Denying Reality: Trump, Biden and the Growing Accusations of Lying
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Donald Trump keeps trying to convince us that he didn’t lose the 2020 election, that it was stolen from him.
Joe Biden continues to try to convince us that we are not sinking into a recession, regardless of the numbers.
Now, I’m not comparing the magnitude of the two efforts. Trump argues that every lawsuit and investigation — and the testimony of some of his own aides — has been proven flatly false. Biden is engaged in the age-old art of political spin, but with a disturbing twist.
Yet it’s part of a larger picture of a society so divided that we can’t agree on a common set of facts. Die-hard Trump loyalists cannot be convinced that Biden is a legitimately elected president. Fierce Biden loyalists insist that Trump should be behind bars, damn due process and Justice Department decision-making. Both sides have appropriated “the big lie” to mark what their demonized opponents are doing.
TRUMP STILL DOMINATE THE NEWS, BIDEN’S SPARKLING SIDEBAR SPEECH
And the media has long since lost its role as arbiter, widely hated by the right and increasingly suspicious by the left now that Biden is president.
Each has their own channel to reach their base directly via social media (Truth Social in Trump’s case) or personal podcasts. They may ignore uncomfortable questions, accuse their opponents of conspiracy, or say black is white.
News that the Justice Department is investigating Trump — based on leaks in the Washington Post and New York Times, as well as grand jury testimony from two former Pence aides — only raises the stakes. .
In his speech in Washington, Trump devoted the first part to rising crime and how he would combat it, but he couldn’t resist a few references to his stolen campaign trail. “I won, and I won a second time,” he said, and he may have to do it again.
“Never forget that everything this corrupt establishment does to me is to preserve its power and control over the American people,” Trump added. “They want to hurt you in any form, but they really want to hurt me. So I can’t go back to working for you anymore.”
Trump excels at portraying himself as the victim and his supporters as the ultimate losers if he is thwarted.
For a clearer view, here it is on Truth Social after the Post ran the story: “Just more misinformation by the Democrats…Why isn’t the Justice Department prosecuting those responsible? There’s still a lot of time !”
And: “People forget that this is a rigged and stolen election. But rather than going after the people who rigged and stole it, they go after the people who seek honesty and the truth, and have freedom of speech, and many other defenses, on their side! The Department of Justice should look into the crime of the century. The evidence is massive and irrefutable!!!”
It’s a head-spinning situation: the Justice Department is investigating Trump (not fast enough for bloodthirsty supporters), and Trump says the department should investigate those who stole the election (which he failed to even prove a year and a half later).
Now for Biden’s sleight of hand.
In a plan that has been brewing for days, the president and his team want to counter today’s GDP report, which may well conclude that we just went through the second consecutive quarter of negative growth. This is the classic definition of a recession.
Ah, but that would contradict Biden’s repeated insistence that we’re not heading into a recession.
The solution: move the goal posts.
Brian Deese, White House chief economic adviser, was rattled to say that the usual definition is retrospective; things got better. The administration makes its own assessment.
AS BIDEN THINKS EXECUTIVE ORDERS, TRUMP BATTLE PROBERS AND EXPERTS
“We are currently in a period of transition,” Deese told reporters, adding, “Two negative quarters of GDP growth is not the technical definition of a recession. It is not a definition that economists have settled on. traditionally supported.”
Recession? What recession? Go your way, nothing to see here.
Imagine if Trump had said that?
It’s pretty cheeky. Simply using semantics to wish for a recession? We may or may not hit two negative quarters today, but the White House is clearly worried about that prospect, bringing out Treasury Chief Janet Yellen for a rebuttal today.
Republicans dug into this story:
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Deese in 2008: “Of course, economists have a technical definition of a recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth.”
Jared Bernstein, another Biden economic adviser, in 2019: A recession is “defined as two consecutive quarters of declining growth.”
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Washington Post fact checker, responding to Trump’s comments, in 2015: “Two consecutive negative quarters is a standard indicator of an economic recession.”
I thought the media would be more critical, but the reaction has been surprisingly mild so far.
Concerted efforts to redefine reality clearly cross party lines.