Make no mistake about it. The Trump administration just fired the first official salvo of a new American war. No, it’s not some sappy metaphorical war like the one on poverty, drugs or crime. This is a real war … on reality.
Of course, the signs that Trump would wage such a battle once in the White House were evident throughout his campaign. He denied being in favor of the Iraq War even though clear evidence showed otherwise. He denied mocking a disabled journalist even though there is actual video of him doing so.
Now we have Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, in his first press briefing, disseminating what can only be described as an easily provable, eminently verifiable, out-and-out lie.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” claimed the new White House press secretary yesterday.
It doesn’t matter that evidence exists to prove his statement false. Visual proof shows Trump’s crowd was about one-third the size of the group that gathered for Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.
Defending Spicer on NBC’s Meet The Press today, Kellyanne Conway snapped at host Chuck Todd for having the nerve to call Spicer’s statement a “falsehood.” She preferred calling his words a presentation of “alternative facts.”
To Todd’s credit, he hammered Conway with “alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”
If we Americans are to defeat Trump and his dangerous, nazi-like war on reality, we need more Chuck Todd’s in the world.
But unlike Todd’s characterization of Spicer’s statement as a “falsehood,” we need to use a more basic, effective and simpler word.
When Trump or his surrogates do not offer up the truth, our press cannot pussyfoot by using words like misstatement, distortion, fabrication, untruth or prevarication. They need to call a spade a spade. In this case, they need to tell us what we just heard or read was a shameless, bald-faced LIE.
Photo | ALEX BRANDON/AP