Donald Trump did not start out telling his audience that the media was making up stories about him. He only said that all the stories written about him were negative.
That, he said is what he calls "fake news."
He also said that he invented that phrase (he didn't), which apparently gave him the right to continually alter it's meaning.
In the twisted mind of Donald Trump, stories that portray him in a bad light have no place in the news. Especially if they're true.
Trump puts out so many conflicting statements that it's easy to lose sight of what he's really saying. This can be especially challenging for his supporters.
They cling to his every word and are all too willing to accept constantly changing versions of what Kellyanne Conway refers to as "alternative facts."
A legal technique called arguing in the alternative allows one to simultaneously present different versions of a defense. For example:
"Your honor, my client's dog couldn't possibly have bitten Mr. Wilson. First of all, the dog was in his crate that night, second of all, he doesn't have any teeth and finally, your honor, my client doesn't even have a dog."
While that may be a humorous example of arguing in the alternative, it has become the model of rolling distortions of truth (lies) coming from the White House.
As is his usual tactic, Trump put out the fake news thing at one of his rallies to see how it would fly and it flew pretty well.
Repeating it to increasing cheers, the evolution began. Pretty soon everything reported was fake and then he delivered the coup de grace, labeling the press as "the enemy of the people."
Labeling journalists as the enemy of the people has long been a staple of dictators and strongmen like Vladimir Putin (Russia), Rodrigo Duterte (Phillipines) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey).
It's not a new strategy, but one that was perfected by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda. While we don't have a formal Minister of Propaganda here (yet), that function is arduously being fulfilled by Fox's Sean Hannity.
To trample on the press is to trample on the Constitution.
So important is journalism to a free society, that it's the only profession protected by the Constitution and it's in the very first amendment.
The value of journalism was so valued to a free society that the House of Commons in Britain opened up press reporting as early as 1787, when Edmund Burke coined the term, "Fourth Estate.'
An attack on the press is an attack on America. It's an attack on YOU.
Somehow, Donald Trump has enlisted you in the war against yourself. Complicity in his attacks on the media or obliviousness to Russia's interference in our elections is profoundly against your own interests.
That Trump has stepped up the frequency, intensity and outlandishness of his lies underscores the fact that he pays no penalty for them. He says whatever he wants and 90% of Republicans say they believe him even if it makes no sense.
When Donald Trump claims that his (ill fated) tariffs will pay down the national debt, it is pure gibberish and not remotely tethered to reality.
He's even lying about the tariffs working.
We can survive Trump's lies. We'll have to wait and see if America survives Trump's all out war on a free press.
At this point, it's about even money that America will still be recognizable to its citizens come inauguration day, 2021.
No matter who takes the oath that day.
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