Sunday, December 4, 2016

The post-truth world of Donald Trump

Quote of the Day: It’s time to dust off your old copy of “1984 ” by George Orwell and recall this passage: “The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.”

Margaret Sullivan (Washington Post) reminds us of the relevance of the Orwell quote to the Orwellian world of Donald Trump et al. - The post-truth world of the Trump administration is scarier than you think.

You may think you are prepared for a post-truth world, in which political appeals to emotion count for more than statements of verifiable fact.

But now it’s time to cross another bridge — into a world without facts. Or, more precisely, where facts do not matter a whit.

On live radio Wednesday morning, Scottie Nell Hughes sounded breezy as she drove a stake into the heart of knowable reality:

“There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, of facts,” she declared on “The Diane Rehm Show” on Wednesday.

What matters now, Hughes argued, is not whether his fraud claim is true. No, what matters is who believes it.

Yes, it’s a fact: I heard it live, as did Rehm, Politico’s Glenn Thrush, and the Atlantic’s James Fallows, who wrote about it, citing a recording of the show.

… When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway about the same election-fraud claim discussed above — specifically, whether disseminating misinformation was “presidential” — it was clear that she and Hughes got the same memo.

“He’s the president-elect, so that’s presidential behavior,” Conway said, using mind-bending pseudo-logic, reminiscent of the Nixonian “When the president does it, that means that it’s not illegal.”

These surrogates’ disdain for facts should not be surprising, given Trump’s own casual relationship with verifiable truth.

Orwell was 30 years too soon. We are living his worst nightmare in which truths are lies and lies are facts.

Update: This morning, at Blog for Arizona, AZBlueMeanie covers several other articles along the same lines in The post-truth presidency of Donald Trump and concludes with this dismal assessment.

… America was born of The Enlightenment in the Age of Reason. Despite the fact that modern Americans now have more access to information than at any time in history, Americans are regressing into anti-intellectualism, driven by beliefs in myths, legends and superstitions — and fake news– descending us into a new Dark Ages.

In response, Linda Lyons urges us to keep up the fight for Reason.

… This means those of us who deal in truth must peddle our wares even more voraciously. And, good people everywhere must speak up when lies are told. We MUST NOT let them go unchallenged!

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