Published On: Tue, Feb 7th, 2017

Donald Trump, Fake News, and Falsehoods

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Trump’s constant tirade against news organizations have only gotten more ridiculous with time. Every time someone in the media calls him or his staff out for a false claim, or for just generally being wrong, he and his team attack them saying they are making up complete and utter falsehoods to hurt him and his Administration. The first example we had was where photographic and video evidence showed a smaller (speaking relatively to past inaugurations) amount of supporters who came to his inauguration, and yet Press Secretary Spicer said, “[t]his was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe,” he continued, “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm about the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

This claim was later defended by U.S. Counselor to President Kellyanne Conway who asserted, “ You’re saying it’s a falsehood,” she continued, “Our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts to that.” That phrase alone causes my head to hurt. It’s like I am back in elementary school dealing with the kid who calls upon their everything proof magic shield when they starts losing a playground game so they can win, and the sadder thing is that this elementary analogy even works in a situation relating to the leader of the free world.

Conway wasn’t finished using some of her ‘alternative facts’ yet. To defend President Trump’s travel ban, she referenced an Obama Administration decision in 2011 to pause and slow down the processing of refugees in response to two Iraqi refugees who had allegedly been the masterminds of a massacre in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The problem was, there never was any Bowling Green Massacre. It was all a figment of Ms. Conway’s imagination. While it was true that two Iraqi men from Bowling Green were involved in sending weapons and money to al Qaeda and were arrested by the FBI, there was never any plot or attack there carried out by those individuals or any refugee. This has lead to the internet making a meme out of the false claim, including mock vigils in memory of those who ‘died’ in the fake event as well as some jokes expressing outrage that Frederick Douglass’ (a writer, ex-slave, and a leader for the Abolitionist movement who died in 1895) lack of response about the ‘tragedy.’

Trump loves to bash the media first-hand, whether claiming that millions of votes were cast for Hillary illegally, or saying that approval polls showing a negative opinion on the travel ban are made up by the lying media with their liberal agenda. However, every time he says something shocking and we think there’s no way that can be topped, he bests himself again. While speaking at the MacDill Air Force Base to commanders and coalition reps, he made a claim that the press was not reporting on terrorist attacks happening all over Europe , stating “[i]t’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.”

However, these are only some of the most outrageous and highly covered things that have been said after he became President. Both his personal Twitter account and his campaign last year were filled with countless falsehoods, lies, and fake news stories, as well as attacks on media and news outlets. And don’t get me wrong, while I dislike President Trump for a variety of policy and personality-related reasons, that isn’t why all of this upsets and annoys me. There is no partisanship when it comes to who tells lies and falsehoods. All politicians do it, and I will always dislike it no matter which side of party lines it comes from. But what the Trump Administration does is not only insulting to our country’s intelligence, it is also dangerous. Demonizing his enemies, discrediting those who disagree with him. It is a thin line and a dangerous road that I fear we may walk down if it continues like this for the next four years. 

 So please, if you have taken anything from this piece, let it be that these next four years more than any other be sure to always fact check things you hear from the White House. Don’t take Trump’s words with blind faith and hope in your eyes. Even if you support him, in the end we are all only human, and it can never hurt to be sure. And it is healthy to be skeptical even of the party and politician you support. Though that goes with all things. If you disagree with my points here, I wholly welcome you to fact check me as well. A conscious discussion is always better than silent disagreement and condemnation.

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