}

Friday, July 27, 2018

Our lying eyes and ears

The current occupant of the White House is a chronic and severe liar. Everyone knows that. He lies about obvious things, things that can be checked or things that we’ve seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, and even about what he himself has said or done. This is not normal. But is it the beginning of an Orwellian era?

A couple days ago the current occupant spoke to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City. As usual, he turned it into yet another campaign rally, and told the audience: “Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Steve Bennen, writing on Maddow Blog for MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, pointed out many more instances of information suppression. That dictating of alternative facts as the only truth is hardly unique, nor are attempts at suppressing truth and facts.

Recently the current regime announced that it would stop publishing public summaries of the current occupant's phone calls with foreign leaders. This is not normal for Republican or Democratic presidents. Back in April of 2017, the regime announced that it would no longer publicly release logs of visitors to the White House. And, of course, when the current occupant met with the Russian dictator in Helsinki, he refused to allow any aides to be present, and now the Russians have been talking about some sort of security agreement the two men came to, but US officials have no idea what they’re talking about. None of this is normal.

The current regime has also mounted a constant war against a free press. Recently the White House barred a CNN reporter from covering an event because the current occupant didn’t like a question she asked. The official spokesperson for the regime lied about the events, which is also not new. And all of this included the current occupant constantly referring to “fake news” to refer to any and all real journalism that doesn’t bow and scrape before him and stroke his massive ego.

Which brings us back to his Kansas City campaign rally. Was he really making an Orwell-like directive?

On Tuesday (US time) edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel reported that the White House had posted an official video and transcript of the current occupant’s press conference with the Russian dictator that left out critical question and answer about whether Putin wanted the Republican candidate to win. It was a serious allegation, but also one that Phillip Bump at The Washington Post disputed with a long piece including video evidence. It seemed that maybe Rachel got it wrong—until the White House, being made aware of the problems, didn’t correct it, as Rachel pointed out Wednesday (US time):



What’s the truth? How the hell can we even know anymore? The current regime has a huge incentive to not correct the record available to the public. Ordinary people could access the transcript or watch the video and think the “fake news” were “making up” what happened in Helsinki. Rightwing people would share and link to the official—and wrong—versions as proof that the current occupant is correct: “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Even correcting the transcript and video later won’t change their feeling the real news media is “lying”.

All of this is a huge problem. It’s bad enough that the guy occupying the office of president is a chronic, habitual, and reflexive liar, and that his regime follows suit more often than not. But it’s not in any way acceptable for the current regime to put out lies and distortions and claim they’re fact, and it’s dangerous when the current occupant of the White House continues to call the free press “fake news”.

Ultimately, this could be how the Republic dies. As George Orwell put it in his famous novel 1984:
The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final most essential command… and if all others accepted the lie which the party imposed, if all records told the same tale, then the lie passed into history and became truth.
We must never allow this to happen.

The meme graphic with this post was all over social media recently, but I have no idea who made it.

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