The Necessary Charade the Media Must Perform Every Time Donald Trump Tells a New Lie
Here’s Jake Tapper, yesterday afternoon, calling out Donald Trump and Sean Spicer over the “fiction that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election.” This video got around social media, provided as an example of how to confront the Trump Administration’s lies.
What’s so insanely frustrating here, however, is that no Democrat, very few Republicans, and no one in the media believes Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud, or that 1.5 million people attended his inauguration. Yet, it is incumbent upon the media to go through this charade, to talk to experts, to have pundits on, to discredit what is so obviously a lie, and to make a big production of it, because the alternative is even worse: To chalk it up to standard operating procedure for the Trump Administration.
The lies obviously are not going to stop, nor will the media’s ability to discredit them. It will be the media’s job to doggedly call out the lies, even if it means manufacturing drama around the obvious. Because there are worse things than a President who lies, and that’s a public that has grown so accustomed to the lies that they stop paying attention to them.
That feels like the biggest danger to me right now, because there are stories — like this one about widespread voter fraud — that I mostly resist writing about, because it’s not newsworthy. They’re “no duh!” stories. They’re not surprising, or shocking, or even informative. It’s just one more piece of evidence reinforcing what we already know: That Donald Trump lies, and he has no shame in doing so, nor does he separate a big lie from a small lie. For Donald Trump, lying is a matter of course.
And yet, if we treat those lies like a matter of course, if we normalize the lies, we are just woven into the fabric of the system. We become the millions of teeth in the gears of the machine that spits out the untruths. On most days, it would be so much easier to go along, to treat this as normal, clock in, clock out, watch This Is Us and go to bed. But we can’t. We gotta push back against those lies, throw some sparks into the gears, and bend some spokes, even if it means going through yet another charade.
Ultimately, that means trying to find interesting ways and new angles to repeat the same story, to beat upon the same theme over and over again: Donald Trump is an impetuous, thin-skinned conman with no regard for the truth who is unfit to be our President.
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