America has just endured a campaign marked by an unprecedented flood of deliberate falsehoods emanating from a presidential candidate. While politicians are notorious for stretching the truth, never before has it been taken to these extremes. If nothing else, Donald Trump gets credit for mangling the truth beyond all recognition (see the Trump Bullshitopedia)
Now we have confirmation from a prominent surrogate that this was a strategy, not merely a character flaw. Scottie Nell Hughes has appeared daily on CNN espousing the Trump doctrine and defending his racist and ignorant outbursts. Like every Trump surrogate, she exhibited no shame when sanitizing his vulgarities and whitewashing his bigotry. Many observers have wondered how she and other StormTrumpers could back him up with a straight face. Wednesday on the Diane Rehme radio show, Hughes cleared up the mystery.
The conversation turned toward Trump’s assertion that “millions of illegal votes” cost him the popular vote. Never mind that there is no evidence to support the charge and that Trump failed to provide any. This is something that he does with reckless abandon whenever he has the urge. And right on cue, Hughes defended him with the same lack of proof. But then then she went further and made a startling confession regarding his political philosophy:
“I hear half the media saying that these are lies. But on the other half, there are many people that go, ‘No, it’s true.’ And so one thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch, is that people that say facts are facts—they’re not really facts. […] Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth, or not truth. There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts”
Good golly Miss Scottie. That may be one of the most brazenly demented claims since Napoleon said that “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” And to be fair, Trump kinda proves that Napoleon may have had a point. However, Hughes is making a blanket statement that things that are demonstrably true do not exist. That explains a lot about Trump’s record of lies throughout his campaign. If there are no facts, then he wasn’t lying when he said there were thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11; or that U.S. corporations pay the highest taxes in the world; or that climate change is a hoax created by China. All of those statements are provably false.
Hughes went on to say that “amongst a certain crowd” Trump’s claims are true, and therefore it’s as good as a fact. She says that if “people believe they have facts,” then they do. Unfortunately for her, by definition a belief is not a fact. Hughes, and the bulk of Trump’s followers, have succumbed to a cult mentality wherein the affirmations promulgated by the leader are regarded as gospel.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
The voice of reason on the broadcast was provided by Glenn Thrush of Politico. He remarked that he had to “pick my jaw up off the floor” before responding. Then he said this:
“There are no objective facts? That is an absolutely outrageous assertion. Of course there are facts. […] I think that what is very revealing – an important thing that Scottie Nell Hughes is saying – is that there are no facts. I think that it is an intended result of this campaign and administration to think that there aren’t any facts. It’s all opinion so we’re gonna sort of manipulate the things that we care about. I believe that the job for the media and civil society now is essentially to say that there are such things as facts. So the line may be drawn here.”
It seems absurd to have to assert the existence of facts. But that’s the world that has been ushered in by Trump and his Legion of Liars. They can’t possibly persuade anyone to support them if they have to rely on reality. Consequently, they are determined to create their own reality and suck the weak into it. Whether or not the media does its job remains to be seen. But they haven’t got much of track record with which to instill confidence. Stay tuned. Or not.