His crazy misstatements continue: The Washington Post editorial board has done something quite unusual.
On Wednesday, in an editorial, they dropped a series of L-bombs on the head of a major White House contender. The hopeful in question is Candidate Trump. Hard-copy headline included, the editorial started like this:
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL (11/18/15): Lying about refugeesThe editors didn't just call it a lie. They referred to Trump's repeated misstatement as a "big lie," with all that the term suggests.
"Our president wants to take in 250,000 from Syria," says Donald Trump, falsely. "Think of it, 250,000 people. And we all have heart, and we all want people taken care of and all of that, but with the problems our country has, to take in 250,000 people—some of whom are going to have problems, big problems— is just insane."
It is not insane. It is a lie. It is a lie that Mr. Trump repeats, even as fact checkers and reporters point out that it is wrong. Not just repeats, but embellishes. Last month, the number was lower: "Now I hear we want to take in 200,000," he said on ABC News. "We don't know where they're coming from. We don't know who they are. They could be ISIS. It could be the great Trojan horse."
We have grown accustomed to politicians exaggerating, sometimes stretching the truth, sometimes fogging it up for effect. But it is disturbing on a different scale to see a U.S. politician repeating a big lie again and again, in a way that is calculated to inflame bigotry and fan fears.
It's quite unusual to see a big newspaper drop L-bombs in this manner. That said, the national press is barely trying to monitor Trump's endless bizarre misstatements.
Let's take this opportunity to revisit Trump's stirring speech, at the second GOP debate, about his insightful opposition to the war in Iraq. As part of his self-glorying speech, Trump said he could "give you twenty-five different stories" about his prescient opposition.
Presumably, he meant there were dozens of news reports about his prescient opposition. He also claimed that the Bush Administration tried to dissuade him from his opposition.
This wasn't a throw-away, offhand remark; this was a lengthy presentation at a major event. But were Trump's statements accurate? At the time, several sites searched for news reports of the type he described without success. Basically, everyone abandoned the matter after that.
To their credit, the Washington Post's Fact-Checker site didn't abandon the matter. On October 21, Michelle Ye Hee Lee reported that "Trump has not responded to repeated requests by us or other media outlets for proof of his early opposition to the invasion."
She also refuted Trump's "baseless claim that the Bush Administration tried to 'silence' his Iraq War opposition." In our view, it's kind of amazing that misstatements of this depth and breadth, delivered from such a major platform, received so little overall attention from the mainstream press.
This campaign has seen dissembling and misstatement carried to new heights or depths. Carly Fiorina's refusals to correct her misstatements about that Planned Parenthood tape were epic and bizarre. That said, have we ever seen as weird a misstatement by a candidate as this misstatement by Candidate Trump at the fourth GOP debate?
TRUMP (11/10/15): As far as Syria, I like—As it turned out, Trump has never met Putin, including on that night, when 60 Minutes featured an interview with the Russian strongman which had been taped in Moscow.
If Putin wants to go in—and I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates, and we did very well that night. But you know that.
But if Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%, and I can't understand how anybody would be against it.
It seems odd to us that such weird misstatements have received so little attention from the mainstream press. It was only four cycles ago when the mainstream press corps spent twenty months inventing lies by Candidate Gore, then feigning outrage about them. Now, when a major party front-runner keeps emitting the types of crazy lies which were falsely attributed to Gore, the mainstream press corps pays them little attention.
The Post did something very unusual when it dropped those L-bombs on Trump's head. That said, candidates like Trump are massively changing the rules of the road concerning truthful statement during the current bizarre campaign.
In a slightly rational world, major organs of the press would be looking for ways to say that. That said, they didn't care about truth during Campaign 2000, and they don't seem to care a lot now.