From ‘Alternative Facts’ to Rewriting History in Trump’s White House

Just two days ago, I wrote a post about ‘alternative facts’, aka lies.  I didn’t plan to revisit the topic this soon, but I came across an excellent editorial written by Jon Sopel, the North American editor for BBC, that confirms my take on the subject and provides some additional food for thought.  I share with you his words …

jonsopelIt is time we sit and talk about truth and transparency.

Every now and then a few disparate things collide, and suddenly you see a pattern. And I don’t want this blog to come across as faux naïve. I’ve covered politics for long enough to know that politicians will try to shape and mould truth to best suit their purposes, to allow them to weaponise the facts that will give them greatest advantage.

And I know that politicians love transparency when it best suits them. But in the past two weeks, a line has been crossed.

Let me start with something seemingly minor. I was listening to the president and Theresa May at their news conference in the Chequers garden when Donald Trump, talking about Brexit, suddenly made the statement that he had predicted the result when he was at his golf course in Turnberry for the opening of his wonderful golf course the day before the EU referendum in June 2016.

I sat up with a jolt. I had been there with him on that trip.

We didn’t arrive until the day after the referendum. He wasn’t there on June 22nd. He was there on June 24th. I pointed this out on Twitter, saying it was a bit bizarre.

Now I can see as a bit of storytelling it works better to claim to have been the visionary who saw what was coming; I can also see that when you’re 72-years-old you might misremember dates and times. Who doesn’t do that occasionally? – although maybe not on something as fundamental as that.

Anyway back to my tweet saying the president was factually incorrect. Straight back shot Stephanie Grisham, who is the first lady’s director of communications, but more importantly at the time was Donald Trump’s press person for the trip to Turnberry.

She told me on Twitter the president was right to say what he had said – and she had the photos to prove it.tweet-1So we produced the tweet from the president on the 24th saying “Just arrived in Scotland…” and from her saying that she had just arrived in Scotland.

Someone else found the flight manifest, confirming that the Trump private jet had arrived on the 24th. I fully agree a storm in a teacup. This is not the sort of thing on which world peace hinges.

But I struggle to fathom Steph’s motives. Why did she go wading in to defend a lie? And why when the proof was provided that she was incorrect did she not just say “fair enough – my mistake”.tweet-2.pngPsychology has a rather good word for this – “gaslighting”.

This is the Wikipedia definition of it: Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilise the victim and delegitimise the victim’s belief.

From Chequers we now go to Helsinki, and another extraordinary news conference this time with Vladimir Putin. The whole thing was slightly surreal, made more so by the guy sitting next to me being yanked out by the Secret Service after it became clear to them he was planning some kind of protest during the news conference.

During the course of the Q and A, Jeff Mason from Reuters was called to ask a question. He wanted to know whether Putin had wanted Donald Trump to win the 2016 presidential election and had directed any of his officials to help him do that?

Vladimir Putin didn’t hesitate: “Yes, I wanted him to win because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal.”

It was quite a moment. But then I saw a tweet that Donald Trump put out yesterday to protest about how tough he was with Russia, which read:

“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”

So I referred back to what Putin had said in Helsinki a week earlier. But here’s where it gets super murky. All reference to that exchange between Mr Mason and the Russian leader has been omitted from the official White House transcript. In the official record it doesn’t exist.

Just a clerical transcription error? Well maybe – there is some confusion over the translation, but maybe it would be good to correct the record.

Now for another random event which happened yesterday. The White House has said that it will no longer provide information about when the president holds conversations with foreign leaders, as it has always done hitherto.

The accounts of the chats may have been anodyne and terse, but they were a useful tool to keep track of foreign policy priorities. And it was always useful to compare and contrast what, say, the Kremlin would have to say about the conversation compared to the White House. Now we will no longer be able to do that.

And so to the final thing. Donald Trump was speaking at a rally in Kansas City. And he came out with a memorable phrase that sounded as though it had been lifted straight from George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. He said: “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”

Or it is. There is just a concerted – and sometimes it would seem – systematic effort to make you think otherwise.

Forget alternative facts. This is rewriting history.

If anything … anything at all … that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth is true, then I am the Queen of England.  ‘Nuff said.

43 thoughts on “From ‘Alternative Facts’ to Rewriting History in Trump’s White House

  1. I will say “Thank-you” for this post at the beginning of my thoughts. This post provides undisputed truth about facts, something that is NEVER heard from Trump…truth or facts! I am so weary and disheartened by the constant barrage of lies, that make my morning coffee bitter. Not because the coffee is bitter, but because of the taste in my mouth from the bile the barrage of lies produces. I may overdose on Zantac! After reading the part that states “the White House has said that it will no longer provide information…” I thought, that will reduce him having to think of some lies and eliminate our knowledge of some. If, you or your followers have not read the July 25, 2018 New York Times Opinion Today piece by Charles M. Blow titled “What Doesn’t Kill Him Makes Him Stronger” about Trump’s lying, I recommend it. Thank-you, again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • First off, Miss Ellen, you are absolutely NOT to overdose on Zantac or anything else!!! We need you to help keep this fight going, and Benjamin needs his Gem. That said, I fully agree with you … it does leave a bad taste in our mouths. Perhaps that is why I have a diminished appetite — nothing tastes right! Yes, that decision to stop providing information about his calls with foreign leaders bothers me greatly. Remember, too, that shortly after taking office, he stopped public access to the White House visitor logs. All very suspicious, if you ask me, but my republican friends say I am jumping at shadows. No, I didn’t read Blow’s OpEd, but will do so now. Thanks for the heads-up. Now put that Zantac away and go play with Benjamin!!! Hugs, my friend!

