Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
Trump’s 10 Steps for Turning Lies into Half-Truths
Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief insisted that the Wall Street Journal wouldn’t label Trump’s false statements as “lies.” Lying, said the editor, requires a deliberate intention to mislead, which couldn’t be proven in Trump’s case.
But Donald Trump is the most lying president we’ve ever had, and he seems to get away with it. Here’s his 10-step plan for turning lies into near truths:
Step 1: He lies.
Step 2: Experts contradict him, saying his claim is baseless and false. The media report that the claim is false.
Step 3: Trump blasts the experts and condemns the media for being “dishonest.”
Step 4: Trump repeats the lie in tweets and speeches. And asserts that “many people” say he’s right.
Step 5: The mainstream media start to describe the lie as a “disputed fact.“
Step 6: Trump repeats the lie in tweets, interviews, and speeches. His surrogates repeat it on TV and in the right-wing blogosphere.
Step 7: The mainstream media begin to describe Trump’s lie as a “controversy.”
Step 8: Polls show a growing number of Americans (including most Republicans) believing Trump’s lie to be true.
Step 9: The media start describing Trump’s lie as “a claim that reflects a partisan divide in America,” and is “found to be true by many.”
Step 10: The public is confused and disoriented about what the facts are. Trump wins.
Don’t let Trump’s lies become near truths. Be vigilant. Know the truth, and spread it. The media should stop mincing words. Report Trump’s lies as lies.
Copyright 2017 Robert Reich
Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.