Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trump is the front runner to be the biggest presidential liar in U.S. history

NY Times      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 past week by the torrent of bogus claims that gushed from President Trump during his first days in office.

“We’ve never seen anything this bizarre in our lifetimes, where up is down and down is up and everything is in question and nothing is real,” said Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity and the author of “935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity,” a book about presidential deception.

It was not just Mr. Trump’s debunked claim about how many people attended his inauguration, or his insistence (contradicted by his own Twitter posts) that he had not feuded with the intelligence community, or his audacious and evidence-free claim that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote only because millions of people voted for her illegally.

All week long, news organizations chased down one Trump tall tale after another. PolitiFact, a website devoted to checking the veracity of claims by public officials, published 12 “of the most misleading claims” Mr. Trump made during his first White House interview. The Chicago Tribune found that Mr. Trump was incorrect when he claimed two people were shot and killed in Chicago the very hour President Barack Obama was there delivering his farewell address. (There were no shootings, police records showed.) The Philadelphia Inquirer found that Mr. Trump was incorrect when he said the city’s murder rate was “terribly increasing.” (The murder rate has steadily declined over the last decade.) The indefatigable fact checkers at The Washington Post cataloged 24 false or misleading statements made by the president during his first seven days in office.

But for students of Mr. Trump’s long business career, there was much about President Trump’s truth-mangling ways that was familiar: the mystifying false statements about seemingly trivial details, the rewriting of history to airbrush unwanted facts, the branding as liars those who point out his untruths, the deft conversion of demonstrably false claims into a semantic mush of unverifiable “beliefs.”

Mr. Trump’s falsehoods have long been viewed as a reflexive extension of his vanity, or as his method of compensating for deep-seated insecurities. But throughout his business career, Mr. Trump’s most noteworthy deceptions often did double duty, serving not just his ego but also important strategic goals. Mr. Trump’s habitually inflated claims about his wealth, for example, fed his self-proclaimed image of a business genius even as they attracted lucrative licensing deals built around the Trump brand.

Nearly 30 years ago, in his best-selling book “The Art of the Deal,” Mr. Trump memorably extolled the advantages of “truthful hyperbole,” which he described as “an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.” It is one thing when the hyperbole comes from a reality TV star exaggerating his ratings to a roomful of television critics. The stakes are infinitely higher when it comes from the leader of the free world, and this reality is provoking alarm from many across the political spectrum.[...]

“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.”

Mr. Lewis argued that the president’s untruths were a deliberate strategy to position the nation’s leading news organizations as the enemy of his administration. “Fact-checking becomes an act of war by the media,” he said.

Indeed, last Saturday, on Day 2 of his administration, Mr. Trump told hundreds of C.I.A. employees that he had “a running war with the media” and called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth.” The next day, his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, accused the news media of trying to “delegitimize” the new president and promised, “We are not going to sit around and let it happen.” By Wednesday, Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief White House strategist, was referring to the news media as “the opposition party” during an interview with The New York Times.

“It feels like this was part of the plan all along,” Mr. Lewis said.[...]

PolitiFact, for example, has scrutinized 356 specific claims by Mr. Trump and found that more than two-thirds of the claims were “mostly false,” “false” or, in 62 cases, “Pants on Fire” false.

“Trump is a different kind of figure than we’ve ever seen before in our 10 years of fact-checking,” Bill Adair, the creator of PolitiFact and a journalism professor at Duke University, said in an interview. “No one has come close to Trump in the high percentage of falsehoods.” [...]



  2. Cute, but all wrong. When Obama said that one would be able to keep his doctor, that was a promise. It is true that often in politics, politicians are not able to deliver on all they promise. But the analogue would be if after Obamacare was fully implemented, he would have said that every one had kept there doctors. Re. Benghazi, as has been pointed out countless times in countless forums, the video comment was a tentative report issued in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and was soon corrected by the administration. The ground troops in Iraq was also a campaign promise, which Obama largely fulfilled. And the Syria comment is also irrelevant, as the Republican-led Congress threatened him with impeachment if he were to act militarily in Syria without congressional approval, which they would not give.

  3. So let me see if I understand you fully: Obamacare , Iraq and Syria, which actually can have a profound effect on American lives, are merely promises, so they don't qualify as lies.

    Benghazi, which, although an indication that our intelligence services and the State Department failed miserably in their (by the way, the definition of the word "there" means "in that place"; the word "their" is used when one wishes to convey the concept of "belonging to them"; I have a high school diploma.). responsibility to protect our foreign consulates, was an honest mistake as in "Oops, my bad".Or as hapless Hillary declared. "At this point , what difference does it make?'

  4. His lies do have major significance to all Americans!

  5. I only use one moniker, and will enjoy the respite from your nonsense.

  6. Before Obamacare, Insurance companies routinely cancelled coverage and forced people to change doctors. The law did not totally abolish this but certainly didn't force insurance companies to do these things . An exception to this might be that it stimatised inadequate policies as not meeting the mandate. What President Obama did do was simplify a complicated proposition into a sound bite. Remember that he had to fight totally spurious claims of "death panels" , "government take over of the health care system", etc.

    By contrast, Trump lies not to simplify but to please his ego and deny reality. His only concern seems to be "Make Trump great"

  7. Let me see if I can help you understand:
    The ACA is a law that most Americans are in favor of, which has given coverage to over 20 million people who were previously not insured. True, it is not perfect, but that can largely be ascribed to the absolute refusal of the Republicans in Congress to allow any improvements to it, because they would rather have Americans become sick and die than give Obama a legislative victory.

