“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein
There are facts, and then there are opinions. There is truth, and then there are lies. But wait … that is not all! As George Orwell told us in his now-classic book 1984, there is post-truth and newspeak. And this morning, I awaken to a new world where there is also something called ‘alternative facts’.
On December 23rd, I wrote a post, Duckspeak – Part I, in which I said the following:
“NO … OH NONONONONONONO!!! While it is certainly not the most dangerous appointment Trump has made in the past six weeks, it may be the most detrimental to our health and well-being, and it is the one most likely to drive us all to become either ax murderers or alcoholics! Yesterday, da trumpeter announced the appointment of Kellyanne Conway as ‘Counselor to the President’. NOOOO. Do you realize what this means? It means that most all information coming out of the White House will come via Ms. Conway! It means we will be looking at her face on a daily basis, and hearing her ‘newspeak’ explanations that make no sense. It also means she will be, as the New York Times so aptly described it, the “Trump Whisperer”.”
I would like to reiterate those words today, as my prediction has come true. Less than 48 hours after Trump took the oath of office, his mouthpiece, Kellyanne Conway, has given us a new phrase to add to our collection: alternative facts. On Saturday, the day after Trump’s inauguration, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the inauguration claimed “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” This is not true, therefore it is a lie. Fast forward to this morning, when one of Americas bimbos, Kellyanne Conway, appeared as a guest on Meet The Press. Host Chuck Todd asked Kellyanne why Sean Spicer lied … in fact, as is often the case when interviewing Trumpeters, he had to repeat the question several times before getting this answer: “You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.” Todd responded with, “Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.” See interview here.
Alternative facts … what an interesting concept. Let me try this one on for size:
Fact: I am 65 years old, mousy brown hair with more grey than brown, bags under my eyes
Alternative fact: I am 35 years old with nice chestnut-coloured hair, and pretty brown eyes
Fact: It is 1:30 in the afternoon and there is a sink full of dirty dishes awaiting my attention
Alternative fact: It is 8:00 a.m. and the kitchen is sparkling clean
Or how about this one …
Fact: Donald Trump is now the president
Alternative fact: Hillary Clinton won the election and was just sworn in as President of the United States
Well, that was certainly depressing because the first one was disproven as soon as I looked in the mirror, the second was proven a falsehood when I walked into the kitchen to make another cup of coffee, and the third … well, just a dream. Alternative facts, Kellyanne, are nothing more or less than outright lies. It is rather like when your boss said that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. That, I suppose, was an alternative fact. It was a lie, spoken by a ‘man’ who knew that scientists around the globe have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that climate change is a serious threat to our planet AND that the greed of mankind has contributed to this threat. He knew the actual facts, but instead chose to perpetuate his ‘alternative fact’.
Fact: Donald Trump is a misogynist sexual predator
Alternative fact: Donald Trump loves and respects women
I could go on and on and on in this vein, but the fact is that it is an exercise in futility, and it is making me feel sad and ill. Alternative facts are untruths, they are lies, and the danger is that some people will believe them, or at least pretend to, because these alternative facts are what they want to hear, what they want to believe. Alternative facts are a slap in the face to those of us who actually engage our brains on occasion, as it says that Trump and his minions, his ‘team of advisors’, think we are all to stupid to know the difference between truth and lies. They see us all in the same light as the lemmings who have blindly followed him into the pit of hell that he told them was a place of light and goodness. The word ‘integrity’ has no meaning in the upper echelons of our government.
Our only hope is that the Fourth Estate, the press, continue doing their jobs, even in the face of threats and adversity, and keep the public informed of the actual facts. For if they fail to do so ….
Note to readers: Scottish satirist, writer, television director, and radio producer Armando Iannucci wrote a piece that was published in The Guarian yesterday. It is an “open letter to the new president”, both humorous and prophetic at the same time. It is well worth the read, and I encourage you to take a look.