Monday, May 15, 2017

Politico — How Trump gets his fake news

President Trump’s use of Fake News or Alternative Facts, whichever you choose, is dangerous to our democracy. Democracy depends on Americans to make sound judgments about the President, our conressional leaders, and policy. Americans need accurate information to sort out what matters, what’s reliable, and what’s not, which takes knowledge in order to make good judgments.

At the climax of the movie version of The Sum of All Fears, Jack Ryan has learned that Baltimore was just nuked by a weapon stolen from the Israels, not by the Russians. At a check point in the Pentagon, Ryan desperately pleads with a general to let him past a check point, needing to stop the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Russia, who are inching closer to a full-scale nuclear exchange: General, the President is basing his decisions on some really bad information right now. And if you shut me out, your family, and my family, and twenty-five million other families will be dead in thirty minutes! The National Review

Like the National Review’s Jim Geraghty, I too think the quote is pertenent to Politico’s Shane Goldmacher’s story, “How Trump gets his fake news.”

This is how Politico’s Playbook summarizes his story:

"White House chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a stern warning at a recent senior staff meeting: Quit trying to secretly slip stuff to President Trump. Just days earlier, K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, had given Trump a printout of two Time magazine covers. One, supposedly from the 1970s, warned of a coming ice age; the other, from 2008, about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter.

"Trump quickly got lathered up about the media's hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an Internet hoax that's circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it. The episode illustrates the impossible mission of managing a White House led by an impetuous president who has resisted structure and strictures his entire adult life."

The president rarely surfs the web on his own, but his staff have made a habit of slipping news stories on to his desk—including the occasional internet hoax.