Author’s note: This post was written several months ago but not posted immediately because I wanted to “sleep on it.” Now, given the rather rude firing of FBI director Comey a couple days ago and the related spin, I decided this country’s admin is a lost cause so it was time to press “publish.”
In September, 2015, I published a blog entry which discussed Hillary Clinton’s email situation and conveyed my disapproval. She was the favored candidate for the Democratic party’s candidate for president, but that race was far from over. I concluded that blog entry with the statement:
“We don’t need public servants who choose to disregard this country’s laws and policy with impunity and then blatantly and repeatedly make misleading statements or lie.”
Now that well over a year has passed since my September, 2015, blog post and Donald Trump is has been elected our president, it seems appropriate re-visit my assertion that we don’t need lying public servants.
And, sadly, while Clinton’s misleading (at best) statements were very irritating to this writer, they look nearly harmless and almost insignificant when compared with Trump’s erroneous statements.
Many journalists and others have commented on and/or cataloged Trump’s inaccurate statements so I won’t attempt to inventory or rank them. Instead I’ll just point the reader to a selection of websites & articles on the subject that I’ve found insightful or memorable:
Fact-checkers: These sites strive to be objective analysts of politicians’ public statements:
- The Washington Post’s Factchecker column asserts it is “The Truth Behind The Rhetoric.” Led by columnist Glenn Kessler, it awards up to 4 Pinocchio noses depending on the size of the “whopper.” Background on Kessler and the grading scale is here.
- Factcheck.org is a project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. A recent post reviews statements made in a well-publicized Trump speech and finds many were false.
Opinions: Following are essays on Trump and his propensity to bullshit and lie:
- Harry Frankfurt, a Princeton philosophy professor and author of the influential essay On Bullshit, wrote in Time magazine about Trump: “It is disturbing to find an important political figure who indulges freely both in lies and in bullshit. What is perhaps even more deeply disturbing is to discover an important segment of our population responding to so incorrigibly dishonest a person with such pervasively enthusiastic acceptance.”
- An opinion column, “The Danger of Trump’s Constant Lying” by Sam Waterston: “By the frequency of his lying, Trump has revealed a truth …regular and habitual lying is an existential threat to us, to our institutions, our memories, our understanding of now and of the future, to the great American democratic experiment, and to the planet.”
- In what was the match that lit the fuse for this post, in his New York Times Op-ed column Nobel prizewinner Paul Krugman recently came down harder than ever on Trump. Annoyed with journalists who found Trump’s recent (2/28/17) speech to congress “presidential,” in the recent post he labeled Trump “the most dishonest man ever to hold high office in America.”
Spin, fib, bullshit, or lie? I understand spin is going to happen whether we like it or not, so there’s not much use in getting worked up about it. An occasional Fib doesn’t bother me much and, in some circumstances, may serve a worthwhile purpose. Bullshit and lies from a president are more problematic. And I suspect the reputation he’s developed will be a very big problem if/when there’s a crisis .
With hindsight and given today’s circumstances, it’s clear more than ever that “We don’t need public servants who lie.”