But our “press corps” no longer cares: We don’t know when we’ve seen a campaign with so much apparent lying. But how odd!
In 1999 and 2000, the press corps built an entire campaign around the way they hate it when a candidate lies! Indeed, they hated one candidate’s lies so much that they invented this candidate’s lies, then agreed, as a group, to pretend that he had said them!
They kept it up for two solid years, sending George Bush to the White House. Today, open lying seems to surround them. But our “journalists” no longer care!
What kinds of apparent lies do we mean? For today, forget about Carly Fiorina crazily doubling down on her claims about that Planned Parenthood videotape, as she did yesterday on Fox News Sunday. (Emphasis on “crazily.”)
Forget about all the crazy things Trump said in 2011, when he sent his research team to Hawaii to check on Obama’s birth. The crazy claims he made at that time are highly relevant again, but our journalists have agreed to pretend that they never occurred.
Forget the “hundreds of thousands” of veterans who belong to that veterans group which endorsed Trump last week—the veterans group which doesn’t exactly seem to exist. Forget the ridiculous stupid shit Trump said about vaccinations. Forget the six lives which apparently weren't really lost in the search for Bowe Bergdahl.
The press corps is working extremely hard to ignore the mountains of nonsense flying around their heads. But today, for one remarkable example of an apparent lie, consider what Candidate Trump said last week about his opposition to the war in Iraq.
It happened in last Wednesday’s debate, with the whole world watching. Responding to a question from Hugh Hewitt, Trump went into great detail about the brilliant foreign policy judgment he showed back then, in real time:
TRUMP (9/16/15): I have to say something because it’s about judgment.Trump was blowing his horn again, quite hard and in detail. Here’s the problem—his elaborate claims don’t seem to be accurate.
I am the only person on this dais, the only person, that fought very, very hard against us—and I wasn’t a sitting politician—going into Iraq. Because I said going into Iraq— That was in 2003, you can check it out, check out—I’ll give you 25 different stories.
In fact, a delegation was sent to my office to see me because I was so vocal about it.
I’m a very militaristic person, but you have to know when to use the military. I’m the only person up here that fought against going into Iraq.
I would like—and I think it’s very important. I think it’s important, because it's about judgment. It’s about judgment.
I didn’t want to go into Iraq, and I fought it. Because what I said— What I said was you're going to, you’re going to destabilize the Middle East, and that’s what happened.
Trump said he could “give us 25 different stories” about the way he opposed the war in Iraq. Presumably, that meant he could show us news reports to that effect.
Using Nexis, we can find exactly zero reports to that effect. In this post at BuzzFeed, Andrew Kaczynski had the same problem, although he didn’t state the nature of his search.
At the Washington Post’s Fact Checker site, Glenn Kessler cited the BuzzFeed post. Unfortunately in our view, Kessler included a wet, irrelevant noodle from Kaczynski’s report:
KESSLER (9/17/15): Trump claimed that there were “25 different stories” demonstrating his opposition, but BuzzFeed News reported that an extensive review could not turn up any statements by Trump [before] the invasion in March 2003. However, the week the war started, he was quoted by The Washington Post as saying “the war’s a mess.” But apparently he also told Fox News that because of the war, “I think the market’s going to go up like a rocket.”Was Trump quoted in the Washington Post saying, “The war’s a mess?” Yes he was! But as Kessler notes, the statement came almost a full week after the start of the war. And in his full statement (see below), Trump explicitly referred to events which had gone wrong that day, as the drive toward Baghdad stalled.
Just so you’ll know, Trump’s statement was included in a silly, fluff-filled report about random comments celebrities made at the Vanity Fair post-Oscar party. According to Nexis, it was Trump’s only recorded comment on Iraq.
Just to give you a sense of the seriousness of Trump's fight, the headlines on the piece said this: Hollywood Partyers, Soldiering On/War Dampens but Doesn't Deter Ritual:
BOOTH (3/25/03): Donald Trump, with Amazonian beauty Melania Knauss at his side, pronounces on the war and the stock market: “If they keep fighting it the way they did today, they're going to have a real problem.”That was it! Within the Nexis archives, that was Trump’s only recorded remark concerning the war. He is recorded making zero comments in the months preceding the war.
Looking as pensive as a “Nightline” talking head, the Donald concludes, “The war's a mess,” before sweeping off into the crowd.
Did Nexis miss the 25 different stories? We have no idea!
Trump’s elaborate statement at last week’s debate has the look and feel of a lie. But so what? His claim has occasioned almost no challenge, correction or push-back from the overfed, zombified remnants of the American press corps.
In 1999 and 2000, they spent two years savaging Candidate Gore for a series of “lies” they themselves had invented. In the past week, they’ve been working hard to see no evil as a string of highly peculiar claims go flying past their ears.
Did Candidate Trump make that story up? Truth to tell, the press corps doesn’t care! Nor do they care about Fiorina’s borderline crazy conduct on Fox News Sunday. They only seem to care about the “lies” they invent themselves!
On Morning Joe, Mika was working hard to cover for Trump again today. We’ve never seen so many apparent lies—and so little interests in traditional fact-checking.
In our view, Chuck Todd embarrassed himself when he spoke with Trump on yesterday's Meet the press. So did Chris Wallace when he spoke with Fiorina.
The misstatements are coming thick and fast. Our Potemkin journalists don’t seem to care. Can Candidate Trump actually show us those “25 different stories?” There is no sign that any journalist is going to bother to ask.
Has their behavior ever been so thoroughly faux? We’ll spend the next several days examining this topic.