    Benghazi was a tragic event. It was many orders of magnitude less tragic than the Beirut bombing under Reagan. And that was many orders of magnitude less tragic than 9/11, under Bush. In the hours following the Benghazi attack, the State Department was given information that it was connected to the YouTube video. The next day, they modified that assessment. You are taking Clinton's line out of context, as anyone with Google can determine in 5 seconds. So I am not sure what your point is.

    And yes, Trump's statements are lies, and obvious ones at that. As I have noted elsewhere, in this particular context they are not important, but they are indicative of an inability to accept any reality that does not accord with his view of the world, and that is important.

    And by the way, I also know the difference between "there" and their," but human being sometimes have spelling mistakes.

  8. And by the way, Obama apologized for that, saying: "There is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate," he said. "It was not because of my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise. We put a grandfather clause into the law, but it was insufficient."
    Wake me up when Trump apologizes.

  9. Before Obamacare, Insurance companies routinely cancelled coverage and forced people to change doctors.

    This is incorrect. There were laws that prevented insurance companies from doing so. (Besides, if that was the concern, then a SINGLE law would have been able to passed to deal with that. The entire system, field and economy did not have to be turned on its head.)

    What President Obama did do was simplify a complicated proposition into a sound bite.

    No one forced him to do that. He chose to do that all on his own.
    The same is being done to President Trump and all conservatives - entire policies are being ridiculed with soundbites. It all stems from the people - as yourself - who dislike democracy and do not trust real democracy.

    By contrast, Trump lies not to simplify but to please his ego and deny reality.

    Big deal. How do his personal character flaws affect me?

  10. The elevation of the one-liner!

  11. Stop the nonsense of identifying Trump with democracy and his opponents as being anti-democratic

  12. Please explain.

    Do you feel that there are times that voters may be lied to for their own good? If yes, what are the parameters?

    Why is it that you refuse to have a substantive and meaningful discussion about policies, if it is related to President Trump? Why is it that you just reply with one-liner plateaus or ridicule, instead of having a meaningful discussion about policies if they relate to President Trump?

    Allow me to quote from your sidebar.
    I am primarily interested that people know and understand what the acceptable alternatives are rather than selling a particular view...
    This particular line is true about just about everything else that I have read on your blog, which is one of the things that has attracted me to your blog. But, in my observation, anything to do with Trump seems to be the exception. It appears to me that you're set on one particular view if it is in any way related to President Trump. Would you consider placing a poll to see if half of your readership feels the same way? If half of your readership does feel the same way, would it be worthwhile to write a post clarifying and explaining your views on this matter?

  13. Honesty: "How do his (Trump's) personal character flaws affect me?"
    It may not affect you. But it can affect future generations of conservatives, who see how a bold-faced liar, a man who brags about adultery with married women (a capital offence according to the Torah), and one accused of sexual assault by multiple women, is praised and idolised by "religious conservatives" like you.

    What is to stop them from thinking that his character flaws are actually acceptable, so long as they want to make America great again or believe in America first.

  14. Your criticism is interesting because I would say the same about you. Somehow when it comes to Trump he is treated differently than any other subject we have discussed. Regarding the substantive issues about Trump - your reading has been very selective because I have in fact mentioned the issues - not just provided one liners or ridicule

  15. Let's take the topic at hand, right here. @JOE_THE_PROFESSOR indicated and justified lying to voters, for their own good. Indeed, there are a bunch of left-wing "academics" who do feel that democracy gives too much power to the dumb people, and that voters must be lied to for their own good. I took issue with it and called it for what is. What was your response to me?

    Can we please now have this conversation about whether it is ever permissible to mislead voters. If so, when? To me it feels like you just shut down the conversation by calling what I said nonsense, without a willingness to have a real discussion about it.


    As for the issues that you have with Trump, are you saying that your issues are identical to those of the New York Times and the Washington Post? I am assuming that there are certainly some differences, which makes it difficult to respond to if i don't understand your end goal.

  16. I definitely share common ground with many who consider Trump incompetent as president and a danger to democracy. My views are not identical. But even with the NY Times , Washington Post, Republican Partc etc etc there are a variety of views as is true of the media in general. There now is a movement to have him impeached - which will probably eventually succeed. You are taking Trump to seriously - claiming that the fact that he is immature, immoral, a pathological liar is irrelevant to the fact that he is turning the world upside and and that he is doing the right things. The fact is that he has identified issues that are very important - but his approach to implement any changes is not oriented to actually accomplishing what he claims.

    This seems to be the view of everyone who is not a Trump supporter and perhaps at this stage even some who voted for him.
    So no - It is not a question of whether there are times when voters can be lied to. It is not a question of whether Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton or Obama is a bigger liar.

    If you have read about the life of Trump you will know that he is behaving the same way he always has. He is ignoring the Truth, making up fantasy, ignoring concerns of reality and expert opinions. He doesn't care how many people he steps on or how many people he hurts. The only thing that matters to him getting attention, power and money - as well as sex.

    You seem to be incapable of understanding this - which is bizarre because if it were any other person than Trump - you would be among the first to accurately evaluate what is going on.

    Bottom line - Trump will not finish out his term. He will be impeached and removed from office.


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