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A War on the Truth

By Jonathan Karl: Front Row at the Trump Show
ABC News- chief White House correspondent

Trump attacks the press because he wants them to attack him back. He calls them "lying, disgusting people." He wants to paint the press as the head of the Opposition Party. The president strategically baits reporters into personal grudge matches that undercut the credibility of the media. He has conducted a "Dr.-Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde routine" … with the news media since the early days of his presidential campaign. He may be at war with the news media, but he is also in love with the news media. He sees the public jousting with the press as a critical component of the Trump show's success.

Steve Bannon, said that the media is a better opponent for Trump than the Democrats, because many voters who were key to getting Trump elected in 2016 - white working-class people from union households in the Rust Belt - still have some loyalties to Democrats.

Trump told Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes he attacks the media "so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you." The press plays into Trump's hands when reporters take his attacks on them personally. If they respond, it becomes a story about the conflict between a reporter and the president - in other words, exactly what he wants. It's not really so much any individual, like with Jim Acosta. It's kind of the cumulative effect.

If you turn on cable news at any point over the past three years, you can be guaranteed … you're going to be seeing a story: 'Look at that, can you believe what he just did?' Some of those things have been really awful and terrible and they needed to be talked about, but there's no sense of variation. Some of the stuff's been pretty trivial and it's been crazy tweets. The effect of playing into Trump's hands is really dangerous. He gets people to believe in his lies, by emotionally charging them up, by throwing shade at those 'socialist, looney liberals' and 'lying media.'

You have basically a third of the country, maybe more, that essentially won't believe anything that they see in a newspaper or in a television news report. For all the spinning and stonewalling, the disregard for the truth at the Trump White House is qualitatively different. The president himself has waged a sustained campaign to make people think the truth is a lie whenever he doesn't like the truth or it makes him look bad. This isn't the dodging and weaving you expect to see from politicians, including presidents. This is an assault on truth itself.

Edited by grip
 

Crunchtime

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Media credibility? Absent.

War on the truth? From every angle from every dynamic not just Trumps.

Do you think you're on the "good side" because you see Trump the way you do? Think again. There is no good side. We live in one giant toilet. Be careful you don't go down with the mess.
 
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