Tuesday Reads: Trump’s Dangerous Pathological LyingPosted: April 30, 2019
Everyone knows that Trump is a pathological liar, but the media has normalized his behavior to the point that the lies often don’t get reported anymore. I’m reminded of how the media eventually ignored Ronald Reagan’s wild exaggerations and misattributions of memories, but Trump is much much worse than Reagan.
The noise from wind turbines causes cancer. The wall is already being built. Mothers, in consultation with their doctors, execute their children. These are some of the boldest, most deranged lies Donald Trump has told since becoming the 45th president of the United States. But, as anyone with access to the Internet or TV knows, he’s also told hundreds of smaller lies about everything from not calling Tim Cook “Tim Apple” to the number of people at a Beto O’Rourke rally. And when we say the leader of the free world has told “hundreds” of lies, we actually mean closer to 10,000.
In a truly superhuman feat, The Washington Post has tallied all the “falsehoods” that have spewed from Trump’s mouth and fingers since January 20, 2017, to April 27, 2019. Per the Post, that’s a whopping 10,111 in 828 days. And the situation vis-à-vis the president being a pathological liar is getting markedly worse. After telling a mere 5,000 false and misleading statements during his first 601 days in office, the pace and frequency of the lies has accelerated such that he doubled his bullshit in just a third of the time, telling almost 23 lies a day in the seven-month period beginning in late October, during midterm elections….
According to the Post, between April 25 and April 27, the president uttered 171 false or misleading statements—more than any single month in his first five months in Washington. Assuming that pace continues, with 631 days left in his first term, he’s on track to tell an additional 35,967 lies. But if his obvious mental degeneration continues, it could be even more!
The Daily Beast: America Under Attack by White Supremacists Acting Like ISIS.
The alleged killer at a Southern California synagogue this weekend worked alone, according to law enforcement, but behind him is a sprawling, digital network of white supremacists spurring each other on to murder.
Moments before allegedly opening fire at worshippers in Chabad of Poway on Saturday, white supremacist John Earnest previewed his plans on 8chan, just as his supposed inspiration did. Last month, a white supremacist in Christchurch, New Zealand used 8chan to share a link to a livestream of him killing 50 Muslims at a mosque. In between the attacks, the anonymous forum with a large fascist presence called for people to carry out more shootings. The calls for violence also spread across fringe platforms like Gab, and messaging apps like Telegram. It’s reminiscent of calls online for followers of ISIS and al Qaeda to strike out at the enemy, counter-terrorism experts said.
After the New Zealand shooting, 8chan users decorated the alleged killer as a “saint” and encouraged each other to commit shootings of their own, including against synagogues, to prepare for the “third world war” against Jews, or to kill a journalist critical of the forum.
“As a lot of people have noted over the past few days, 8chan is an awful cesspool of encouraging violence and hatred,” said Sam Jackson, an assistant professor focusing on online extremism at the University of Albany. “That hate and encouragement of violence might be a sort of baseline, background noise, but periodically someone moves from participating in this online awfulness to committing offline actions.”
Those real-life actions appear to have spiked over the past six months, with at least three white supremacists announcing attack plans on 8chan or Gab, before opening fire at Jewish or Muslim houses of worship. Three such attacks—at a Pittsburgh synagogue, a Christchurch mosque, and at the Poway synagogue—have killed a combined 62 people in the past six months.
Trump has given these his blessing with his immigration policies and his lies about immigrants, and his administration is doing nothing to stop the hate and violence of white supremacists. Recently, he even defended his shocking remarks about white supremacist and anti-Semitic marchers in Charlottesville being “very fine people.”
Now Trump is telling outrageous lies that will put targets on the backs of doctors and nurses who provide palliative care for dying infants and their parents as part of his attacks on abortion.
Emily Shugarmaneat The Daily Beast: ‘Bizarre, Dangerous, and Insulting’: Baby Nurses Fed Up With Trump’s Bogus Abortion Rants.
President Trump’s latest rant about babies being executed after birth is riling up neonatal nurses, who say he’s twisted the palliative care they provide for the sickest of infants into an anti-abortion rallying cry that could endanger health providers.
Anna Schmidt, who has worked in a neonatal intensive care unit for five years, told the Daily Beast she was livid when she heard about Trump’s comments at a political rally in Wisconsin on Saturday.
“The families that I’ve worked with, where I’ve handed them their babies for the first and last time, they don’t deserve this kind of thing,” she told The Daily Beast. “They don’t deserve to be vilified or to be called an executioner.”
