It’s three days into what I am loathe to call “Trump’s America.” I dislike that term because, frankly, I don’t see America as being Trump’s. It’s not. Donald J. Trump won the electoral votes, but he still lost the popular vote–the actual votes cast by the American people–by around three million votes. To me that says that this isn’t his America. He just happened to play the chess game well enough to take the seat of power. I digress, however. It’s day three and thus far into this trip into bizarro world I’ve awakened every day to something I didn’t see coming on the news. This morning’s winner was Kellyanne Conway referring to Sean Spicer’s lies in his press conference yesterday as “alternative facts.”
I laughed so hard tears ran out of my eyes and then I realized she was serious. This is seriously the line that the Trump administration and their mouthpieces are trying to sell the American people, that lies aren’t lies but are alternative facts. Translation: crazymaking.
Here is the reality. There is definitely a bias in the media, but not all media is journalism. A little confusing, I know, but stay with me. MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News are all media, but I wouldn’t call it journalism. There are journalists who work there and there are journalistic stories that they run. But in regards to straight journalism, the old-fashioned boots on the ground, calling your sources, doing the legwork, getting in people’s faces and asking questions even when the answers don’t line up with your personal values profession that I used to belong to and went to school for CNN and friends is not it. The cable news networks are good to find out that something happened, but I don’t trust them to tell me exactly what. Instead, I go to ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, and the BBC for more information-based news. With the possible exception of their Sunday morning programs, these networks don’t employ pundits to spin and weave opinion and call it fact. New York Times, Washington Post, those are also sources I check.
But, you might say, Trump says they lie! It’s not always honest! Crooked media! To that I say fine, you think that the media is lying. Follow the sources. If ABC says they are citing a report from Billy Bob Online, then go find the report for yourself. Trump and his ilk are counting on the fact that people won’t do that. They are banking on laziness to keep the truth tied up.
And the truth seems to terrify Trump. He can’t control the truth because facts don’t change. If the sky is blue, you aren’t going to suddenly make it green because you don’t like blue. If Trump’s inauguration is poorly attended, his displeasure at that or even a confused assessment of the crowd isn’t going to change the numbers. But what he can change? What people believe. So he stands up and yells about the media being against him and being dishonest. He sends his press secretary to outright lie to the American people. He sends his mouthpiece out on the media circuit to act offended when people point out that Trump and Spicer are both liars. He has her play the victim and then lie some more.
The president is lying. He is a liar. And if he can’t let the truth stand over something as insignificant as how many people went to his party then how the hell can we trust him to tell us the truth about anything else?