When the President Lies

In one of the best pieces of writing on the media;s failure to understand and adequately report Donal Trumps’ presidential campaign, journalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen returned to [Ron] Suskind’s 2004 article, which is essential to understanding how our constitutional democracy was derailed, because it documented an important moment in our political history.

“Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush” is the article in which an unnamed Bush adviser introduced the phrase “reality-based community,” deriding Suskind and his fellow journalists who “believe that solutions emerge from you judicious study of discernable reality.”

The aide continued: “That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”
Here is another piece of the puzzle, the understanding that when politics and governing transcend the “reality-based community,” facts no longer matter.

These two undeniable truths—that most working-class Americans living in the big middle of the country don’t read the Times or the Post and in fact have been conditioned to hold in contempt the elite who write and inform stories in those publications; and that candidates for office and elected officials are no longer constrained by rules governing the “reality-based community,” help explain why Donald Trump is now president of the United States.

…The facts-don’t matter, “retreat from empiricism” strategy used by (George W. Bush media advisor Mark] McKinnon and his colleague Karl Rove has become our political culture, in particular the political culture of the American right. And journalism, as a profession, hasn’t come to terms with that shift in political culture.

Thus, Trump could lie when he claimed he personally observed that “thousands and thousands of people were cheering” along the west bank of the Hudson River in Jersey City as the World trade center collapsed…

By lying, then doubling down on the lie, Trump created his own reality. An event, documented by a camera crew and widely circulated as a video clip, never happened. That, unto itself, is an extraordinary demonstration of power: the power to make something unhappen.
Journalists are into new territory as Trump assumes the presidency.

NOTE: it must be stated that the New York Times and the Washington Post have both been, and continue to be, propagandists for the government. Google ‘Washington Post lies’ and you’ll find a catalog of WaPo articles in support of the illegal invasion of Iraq, up to the fake news about Russian hacking of the Vermont power grid. Likewise, the New York Times penchant for carrying government water is summed up nicely in this recent article by FAIR.org:

The Times goes on to insist that “no American president has done what Mr. Putin has done,” including “invading Ukraine” and “interfering in the American election.” Of course, American presidents have invaded other countries and intervened in other elections, but for reasons unclear, the Times suggests that those two cases are the ones that indicate the US’s moral superiority over Russia.

The New York Times briefly mentions the Iraq War and torture, but whistles past these episodes by insisting they were “terrible mistakes.” The Times seems to be under the impression that Russia kills innocents for laughs, while the United States does so only with the best of intentions:

“At least in recent decades, American presidents who took military action have been driven by the desire to promote freedom and democracy, sometimes with extraordinary results, as when Germany and Japan evolved after World War II from vanquished enemies into trusted, prosperous allies.” (Adam Johnson, FAIR.org, 2/9/17)

For those of you who have been paying attention, it was the US State Department, headed by Hillary Clinton, that fomented a coup in Ukraine and hand-selected a successor to a democratically-elected President. And it was the Democratic National Committee that subverted US democracy by rigging the 2016 primary elections against Bernie Sanders. And lastly, does anyone still believe that the US attacks other countries, like say, Libya, now a failed state and terrorist haven, to promote freedom and democracy?