Trump’s remark was a continuation of his attacks on later abortions, which he describes as “ripp[ing] babies from their mothers’ wombs right up until the moment of birth.” But while abortion providers may be used to such attacks, the president’s latest criticism has rankled a new group of medical professionals—nurses who take care of babies destined to die….
“When a baby dies in the hospital it’s because something has gone very, very wrong,” said Julia Puler, a NICU nurse from Michigan. “I can’t point to a single case study of a healthy term newborn that was executed in a hospital. And the mere suggestions of that is just utterly bizarre and dangerous and insulting, frankly, for anyone who is a health-care professional.”
Hannah Gold at The Cut: Trump’s Lies About Abortion Keep Getting More Disturbing.
During a lengthy speech in which he targeted Wisconsin’s Democratic governor Tony Evers, who has promised to veto a bill that could send doctors to jail for life if they fail to provide adequate medical care to infants born alive after failed abortion attempts, Trump repeated an incendiary — and patently false — claim about doctors “executing babies.”
“The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully,” he said. “And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.”
A terrible lie, which, as many critics have already pointed out, is just the sort of statement to turn his base to violent anger.
Michelle Goldberg At The New York Times: Trump’s Anti-Abortion Incitement. The president’s lies about infanticide could inspire violence.
It’s tempting to ignore the president’s mendacity, since, as with so much of Trump’s malicious propaganda, it’s hard to counter it without amplifying it. Trump’s lies work to focus public attention on issues of his choosing; if Democrats are trying to explain that they don’t support infanticide, Trump has already won.
But leaving the lie unchallenged is also dangerous. Abortion providers are regular targets of domestic terrorism, and Trump’s lies serve as incitement. In 2016, a man fired an AR-15 inside a Washington pizzeria because he believed right-wing conspiracy theories that it was the epicenter of a child sex trafficking ring involving Hillary Clinton. Now the putative leader of the free world is spreading tales about unimaginable Democratic depravity toward innocent children.
It’s not a stretch to imagine an unstable Trump acolyte taking him both seriously and literally. Indeed, it seems that at least one already has. Last week, a 30-year-old Trump supporter named Matthew Haviland was arrested and accused of threatening to rape and murder a professor who supports abortion rights. According to an affidavit by an F.B.I. joint terrorism task force officer, Haviland wrote in an email, “I will kill every Democrat in the world so we never more have to have our babies brutally murdered by you absolute terrorists.” He also made over a hundred threatening calls to an abortion clinic.
Besides their potential to inspire violence, Trump’s words are a cruel insult to parents who have to make agonizing decisions about end-of-life care for babies that are born extremely prematurely, or with serious anomalies. Doctors and mothers don’t choose to “execute” newborns. They are forced to decide, in excruciating situations, when to forgo medical interventions and provide palliative care instead. There are exceedingly rare cases where babies survive an attempted abortion, but federal law already extends the same protection to them due any other infant.
But these responses come from women opinion writers, not mainstream reporters who get much more attention from the public. The normalization of Trump’s behavior has reached the point where political reporters simply dismiss his dangerous lies and often don’t even report them.
President Donald Trump’s rally on Saturday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was an ugly affair. The president falsely accused Democrats of supporting infanticide, called the FBI and Justice Department leaders he’s purged from government “scum,” referred to the assembled media as “sick people,” and even admitted his proposal to punish blue states by relocating undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities was “actually my sick idea.”
The crowd ate it up, at various points chanting “lock her up!” and “CNN sucks!” and booing loudly as Trump demonized his political opponents.
Like most Trump rallies, it was a disturbing and unusual spectacle. But to listen to the mainstream media tell it, it was a completely normal political event.
As Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star highlighted, the headlines major outlets used to describe Trump’s rally completely ignored his lies and incendiary smears. And it goes beyond headlines — in their articles about the rally, CBS, USA Today, the Associated Press, and the Hill failed to so much as mention that Trump pushed a number of false claims.
The New York Times did attempt to fact-check Trump’s lie about Democrats and abortion — Trump accused Democrats of supporting doctors who “wrap the baby beautifully” before they get together with the mother and “determine whether or not they will execute the baby” — but in so doing, the outlet demonstrated it doesn’t really have a vocabulary to adequately deal with Trump.
Instead of calling Trump’s lie a lie, the Times used the euphemism “revived an inaccurate refrain” in a tweet that was widely mocked. The accompanying article goes out of its way to avoid accusing Trump of lying, instead describing him as “reviv[ing] on Saturday night what is fast becoming a standard, and inaccurate, refrain about doctors ‘executing babies.’”
Read the rest at Vox.
That’s it for me today. What stories are you following?