Four-Pinocchio statements. “He now has 26, which accounts for nearly 70 percent of Trump’s statements that have been fact checked,” the report says.
There is something deeply troubling about this phenomenon. Our society is based on trust. We trust banks to look after our money, doctors to prescribe the correct treatment, the media to do their best to tell the truth.
Indeed our political history has been littered with presidents who lied us into war, or hid it when we were losing one, or made deceptive statements about their private lives.
It seems as if a sizable chunk of American voters has no problem with a presidential candidate who is such a proven liar. If it is OK to lie one’s way into the Oval Office, what possible assurance could we have that the president will tell the truth once there?
None at all
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