Monday, September 26, 2016

The Hell With Fact Checkers, The Debates Should Feature A Panel Of Psychiatrists


Many in the media prepared for today's debate by doing features on how much Trump lies. People who have been paying attention for the last year-- or who have been aware of him outside of the political realm-- have long realized that virtually nothing he says is true. Before tonight, PolitiFact had investigated 259 statements he's made and found just 11 true (4%). 70% of his statements are false (and that leaves out another 15% that are half false). Look at the headline of yesterday's L.A. Times. They reported that "never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has. Over and over, independent researchers have examined what the Republican nominee says and concluded it was not the truth-- but “pants on fire” (PolitiFact) or “four Pinocchios” (Washington Post Fact Checker). [T]he scope of Trump’s falsehoods is unprecedented, and he is dogged in refusing to stop saying things once they are proved untrue... Trump’s pattern of saying things that are provably false has no doubt contributed to his high unfavorable ratings. It also has forced journalists to grapple with how aggressive they should be in correcting candidates’ inaccurate statements, particularly in the presidential debates that start Monday.

Thomas E. Mann, a resident scholar at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, said Trump appears to recognize that a faction of the Republican Party has lost respect for facts, evidence and science... “He’s a salesman,” Mann said. “He’s a con man. He’s hustled people out of money that they’re owed. He’s lived off tax shelters. He’s always looking for a scheme and a con, and in that sphere, you just fall into telling lies as a matter of course.”

...Marty Kaplan, a professor of entertainment, media and society at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, has two theories on Trump’s falsehoods.

Perhaps he’s just putting on  an act, like P.T. Barnum-- a “marketer, con, snake-oil salesman who knows better, knows how to get the rubes into the tent.” Or maybe, Kaplan suggested, Trump is just “completely unconstrained by logic, rules, tradition, truth, law.”

“I’m confused,” he said, “whether the whole fact-free zone that he’s in is a strategic calculation or a kind of psychosis.”

Over the weekend, Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns compiled a list of easily refutable whoppers Trump told-- just last week! Newspaper editorials are piling up against him; virtually all of them mention he's a compulsive liar when explaining why he's patently unfit for office. So what can we expect tomorrow? How many lies will Trump tell per question? His campaign has been screaming all week that fact-checking is unfair. There's an implicit threat he could walk out if a moderator points out that he's lying.

On Sunday, Politico published a lengthy post fact-checking both candidates for a week. The headline: Donald Trump's Week Of Misrepresentations, Exaggerations And Half-Truths. At this point, his supporters are relieved when it's half-truths.
We subjected every statement made by both the Republican and Democratic candidates – in speeches, in interviews and on Twitter – to our magazine’s rigorous fact-checking process. The conclusion is inescapable: Trump’s mishandling of facts and propensity for exaggeration so greatly exceed Clinton’s as to make the comparison almost ludicrous.

Though few statements match the audacity of his statement about his role in questioning Obama’s citizenship, Trump has built a cottage industry around stretching the truth. According to Politico’s five-day analysis Trump averaged about one falsehood every three minutes and 15 seconds over nearly five hours of remarks.
But what the media doesn't do is attempt to assert a motivation or any kind of real analysis about why Trump seems incapable of being truthful. Lists of his lies are completely passé this late in the campaign. We all know he lies every time he opens his mouth. Who will be the first to explain why? Politico's silly attempt-- "he simply talks more"-- comes off more like an excuse than an analysis.

I did enjoy how Politico ended their deep look into his lies though, making it more about what the American conservative movement has turned into, than just another instance of Trump making crap up:
87. “I certainly don't think you want Candy Crowley again. ... She turned out to be wrong.” (Sept. 22, Fox and Friends interview)

Trump was referring to a dramatic moment in Candy Crowley’s moderating of the second presidential debate in 2012. President Obama said he called the Benghazi attack an act of terror the day afterward in the Rose Garden, and Mitt Romney claimed he hadn’t used the word for 14 days. “Get the transcript,” Obama said, and Crowley interjected that he was correct and Romney was mistaken. Conservatives criticized Crowley for interfering, but her live fact-check was accurate. “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation,” Obama said on Sept. 12 in the Rose Garden.
Of course when your news universe is reading Breibart, listening to Limbaugh and watching Fox... you're in an alternative universe anyway. It looks, at this point-- at least according to the latest polling-- that half the country is now unmoored from objective reality.

These sum up the debate in two pictures. Is Trump's candidacy going to survive tonight? And now we don't just need his tax returns released; we need to see a drug test.

Trump is trying to blame his miserable performance on a defective mic. Maybe someone cut his coke with some rotgut amphetamine sulfate

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At 4:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Trump was clearly attempting to control himself compared to the Republican debates, when he was unhinged and a total bully. He did not dare to go after her the way he did to Cruz, Rubio, Bush, etc. The split screen was terrific and did him in - watching his face was fun! One commentator later said it was indistinguishable from Saturday Night Life depictions of him. I am relieved Hillary did so well. She has stamina! A good friend of mine said he respects Clinton and will vote for her, as she had tremendous stamina and where-with-all when grilled by Congress for eight hours about her emails. She has true grit. While I loved Bernie and dissed her during the campaign, there is much to admire about her. She had good and bad aspects, whereas Trump is all bad.


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