      Like

      • For clarification…proper Zantac dosage is one 75 mgm tablet twice/day and it is not working. Hence, increasing to two tablets twice/day. This is a clinically safe dosage. However, to my knowledge Zantac is not life threatening, even if many are ingested. It would probably only dry up every drop of acid in my stomach as it is an H2 antagonist (histamine blocker). Even were I to consider a vast consumption, my hyperactive gag reflex would save the day! I am touched that you were concerned, but suicidal over Trump…please, not bloody likely! Thank-you! P.S. Benjamin is off on another vacation since yesterday, until Sunday evening. Only the cats are here to entertain me!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ahhhh … my bad! I jumped to a conclusion where I shouldn’t have. In my current humour, it seemed a logical conclusion :/ The young lad gets around these days! The beach again? I didn’t know you had cats … how many? Have a great weekend, my friend! Hugs!!!

          Like

  2. I have a simple solution – just assume that every word out of the POTUS’ mouth and every statement from his Administration is a lie. Works for me. If they want that kind of world, I can adjust because I know the truth in which I live..

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is the second reference to ‘Gaslighting,’ in as many days.

    This term has invidious overtones of the totalitarian communist state. Gas lighting has been used throughout history to convince dissidents and truth seekers that they are insane an imagining things. Then they are not believed by the masses.

    I think we should be very afraid of the lies being currently bandied about. Terms like ‘fake news,’ and ‘be careful what you read,’ are terms designed to make us doubt the truth.

    I think we are all being sent down the rabbit hole.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right, my friend. The question is … how do we change it? Voting in November, certainly, but I strongly fear that won’t be enough. Actually, I fear the November election may not be a fair election at all. Sigh.

      Like

      • Unfortunately, the Trump spin has a lot of American’s confused. And, well, from this side of the Pond, the Democrat leadership looks painfully inadequate to fight the GOP off. You need a small miracle to change those odds.
        I am amazed that Trump is surviving all the blatent and very public lies he spouts…someone really must want him to stay as President. And that someone must be behind the scenes pulling invisible strings that the general public do not see or even suspect. For things to change there, you need some brave reporter to get beyond the media blockade to expose the corruption.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are quite right about the Democratic Party … I sometimes think they are still in shock over the loss in 2016, for they really don’t seem to have pulled it together very well. I don’t even see a real strong contender for the 2020 election. You are surprised and so am I. Any other presidency would have been doomed a thousand times over by such antics as Trump’s ignorance and lies have led to. But he seems to be teflon-coated. Remember back during the campaign when he said he could literally stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and he wouldn’t lose followers? Apparently he was right. But, like you, I have to question … how? Why? There are real people, some actually well-educated, who think he is the best thing to have happened to this country since before WWII. Sigh.

          Like

  4. Right out or Orwell. He called it “Newspeak.” The idea is to eradicate any notion of the truth except that which those in power choose to tell us. Everything else is dismissed out of hand with a derisive term — in this case “alternative facts” or “false news.” We must fight against it every day.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hi, Ms Queen. Should I be bowing at your feet? Or jumping up and down wearing a jester’s outfit? What is it you require of your humble servant? I can rewrite history if you need me to, say black is white and white is black. Blow your nose and I will wipe your butt if you so command.
    Or am I to correct all your mistakes? Tell you when you mispeak? Point out all your alternative facts? Ensure your people know the truth? Oh, you would prefer I not do those things? Yes, ma’am, I will do as you command.
    Oh, by the way, I quit. No need to fire me. I prefer to remain honest to myself. I do have my dignity to uphold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jill, when you go out of your way to defend a liar in a lie, makes you a liar as well. His weak and fawning Helsinki over shadows a disgraceful episode in the UK. He insults his host, which is poor form for any kind of guest, then says he was misquoted. His comments were recorded and the newspaper stood by its story. To her credit, Theresa May handled the press conference with dignity. But, rest assured, she remembers what the US President did. The same goes for Senators Graham and Durbin who worked out a deal on DACA in the early morning , then we’re knifed in the back when they arrived at the White House. They also remember,

      The man can change his story, but people remember when they get screwed. Keith

      Liked by 1 person

    • You make me laugh, my friend!!! Now, I will wipe my own nose and butt, thank you. However, I think I would take great pleasure in seeing you jumping all about in a jester’s outfit! So, if you don’t mind, before you resign your position would you amuse me by doing the jester thing? Thank you. Um … you say you have your dignity to uphold, but after the thing in the jester’s outfit, perhaps not? 😀 Thanks for the chuckle!

      Like

      • Putting on a jester’s costume, knocking on the White House door… Waving my hands in the air, jumping up and down, doing acrobatic stunts, looking out through my bent legs at an upside fown world… Straightening up, wiping the smile off my face, handing in my letter of resignation, turning my back, walking stiffly and briskly away… Glad that I have performed my last trick… Unbelieving that I was actually asked to lie… How little anyone knows me…

        I rush to the Washington Post, offer my story for a whopping price… Do a tell-all show on CNN… Divulge everything I know… Get arrested as a matertial witness… Get shot by Jack Ruby III as I am being taking to my arraignment… Die before I ever get to court to witness under oath… New conspiracy, who had rg shot and why??? The Deranged Troothsayer gets off scot free… Was my martyrdom worth it??? I end up burning in hell for not successfully Stumping Da Trump…

        Liked by 2 people

          • No feeling awfu, Jill, I never saw it coming either… But since I am an atheist, I do not believe there is a hell, unless it is working for Dumpy. That has to hell, unless you get off on stepping on people or nature to make yourself feel good… For those, I propose we make a “hell on earth” for them to live in, maybe roasting them over a tar fire, the spit being far enough above the fire to ensure slow-roasting… How would thst sound for Huckabee and friends?

            Liked by 1 person

I would like to hear your opinion, so please comment if you feel so inclined.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s