More alternative facts from the new administration. Am I mistaken to see a pattern? Looks to me like they always affirm the unhinged, insecure and yet self-congratulatory world inside the president’s head.
- Trump Declares That ‘Any Negative Polls Are Fake News’
- President Trump is now speculating that the media is covering up terrorist attacks – The Washington Post
Question is, how many poor benighted souls will follow him inside? And where will that leave us?
UPDATE, 2/7/2017: Important angle on this from Greg Sargent at the WaPo:
Trump — faced with an outpouring of popular opposition to his [travel] ban, and a level of institutional pushback to it, that surely caught him and his advisers off guard — is actively experimenting with how far he can go in delegitimizing the institutions that are already signaling they may place serious, meaningful limits on his power. Consider:
- Trump’s tweets attacking the judiciary go well beyond conventional criticism of judicial opinions on the substance or of “unelected judges” who are said to be overstepping their power. The description of the judge who first blocked his ban as a “so-called judge” directly targeted the judiciary’s institutional legitimacy. And it’s not hard to imagine where Trump’s explicit claim that any terrorist attack should be blamed on the judiciary will take him next, if such an attack does occur.
- Trump recently claimed that “any negative polls are fake news,” particularly those from major networks like CNN, NBC and ABC. He added: “Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.” In other words, any poll that finds that Trump or his policies are unpopular is suspect or invented by definition. Multiple polls have shown that majorities reject his travel ban and his border wall, and global protests have broken out against the ban in particular. In other words, the public backlash to the first two major efforts to translate Trumpism into policy reality has been severe. In response, Trump is explicitly telling his supporters that any empirical evidence of that backlash must be discounted as fake news — particularly if the polls in question come from major news organizations, who are thus being cast as deliberate deceivers of Real Americans.
- You cannot divorce that last point from the larger context here: Trump and Sean Spicer spent days attacking the news media for accurately reporting on his shriveled inauguration crowds, and Stephen Bannon has claimed that Trump’s “populist nation-state policies are supported by the vast and overwhelming majority of Americans” — in other words, that a vast silent majority is rooting for Trumpism to succeed. But that’s just nonsense. The effort to falsely inflate impressions of popular support for Trump — and for policies that in reality are deeply controversial and divisive and are being rejected by majorities — is concerted and deliberate. And the unabashed use of obvious and demonstrable lies to carry out this deception campaign is remarkably brazen.
- Trump is now claiming that the media is covering up terrorist attacks, saying that “ISIS is on a campaign of genocide, committing atrocities across the world,” and that “in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” The larger context here is crucial, too: The media has in fact been invaluable in rooting out the dangerously incompetent processthat led to the creation of this ban, as well as the ugly, discriminatory ideological underpinnings of the idea. In response, Trump, once again, is moving to obliterate the very possibility of shared agreement on the legitimate institutional role of the news media in informing the citizenry — right when it is playing that role to great effect by shedding light on the truth about his latest and most visible exercise of executive power, thus demonstrating that it can function as a check on him.