Donald Trump’s relentless campaign against the free press has been in progress for a couple of years now. At every opportunity he disparages news organizations and reporters as dishonest, corrupt, sleazy, and even called the media“the enemy of the American people.” It’s a transparent attempt to make people distrust what they see and read in the press so that any bad news about Trump is dismissed as fake.
Earlier this week Trump posted a proposal on Twitter to have a contest to determine the most dishonest television network. How ironic that the former reality TV game show host thinks this would be an appropriate method of establishing journalistic credibility. Needless to say, his proposal was somewhat skewed by his prejudices:
We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!
Let’s just set aside his delusional suggestion that he is our favorite president (He’s not). The idea of competing for a fake news trophy is as silly as any of the childish notions that infect Trump’s cartoon brain. Nevertheless, it was taken up by Trump’s favorite pollster, Rasmussen Reports. Rasmussen is a notoriously right-wing outfit that exists to provide biased data to Republicans and conservative political operations. Which makes the results of this survey all the more interesting.
Rasmussen asked the respondents which network should win the hypothetical Fake News Trophy postulated in Trump’s tweet. They ignored his insistence on leaving Fox News out of the competition. And the results point to why that might have been. According to Rasmussen:
“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 65% of Likely U.S. Voters consider fake news a big problem […] But 40% of all voters think Fox News should be the winner of the first annual Fake News Trophy.”
So Fox News was the runaway leader in the Fake News pageant. A distant second place went to CNN with only twenty-five percent of the vote. Rounding out the field were MSNBC with nine percent, and ABC, CBS and NBC each received less than 5 percent. The partisan breakdown by party was also notable. Not surprisingly, a majority of Democrats (53%) voted for Fox News to take the honors. However, a sizable chunk of Republicans (24%) felt the same way.
This poll affirms what many previous polls have found. Fox News is not regarded as a credible news source. And despite Trump’s attempts to smear the media, most Americans continue to trust the press more than they trust the President. It’s not even close. Trump’s record of distortions, dodges, and deliberate lies has demonstrated his malice for the truth. Or worse, his inability to distinguish truth from lies, or reality from delusional fantasies.
Considering Donald Trump’s increasingly bizarre and disturbing behavior, this seems like a good time to revisit an article posted here a year and a half ago. Trump continues to exhibit signs of mental infirmity. He is posting overtly bigoted tweets. He is reasserting his birther beliefs that President Obama’s birth certificate is fake. He is now claiming that the admissions of sexual assault that he made on video to Access Hollywood, which he previously acknowledged and apologized for, are not him.
These and numerous other examples of aberrant behavior suggest a serious cognitive failure. And people are noticing. It’s not just Kim Jong Un who called Trump an old dotard. Trump insiders are confiding that he may be in the early stages of dementia. All of which affirms these points made last year that asked whether Trump is suffering from delusional senile dementia. We report. You decide:
News Corpse, February 17, 2016
Watching the very public meltdown of Donald Trump over the past few months could serve as a useful tool for academic research into dementia and brain disease. When looking objectively at the symptoms commonly associated with dementia it is hard not to consider Trump a likely candidate for such a diagnosis. What follows is an exploration of the three most prominent symptoms of dementia and their relationship to Trump’s behavior.
From the very beginning of his of campaign for the Republican nomination for president, Trump engaged in outbursts that were hostile and irrational. His assertion that the immigrant population in the U.S. was the result of Mexico sending over rapists and murderers was untethered to reality. And that was just the first day. Trump went on to disparage Sen. John McCain, saying that he was not a war hero; he charged that Megyn Kelly’s questions during a Fox News debate were unfair because she was menstruating; he proposed a ban on all Muslims from entering the country; he had a prominent Latino journalist ejected from his rally; he told a reporter that he isn’t bothered by comparisons to Hitler; and most recently he has been threatening to sue Ted Cruz in order to challenge his citizenship and eligibility to serve as president.
Trump’s birtherism with regard to President Obama is another illustration of a severe mental failing. There has never been a single bit of information that showed anything other than that Obama was born in the U.S. to a U.S. citizen. Nevertheless, Trump continues to doubt the truth of this. A few years ago he claimed to have sent investigators to Hawaii and that what they found was amazing. He has since refused to reveal what they found, or even to discuss it.
These are all examples of behavior that is inconsistent with rational judgment. They have no basis in fact and cannot be portrayed as constructive methods of expressing oneself. Those who would argue that Trump’s showing in the polls validates his conduct are missing the point. Regardless of the result, these actions are not indicative of a rational mind. While it’s true that Trump has attracted a following, the same was true for Charles Manson and Jim Jones and Sarah Palin, yet no one could plausibly argue that their judgment was unimpaired.
Trump has frequently bragged that he has“one of the best memories of all time.” However, that boast has been utterly demolished by his own words and actions. One notable example was his insistence that he had seen television reporting of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. That was an invented memory because there is no evidence that it occurred, despite the fact that television footage of such an event would be easily retrievable.
Trump’s memory was also noticeably deficient when he recently began hammering Ted Cruz as a “nasty guy” and “the single biggest liar” he ever met. Just three months ago he was lauding Cruz and floating him as a possible VP pick. Similarly he once praised Hillary Clinton as a “terrific” woman and a great Secretary of State. Now he is saying that she was the “worst Secretary of State in history.” And as for President Obama, today Trump tweeted that he is “perhaps the worst president in U.S. history.” But this is what he wrote in his book “Think Like A Champion:”
“What he has done is amazing. The fact that he accomplished what he has—in one year and against great odds—is truly phenomenal.” […]
“Barack Obama proved that determination combined with opportunity and intelligence can make things happen—and in an exceptional way.” […]
“His comments have led me to believe that he understands how the economy works on a comprehensive level. He has also surrounded himself with very competent people, and that’s the mark of a strong leader.” […]
“He’s totally a champion.”
Clearly Trump has either a failing memory or mental blocks that render his memory unreliable. Many other examples exist. For instance, he said he couldn’t remember a disabled reporter that he disgustingly mocked, but they had met many times; he threatened to sue Cruz three days after he promised that he never would; he complained that the media never reported a comment by Jeb Bush and seconds later, after Bush denied the charge, Trump defended himself by saying that the news reported it ten times.
This is perhaps the symptom least in need of elaboration, but here goes anyway. Trump is the most juvenile presidential candidate in this nation’s history. He lashes out with infantile insults about people’s looks and character. If he is criticized he will punch back with baseless, often unrelated, rebuttals. And that’s when he isn’t throwing tantrums like when he ditched the Fox News debate. Everyone who doesn’t exhibit unrestrained adoration is an enemy who is out to destroy him.
Trump has the ego of a four year old who believes the world revolves around him. The parts of his campaign stump speeches that aren’t attacks on his rivals are comprised primarily of bragging about how great he is at everything and how high his poll numbers are. The rest of his rhetoric, when put through the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, scored at the third grade level. Of course, that’s probably still somewhat higher than most of his Tea-vangelical supporters.
When all of this is taken into account, it seems obvious that there is a problem here that requires attention. Every day Trump validates the notion that he is mentally challenged and unfit to perform the duties of the president. His immature outbursts, his brazen narcissism, and his faulty cognition, are all indications of senility. And if any further proof were needed, take a look at this animated recreation of Trump on the campaign trail: