Monday, September 26, 2016

What's Wrong With Calling Trump a Liar

What's wrong with calling Trump a liar? It misses the point. His statements - accusations, denials, insults, labels, claims of omnipotence - are all made for effect,to express feeling,  not meant to actually express statements of fact. His followers know this and embrace it. They know he does not know anything, and they don't care. No political correctness there. Our traditional journalists struggle with this. Their knee jerk "fact checking" is a weak response. The NYT backpatted themselves over calling Trump a liar on the birther issue. Really? When the false accusation had served its purpose for years and no longer had a purpose, he reverses himself, and you congratulate yourselves? Are you kidding?  If Trump is to be interpreted and understood, he must be treated like a Mafia Don. Do you fact check a Mafia Don? When the Don says - How are your children Claude and Emily enjoying your seaside cottage with their lovely mother, Clara, do you say - so nice of you to ask? No, you know what he means. But you can't prove it in court, can you. When Trump is intimidating, the Donald is like the Don. His threats are veiled, but he gets away with it because our news media, even when critical, treats the existence of the threats as an opinion. When he gets called on these outrages, the reaction is still mild, considering the extremity of his statements. Suppose the candidate of a major party should be arrested and charged with threatening a Presidential candidate? Could that indictment ever happen in a system that assumes a certain amount of good faith of the actors within it? No, not now
When he roughly talks policy because he is backed into a corner, he springs from the place of "truthiness", like George W. Bush. In a situation like this, it doesn't matter if statements are factual,  - that is not the issue - journalists could turn the focus to experience, expertise, and other qualities that a president needs - whoops, that is an opinion. Nope, can't go there, can we. Sigh.

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