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Fabrications have long been a part of American politics. Politicians lie to puff themselves up, to burnish their résumés and to cover up misdeeds, including sexual affairs. (See: Bill Clinton.) Sometimes they cite false information for what they believe are justifiable policy reasons. (See: Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam.)

But President Trump, historians and consultants in both political parties agree, appears to have taken what the writer Hannah Arendt once called “the conflict between truth and politics” to an entirely new level.

Continue reading:  Many Politicians Lie. But Trump Has Elevated the Art of Fabrication.

Commentary by The Secular Jurist:  For those who stubbornly insist that neither the phenomenon of Donald Trump nor countless other disturbing trends represent a worrisome systemic decline of civil society, consider the following (from the article):

In part, this represents yet another way that Mr. Trump is operating on his own terms, but it also reflects a broader decline in standards of truth for political discourse. A look at politicians over the past half-century makes it clear that lying in office did not begin with Donald J. Trump. Still, the scope of Mr. Trump’s falsehoods raises questions about whether the brakes on straying from the truth and the consequences for politicians’ being caught saying things that just are not true have diminished over time.

[…]

Over the past two decades, institutional changes in American politics have made it easier for politicians to lie. The proliferation of television political talk shows and the rise of the internet have created a fragmented media environment. With no widely acknowledged media gatekeeper, politicians have an easier time distorting the truth.

And in an era of hyper-partisanship, where politicians often are trying to court voters at the extreme ends of the political spectrum, politicians often lie with impunity. Even the use of the word “lie” in politics has changed.

[…]

The glaring difference between Mr. Trump and his predecessors is the sheer magnitude of falsehoods and exaggerations; PolitiFact rates just 20 percent of the statements it reviewed as true, and a total of 69 percent either mostly false, false or “Pants on Fire.” That leaves scholars like Ms. Goodwin to wonder whether Mr. Trump, in elevating the art of political fabrication, has forever changed what Americans are willing to tolerate from their leaders.

“What’s different today and what’s scarier today is these lies are pointed out, and there’s evidence that they’re wrong,” she said. “And yet because of the attacks on the media, there are a percentage of people in the country who are willing to say, ‘Maybe he is telling the truth.’”

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11 thoughts on “Many Politicians Lie. But Trump Has Elevated the Art of Fabrication.

  1. Robert, this has always been my concern since Trump declared war on the Media. Our news media has always been the watchdog in any democracy. Trump’s strategy is nothing short of diabolical: discredit the news media and then propagate anything he wishes to label as “truth”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very worrisome situation. To aggravate it, every sector from corporations to churches, has learned to market their message by tapping into peoples’ emotions. No wonder people can’t evaluate or think anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, it is dangerous when media outlets attempt to “normalize” the wildly irrational statements of a psychotic (man baby) manipulator. We’ve seen a regression of cartoon character presidents from Ronnie Raygun to George W. Bush to the current treacherous clown.

    My mind was wandering today and I think people might start using a new verb for bringing lying to a new level – trumping. A new hashtag for twitter could be #StopTrumpin’. (I’m not trying to be funny, by the way).

    Liked by 1 person

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