It took a Canadian to call out how our mainstream media is failing us.
Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star Daniel Dale observed how our media fails to even mention Trump’s lies.
This omission, in both local and national news, is the reason I started listing his lies in 2016. And it persists. Most of the rally coverage is still “Trump speaks to big excited crowd, insults X and Y, talks policy Z.” “Trump says 24 untrue things” goes entirely unmentioned. https://t.co/uPtJjCEIv0
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) April 28, 2019
Here are some very typical examples from last night: pic.twitter.com/Aj5t8tJDzL
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) April 28, 2019
Of course, many of us have noted this problem, chiefly Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, who stays on this topic with the concentration it deserves. Sargent noted the distinction between what Trump does and a regular lie, “The key point here is that Trump is not engaged in conventional lying. He’s engaged in spreading disinformation.”
Sargent wrote in his book “An Uncivil War: Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics” that Trump uses his insistence on asserting his false version of reality as a power play, “Trump isn’t trying to persuade anyone to believe his lies as much as he’s trying to render factual reality irrelevant — thus reducing the pursuit of agreement on it to just another part of the media circus in which he thrives.”
In the age of Trump, Glenn Kessler introduced a new category of political lies called the “Bottomless Pinocchio,” which he describes as “The president keeps going long after the facts are clear, in what appears to be a deliberate effort to replace the truth with his own, far more favorable, version of it. He is not merely making gaffes or misstating things, he is purposely injecting false information into the national conversation.”
Matt Fuller also noted it:
When Trump tells blatant lies or admits potentially illegal conspiracies, it doesn’t even get mentioned on local news.
That’s a failure.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) April 28, 2019
I have noted the mainstream tendency to put the White House claim in the headline. This is what most journalists do. It’s what we have done here out of habit at times, and because it used to be that when the White House told you about an agreement or discussion or policy, you could take it at its word with the caveat that they were spinning it politically.
Although even with President Obama, we fact-checked their claims. The glaring difference between the light spin buried in erudite deep dives of the Obama administration and the glaring, outright propaganda level deception of the Trump White House is alarming. It’s so big that there is no way to convey the lies. The lies are a power grab in and of themselves, and the mainstream media is eating it up, often using it to drum up business by having one of Trump’s Chief Liars on to interview, as if there were any information to be gleaned from doing so.
The President is now telling an average of 57 lies a day, according to an analysis of the Washington Post fact checker column.
When the New York Times used the distanced, pathetic phrase “an inaccurate refrain” in a tweet to describe Trump’s daily tidal wave of filth and 100% lies, it told the broader story. These folks who have branded themselves the real” news are actually often delivering dangerously dishonest, Trump-spun news.
On top of the lies, though, is the hate directed consistently at certain “opponents” like anyone carrying the torch for the truth.
Vox noted, “The irony is that on Saturday night, as always, the media was one of Trump’s foremost targets of abuse — yet the very outlets Trump demeans continue to bend over backward to cover him in the most favorable possible light.”
This is because…
Trump is the best cash for mainstream media they’ve ever seen. They are rolling in it. They are growing by huge numbers as they’ve trained people to trust only them.
Kind of like Fox News, and ironically, even with all of the investigative reporting into this President, they’ve still managed to keep access to him and they do this the only way possible – with the kid glove reporting on his hatred and lies.
Trump is a money maker every day. He’s never a boring policy wonk dealing with things like making healthcare available for those whose job doesn’t offer it and those with small businesses like Obama did. He’s never nattering away about making childcare more affordable like Clinton did.
Trump is The Big Show. The Pomp and Circumstance. The Circus. He Pays Big Money and He Knows It.
Trump beats up certain media outlets and they act all troubled by it and then invite Kellyanne Conway on to lie, knowing she is going to lie to you.
Rachel Maddow is one of the few who got this right because she refuses to roll tape of this president speaking. Some of us can’t afford to do that, because we will be accused of being f*ke news unless we prove that he actually said the horrible thing we are covering.
Meanwhile, Google is using their domination of the ad platform to cut their payout to smaller publishers so that what will soon be left is this chorus of Trump administration cheerleaders who, as but one example, report what the administration told them about Syria, instead of what people on the ground say about Syria.
It’s confounding and incredible to watch so many entities with power work to protect Donald Trump, careless or perhaps indifferent to the real dangers he represents to the average person in this country.
Our country is sliding toward territory unexpected and unforeseen, and it’s being aided and assisted and indeed almost deliberately delivered to the overseer of propaganda and destroyer of the democracy upon which this country was founded.
Trump lies so much he spins the world upside down every day. He does this deliberately, to disorient people, and in that blank space where they’ve gone to restore their sanity, he grabs more power.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.