The Metamorphosis Of A Presidential Lie

08/09/2017 11:19 am ET Updated Aug 10, 2017

When a nation is faced with war-and-peace decisions, it is quintessential that its citizens trust their leader and commander in chief unequivocally.

As tensions with North Korea ratchet up and the possibility arises that two nations could unleash “fire and fury” upon each other and upon their neighbors, Americans must be weighing their leader’s honesty more than ever.

Many publications have documented the hundreds of lies that Trump has promulgated.

One of these, the LA Times, earlier this year asked “Why Trump Lies?

In attempting to answer this question, the Times Editorial Board almost prophetically wrote:

If Americans are unsure which Trump they have — the Machiavellian negotiator who lies to manipulate simpler minds, or one of those simpler minds himself — does it really matter? In either case he puts the nation in danger by undermining the role of truth in public discourse and policymaking, as well as the notion of truth being verifiable and mutually intelligible.
In the months ahead, Trump will bring his embrace of alternative facts on the nation’s behalf into talks with China, North Korea or any number of powers with interests counter to ours and that constitute an existential threat…

The Board concluded:

Investigate. Read. Write. Listen. Speak. Think. Be wary of those who disparage the investigators, the readers, the writers, the listeners, the speakers and the thinkers. Be suspicious of those who confuse reality with reality TV, and those who repeat falsehoods while insisting, against all evidence, that they are true. To defend freedom, demand fact.

Even the Conservative Wall Street Journal said this about “A President’s Credibility,” earlier this year:

Trump’s falsehoods are eroding public trust, at home and abroad.
If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

But note how the Journal studiously avoids calling a manifest lie a lie, and uses artifices such as “exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”

How is it then that Trump’s blatant lies are “normalized”?

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has a theory.

He calls it “Ten Steps for turning lies into truth.”

Step number one: “He lies.”

Step number 10: “The public is confused and disoriented about what the facts are. Trump Wins."

Please watch and listen to the eight intervening steps here.

Reich concludes:

Don’t let Trump’s lies become near-truths. Be vigilant. Know the truth and spread it.
And the media should stop mincing words, Report Trump’s lie as lies.

Addressing both Trump’s lies and North Korea, my friend, the poet, writes:

How can one expect to respect
A President who so neglects
Any semblance of truth telling: just “Trumped up” Promises at rallies selling
Who thinks only of self: and the accumulation of personal wealth
Surrounded by Generals: at least there are some Patriots in the room
Now with a real crisis at hand: North Korea has missiles that go boom
This impulsive and adoration seeking neophyte: shouts “come on out and have a fight”
Now JFK didn’t shout a bullying threat: with diplomacy and compromise a truce was met

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