Lies, damned lies, and Trump


The Washington Post provided editorial space to Donald Trump on Sunday for his alternative facts propaganda and egomaniacal self-aggrandizement. President Trump: In my first 100 days, I kept my promise to Americans.

This is no way close to being true.

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post again provides an annotated version of Trump’s op-ed to provide context and a healthy dose of reality. Trump’s glowing op-ed about his first 100 days, with some badly needed context. Click on the yellow highlight’s for Blake’s annotations.

The Washington Post fact checkers write, President Trump’s first 100 days: The fact check tally:

President Trump is the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered. He earned 59 Four-Pinocchio ratings during his campaign as president. Since then, he’s earned 16 more Four-Pinocchio ratings.

But those numbers obscure the fact that the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up. The president’s speeches and interviews are so chock full of false and misleading claims that The Fact Checker often must resort to roundups that offer a brief summary of the facts that the president has gotten wrong.

As part of our coverage of the president’s first 100 days, The Fact Checker team (along with Leslie Shapiro and Kaeti Hinck of the Post graphics department) produced an interactive graphic that displayed a running list of every false or misleading statement made by the president. We also catalogued the president’s many flip-flops, since those earn Upside-Down Pinocchios if a politician shifts position on an issue without acknowledging he or she did so.

So here are the numbers for the president’s first 100 days.

488: The number of false or misleading claims made by the president. That’s an average of 4.9 claims a day.
10: Number of days without a single false claim. (On six of those days, the president golfed at a Trump property.)
4: Number of days with 20 or more false claims. (Feb. 16, Feb. 28, March 20 and April 21.) He made 19 false claims on April 29, his 100th day, though we did not include his interview with “Face the Nation,” since that aired April 30.

While the president is known to make outrageous claims on Twitter — and that was certainly a major source of his falsehoods — he made most of his false statements in unscripted remarks before reporters. (Interviews were another major source of false claims.) That’s because the president would rely on talking points or assertions that he had made in the past — and continued to make, even though they had been fact-checked as wrong.

This makes Trump somewhat unique among politicians. Many will drop a false claim after it has been deemed false. But Trump just repeats the same claim over and over.

In particular, the president repeatedly took credit for events or business decisions that happened before he took the oath of office — or had even been elected.

* * *

Judging from Trump’s repeated false claims, one would think that he is not a regular reader. But on March 21, Trump remarked that the news media was too judgmental about his statements. “If it’s off by 100th of a percent, it’s like I end up getting Pinocchios,” he said.

That’s a start. Hope springs eternal.

Sorry fact checkers, Trump doesn’t care. Constant repetition of false claims is how the big lie propaganda technique works, and he is doing this with deliberate intent. This is not a flaw but a feature.

The New York Times fact checker adds, Fact Check: Trump’s Account of His First 100 Days in Office: On his 100th day in office, President Trump offered familiar misleading defenses and boasts about his early progress.

If a pathological liar is permitted to “normalize” big lie propaganda and a large enough percentage of American voters simply don’t care that Trump is lying to them — see the recent ABC News poll: ABC NEWS POLL FINDS 96 PERCENT OF TRUMP VOTERS SAY THEY’D DO IT AGAIN — out of party tribalism, white identity politics or a celebrity cult of personality that Trump has built up over years of appearing on television (fake wrestling, Miss Universe pageant, “reality” TV show, Obama Birther, etc.), then this country is in serious trouble. This is how authoritarians rise to power and democracies die.


  1. As a recovering Libertarian, I find liberals to be very interested in facts, and in challenging their own beliefs. It was inconstancies in my own beliefs that led me to question them, which led me to a progressive viewpoint.

    I find my Tea Party and traditional GOP friends and family to be set in their ways.

    From Alternate:

    “Over a dozen different studies have come to the same conclusion: liberals and conservatives are simply wired differently. The differences are numerous, from sleep patterns (liberals have zanier dreams and more fitful sleep) to conflict resolution (progressives are more likely to alter their behavior in response to cues) to social judgments (conservatives show more brain activity in making complex social evaluations.)

    But by far the biggest and most often-studied difference between the conservative and liberal brain is their response to stimuli invoking fear and disgust. Conservatives tend to react much more viscerally to negative stimuli than do liberals, and they are likelier to interpret new information as having a negative or dangerous effect on their lives.”

    I do not think these brain differences show one side is right or wrong, but it’s helpful in understand the Trump voter.

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