At Least Choose Better Lies

For a guy whose obsession with “the best” and “the greatest,” President Donald Trump demonstrates a shockingly poor sense of selectivity when it comes to bald-faced lies. It would be easy to dismiss his behavior as compulsive or reactionary, off-the-cuff denials and distractions wrought by an egocentric blowhard, but this latest in a long line of flamboyant humdingers is no spontaneous misrepresentation, no middle-of-the-night twitter ejaculation.

When White House Spokesman Sean Spicer strutted to the podium and proceeded to not only angrily insist on a string of easily debunked untruths, but to lash at the media for fairly and accurately reporting facts, we witnessed a step towards Orwellian newspeak which, frankly, surprised even a cynical old bastard like me for its venom as well as its brazenness. I’d be impressed, if it wasn’t so insulting.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/21/media/sean-spicer-press-secretary-statement/index.html?sr=twCNN012117ean-spicer-press-secretary-statement%2Findex.html1126PMStoryLink&linkId=33646406

The question of the moment is: why lie about this?  Of all things, why, with so many witnesses, and so much documented video, so many images, choose this issue to squander the Trump  adopt the angry defense of a blatantly and easily debunked untruth? It is troubling to consider what else they might lie about, when they cling so tenaciously to something so small and petty.

A few pundits have speculated that these responses–doubling down on obvious lies–is part of a calculated strategy to systematically undermine non-partisan journalism in America, so that when Trump and his band of flying monkeys wreak truly horrible and heinous acts upon our nation the seed of skepticism has been thickly sewn, at least among his unquestioning followers. My college-age daughter observed that her twitter feed was aflame with accusations of media duplicity regarding the inaugural crowds, not to mention a throbbing anger at the audacity of the Women’s March on Washington. Her followers, a notoriously non-selective cross section of former classmates, athletic competitors, acquaintances and friends of friends collection that, by definition, amounts to a pretty broad cross-section of America, with a slightly Trumpish tilt (we live in The Thunderdome, after all), but the gullibility and/or headstrong denial in those voices is chilling. By extension, the “undermine the media” motive must be considered.

Perhaps I’m naive? I don’t believe in vast conspiracies. Small secrets on a broad scale are common enough, but the idea that a group as broad, independent, and accomplishment-driven as “the mainstream media” could perpetuate a vast conspiracy against any public figure is just absurd. These people, after all, are driven by the goal of out-truthing each other. It is an industry defined by “scoops” and it would take just a single reporter to blow the entire deal. The greater point of this argument is that Trump is so incapable of introspection that he cannot see how his own behavior is rallying the media against him, and so paranoid that he thinks conspiracy lurks around every corner. And we won’t mention the old maxim my grandmother taught me about pots calling kettles black–Trump sees duplicity because he bathes in the stuff.

Ultimately, I suspect that what is truly at work here is nothing more than externally-enabled full-blown narcissism. It is so important to Trump that he be the biggest and the greatest and best-est and the most-est that he has no reservations about sending his mouthpieces into the glare of the spotlights with simple instructions: lie! He wouldn’t be the first. The Neo-Conservative movement at its heyday was famous for the mantra of eschewing “reality-based politics,” a stratagem that advocates should talk about the world as they want it to be, not as it actually was. In short, tell the lie and deny the truth long enough and eventually the lie becomes the truth.

It is a powerful and effective tool. Minds are malleable, and Trump knows this. What will matter, in the end, is whether or not the frustration of those who are opposed to Trump becomes stronger than the dogged determination of his supporters, enablers, and lackeys to swallow whatever buffalo patties he drops in our way. And what of his credibility, and that of our nation as a whole. Allies and adversaries alike are watching and will judge him accordingly. His behavior–whether today’s senseless and petty lies, or his history of broken contracts, bullying, and strategic manipulation demonstrated as an unscrupulous real estate developer, will color treaties and deals and all comers fully understand that this is a man whose word means nothing.

 

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About JunkChuck

Native, Militant Westsylvanian (the first last best place), laborer, gardener, and literary hobbyist (if by literary you mean "hack"). I've had a bunch of different blogs, probably four, due to a recurring compulsion to start over. This incarnation owes to a desire to dredge up the best entries of the worst little book of hand-scrawled poems I could ever dream of writing, salvageable excerpts from fiction both in progress and long-abandoned. and a smattering of whatever the hell seems to fit at any particular moment. At first blush, I was here just to focus on old, terrible verse, but I reserve the right to include...anything. Maybe everything, certainly my love of pulp novels growing garlic, the Pittsburgh Steelers and howling at the moon--both figuratively and, on rare occasions, literally.
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6 Responses to At Least Choose Better Lies

  1. kingmidget says:

    I follow one or two right-wing blogs. The main one I read on a daily basis is PowerLine. Since the election, they have become a moutpiece for everything Trump. Barely questioning anything he has done or said in the last two and a half months. They have a post up now that raises questions about the media’s portrayal of the inauguration crowd. It includes pictures the author suggests support Trump’s claims. Nowhere does it make reference to the fact that almost every “fact” Spicer cited in support of their outrage was actually not a fact.

    And then when you read the comments on that post and just about every other post on PowerLine, you realize there are a lot of people out there who have already bought into the idea that the mainstream media is biased and corrupt and regularly and intentionally lies and distorts in pursuit of a political agenda. And Trump is playing to that crowd. He is seeking to destroy the “mainstream media.” Whatever that thing might actually be. We all need to remember who his chief strategist is — Steve Bannon, a media outsider who wants to destroy the conventional media.

    It doesn’t matter how insignificant the issue is, if they spot something they can turn into a propaganda hit on the mainstream media, they will. And the crowd they are playing to will eat it up.

    The biggest problem is that because of this, the “mainstream media” needs to up its game. It needs to make sure it is accurate and complete and fact-based. I’m not sure they’re up to the task.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve myers says:

    It’s also possibly a distraction from whatever real destructive policy they’re implementing in the wee hours.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Romy says:

    Absolutely!

    Like

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