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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/2/18

The Two Kinds of Trump Lies

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From Robert Reich Blog


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There are two kinds of Donald Trump lies. One is about facts. The other is about those who call him out on his fabrications.

An example of the first occurred on Sunday, when Trump issued a tweetstorm of lies:

"The Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17 (increased from 13, including an Obama White House lawyer) Angry Democrats, was started by a fraudulent Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC. Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!"

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These assertions have been contradicted by Trump's own FBI director and even by GOP congressional leaders.

It's bad enough when a president of the United States tells the public nonstop lies. It's worse when he impugns those who are pointing out he's wrong -- the second type of Trump lie.

An example of this second category occurred last week, when Trump was speaking to a veterans group. "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening," he said.

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In other words, trust only me.

Trump is ramping up both kinds of lies -- lies about the facts, and lies about those who are reporting the truth.

Both categories of lies are dangerous to a democracy. The first misleads the public. The second undermines the capacity of the public to discover they are being misled.

In the words of George Orwell, "The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."

For those who believe both kinds of lies, Trump (backed by his Fox News propaganda machine) is the only credible source of information. That means he can say anything at all and remain unaccountable.

In escalating his war on the media, Trump is also blocking unfriendly reporters from covering him.

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Last week, newly installed Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins she could not attend Trump's open-media event in the Rose Garden because they objected to her questioning of Trump earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, Trump's increasing attacks on the media are causing journalists to worry about their safety. New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger warned that the attacks were "contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence."

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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