Sunday January 29, 2017

NPR Allows Libertarian to Prevaricate About Lies

The New York Times has a good piece on the front page of its Sunday edition, entitled ''Up Is Down': Trump's Unreality Show Echoes His Business Past,“ on all the lies coming out of the Trump administration in its first eight days in office. It's hardly news for anyone paying attention but it's a good compendium. Here's the lede:

As a businessman, Donald J. Trump was a serial fabulist whose biggest-best boasts about everything he touched routinely crumbled under the slightest scrutiny. As a candidate, Mr. Trump was a magical realist who made fantastical claims punctuated by his favorite verbal tic: ”Believe me.“

Yet even jaded connoisseurs of Oval Office dissembling were astonished over the last week by the torrent of bogus claims that gushed from President Trump during his first days in office.

And here's Steve Schmidt, John McCain's 2008 campaign manager, on the dangers of Trump's blantant lies for representative democracy: 

In a democratic government, there must be truth in order to hold elected officials accountable to their sovereign, which is the people,” Mr. Schmidt said. “All authoritarian societies are built on a foundation of lies and alternative facts, and what is true is what the leader believes, or what is best for the state.

Also this morning, NPR did a piece on Trump's lies but from the perspective of David Harsanyi, a libertarian-conservative writer for The Federalist. His take? Report all the lies. Did he mean Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and Chuck Schumer? Maybe. But his example involved the most famous broken promise of Barack Obama. 

In the 4-minute segment, two lies are mentioned: Donald Trump's insistence that his inauguration numbers were higher than has been reported by everyone else, and Barack Obama's 2009 comment on the ACA that ”If you like your health care plan, you can keep it," which PolitiFact called the No. 1 lie of 2013. That's it. Those two.

See, everyone lies. And really, Obama's was more substantative. It affected all of us, it wasn't just ego-driven like Trump's. 

It's beyond the false equivalency, and the refusal to acknowledge the new, dangerously 1984 territory we're in. I would've liked it if host Lulu Garcia-Navarro had simply drilled down into what was a lie and what wasn't. Was Obama's a lie? Or was it a promise that didn't pan out? And what's the difference? Does intent matter? You say something you know to be untrue at the time you say it. In this regard, you might even say Donald Trump's lies aren't lies since he may believe what he says. Which would be worse, of course, since they would indicate a diseased mind in control of America's nuclear arsenal. Not to mention its armed forces.

At least this time around, NPR let us know its guest was a conservative. Unmentioned were the books Harsanyi has written. Among them:

  • Obama's Four Horsemen: The Disasters Unleashed by Obama's Reelection (2013)
  • The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy (2014)

Remember those disasters unleashed by Obama's reelection? No? So are these lies? Or are they simply wrong?

Posted at 09:29 AM on Sunday January 29, 2017 in category Media  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard