Love him or hate him, James Comey nails it. On the first page of his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” Comey clearly lays out the problem of living in our post-truth era.
“We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized, and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded,” wrote the former FBI director. "This is not just happening in our nation's capital, and not just in the US. It is a troubling trend that has touched institutions across America and around the world—boardrooms of major companies, newsrooms, university campuses, the entertainment industry and professional and Olympic sports."
The post-truth era makes a PR person long for the good old days of “spin,” where facts were repackaged to appeal to an audience’s emotions or instincts to prompt group action. Spin, at least, had facts at its core.
Donald Trump, of course, is the ringmaster of the circus of deceit and confusion.
The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker blog reported May 1 that the president made 3,001 false or misleading claims in his first 466 days of office.
Perhaps feeling more comfortable (or desperate) in the job, the president has stepped up the pace of falsehoods, according to the WaPo. Trump averaged 4.9 bogus claims daily during his first 100 days. That jumped to 6.5 claims daily during the 466-day period.
Trump is a firm believer in the Big Lie theory, where the falsehood is repeated again and again.
The Post reported the president has made the same 113 false claims at least three times. They include whoppers such as he passed the biggest tax cut in history (actually it was the eighth largest) and that the Democrats really don’t care about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Trump killed.
Comey, who may have the best insight into the mind of Trump, told CNN last month that Trump makes a “series of assertions about the great things that he has done” and they just “wash over you like a wave and even if you disagree the waves keep coming.” He numbs people into submission.
In Comey’s view, it’s pointless to try to correct every exaggeration that flows out of Trump’s mouth because you would be constantly interrupting him.
The former G-Man is wrong. That’s just what the nation needs.
My grandmother used to threaten me that she’d wash my mouth out with soap if I ever lied. The White House could use a shipment of soap right about now.