By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 7, 2018 ~
In the past few days, two reliable media enablers of Donald Trump have veered off script with stinging rebukes of the President’s epic pattern of lies. The question is – what took them so long. Editorials in the foreign press dating back as far as a year ago recognized that Trump’s insatiable need to lie rendered him unfit for the presidency of the United States. Since April of last year the Los Angeles Times has been running a series of forensic editorials attempting to explain what it is in Trump’s personality that would explain “his moral vacuity and his disregard for the truth, as well as his stubborn resistance to sensible advice.” The editorials have been headlined: “Our Dishonest President,” “Why Trump Lies,” and “Enough is Enough,” to mention just three.
The Washington Post determined that Trump’s lies are so vast that they must be chronicled in a database. That database now lists more than 3,001 lies or misleading claims since Trump took the oath of office on January 20, 2017.
Last Thursday, two previously reliable media supporters of Trump spoke out. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal published a scorching online editorial on Trump’s equivocations on the hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. It read in part:
“Mr. Trump’s public deceptions are surely relevant to his job as President, and the attempted cover-up has done greater harm than any affair would have. Mr. Trump asked Americans, not least his supporters, to believe his claims about the payments. They were false and conveniently so in putting the onus on Mr. Cohen. Now, as more of the story has emerged, he wants everyone to believe a new story that he could have told the first time.
“Mr. Trump is compiling a record that increases the likelihood that few will believe him during a genuine crisis—say, a dispute over speaking with special counsel Robert Mueller or a nuclear showdown with Kim Jong Un. Mr. Trump should worry that Americans will stop believing anything he says.”
Also on Thursday, Neil Cavuto of Fox News said on his show: “So let me be clear Mr. President, how can you drain the swamp if you’re the one who keeps muddying the waters. You didn’t know about that $130,000 payment to a porn star – until you did. Said you knew nothing about how your former lawyer, Michael Cohen, handled this until acknowledging today you were the guy behind the retainer payment that took care of this.” (See video below.)
Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial page editors have been exceedingly slow to acknowledge the reality of this presidency. In an editorial in the Los Angeles Times on April 2 of last year, its editorial team wrote:
“Whether it is the easily disprovable boasts about the size of his inauguration crowd or his unsubstantiated assertion that Barack Obama bugged Trump Tower, the new president regularly muddies the waters of fact and fiction. It’s difficult to know whether he actually can’t distinguish the real from the unreal — or whether he intentionally conflates the two to befuddle voters, deflect criticism and undermine the very idea of objective truth. Whatever the explanation, he is encouraging Americans to reject facts, to disrespect science, documents, nonpartisanship and the mainstream media — and instead to simply take positions on the basis of ideology and preconceived notions. This is a recipe for a divided country in which differences grow deeper and rational compromise becomes impossible.”
The very next day, the LA Times editorial board weighed in with this:
“The insult that Donald Trump brings to the equation is an apparent disregard for fact so profound as to suggest that he may not see much practical distinction between lies, if he believes they serve him, and the truth.
“His approach succeeds because of his preternaturally deft grasp of his audience. Though he is neither terribly articulate nor a seasoned politician, he has a remarkable instinct for discerning which conspiracy theories in which quasi-news source, or which of his own inner musings, will turn into ratings gold. He targets the darkness, anger and insecurity that hide in each of us and harnesses them for his own purposes. If one of his lies doesn’t work — well, then he lies about that.”
In January, the editorial board of USA Today weighed in on the President’s use of the word “*hithole” to describe African nations writing: “It’s bad enough that the president of the United States is an inveterate liar. It’s even worse when members of Congress and his Cabinet feel compelled to lie on his behalf.”
Two months ago, the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an editorial on Trump’s outright lies to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding Canada’s alleged trade surplus with the United States. The editorial board wrote that per a tape recording of remarks Trump had made at a Republican fundraiser about his meeting with Trudeau, Trump told the audience he had told Trudeau:
“ ‘Well, sir, you’re actually right. We have no deficit, but that doesn’t include energy and timber…And when you do, we lose $17 billion a year.’ ”
The editorial points out that this was also false: “The U.S. trade representative’s office reports that the United States enjoyed a $12.5 billion surplus with Canada for all goods and services in 2016.” The editorial concludes with this: “These are sad and embarrassing political times in America, but the saddest part of all is that the president of the United States has admitted he cannot be trusted.”
Almost one year ago, on May 19, 2017, the Executive Editor of Der Spiegel, one of the most influential and widely read news magazines in Europe, wrote that Trump was “A Danger to the World.” Klaus Brinkbäumer wrote:
“Donald Trump has transformed the United States into a laughing stock and he is a danger to the world. He must be removed from the White House before things get even worse…
“Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn’t read. He doesn’t bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees…”
There is only so long that Trump’s Republican supporters in Congress and the right-wing media can continue to shrug off Trump’s legacy of lies without thoroughly discrediting themselves. The reason is simple: a majority of Americans believe that truth and facts still matter.