Saturday, September 3, 2016

New Yorker: New series on Trump and the truth

New Yorker Editor David Remnick introduces the new series by admitting that all presidents, every one of them, has lied about something sometime. For example:

“I’m not a crook.”

“In spite of the wildly speculative and false stories of arms for hostages and alleged ransom payments, we did not—repeat, did not—trade weapons or anything else for hostages. Nor will we.”

“I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

“We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories.”

But Donald Trump is in a class unto himself.

But sometimes there really is something new under the political sun. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President, does not so much struggle with the truth as strangle it altogether. He lies to avoid. He lies to inflame. He lies to promote and to preen. Sometimes he seems to lie just for the hell of it. He traffics in conspiracy theories that he cannot possibly believe and in grotesque promises that he cannot possibly fulfill. When found out, he changes the subject—or lies larger.

Hence the New Yorker's new series.

In recent weeks, reporters and the fact-checking department at The New Yorker have put their efforts into a series of reported essays about Trump and lying. No one here is suggesting that Trump is the only politician ever to unleash a whopper. In fact, Hillary Clinton has had her bald-faced moments—moments that are too kindly described as “lawyerly.” But, in the scale and in the depth of his lying, Donald Trump is in another category; this effort, which begins with Eyal Press’s essay on Trump and immigration and will continue every week through the election, is by way of keeping track of a record that appears to know no bounds, and certainly no shame.

I will try to track this series and provide links, as above.

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