Guest post from Tim Delong
How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?
This was the November 4, 2004 headline in the British newspaper the “Mirror.”
Of course this referred to the second election of George W. Bush, a real “head scratcher” for much of the world as they seemed willing to forgive us for electing him the first time but the second time was more than they could stand. (The outcomes of W’s second term strongly suggest that the rest of the world was correct.)
From the standpoint of most of our best allies, President Obama represented a return to the collective sanity of the United States. His favorability rating has always been high among our allies whereas President GW Bush’s rating was always low – single digits in several European countries when he left office.
Today, it is safe to say that our European allies are appalled that Donald Trump is a serious candidate for president. Germany’s “Dürer Spiegel” has called Trump the most dangerous man in the world. Britain’s David Cameron, a conservative, has referred to his plan to ban Muslims as divisive and not helpful. The French liberal newspaper “Liberation” has described him as a nightmare turned reality. And perhaps worst of all, author JK Rowling called Trump worse than Voldemart!
Britain’s much respected newspaper “The Guardian” has found that there is plenty of material for a weekly column entitled “Lyin Trump: a weekly fact-check.”
2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Paul Krugman, recently weighed in with an editorial entitled: “Donald Trump’s ‘Big Liar’ Technique.” He mentioned the comparison to Nazi Germany’s usage of this technique (according to one of Trump’s wives, he kept a copy of a book of Hitler’s speeches next to his bed) in which “despots and would-be despots” tell lies so egregious that no one would believe they we lying on such a huge scale.
According to Pulitzer Prize winner “Politifact,” Trump lies 76% of the time. In their January poll of Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates, all of the Republican candidates were rated as telling more lies (statements rated as mostly false, false, or pants on fire) by a huge margin, much more than the three Democratic candidates. It is not coincidental that the three leading GOP contenders at the time were also the three leading liars. (Obviously, this says something about GOP voters as well as our news organizations.)
Again, Trump continues to lead in both lying and popularity with Republicans. Again, most certainly not a coincidence.
Krugman goes on to say, “Part of the answer may be that journalists are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of outrageous material. After all, which Trump line should be the headliner for a news analysis of Wednesday’s event? His Iraq lie? His praise for Vladimir Putin, who ‘has an 82 percent approval rating’? His denigration of the American military, whose commanders, he says, have been ‘reduced to rubble’”?
Krugman ends his editorial with the following: “Back in 2000, when I was first writing this column, I was discouraged from using the word ‘lie’ about George W. Bush’s dishonest policy claims. As I recall, I was told that it was inappropriate to be that blunt about the candidate of one of our two major political parties. And something similar may be going on even now, with few people in the media willing to accept the reality that the G.O.P. has nominated someone whose lies are so blatant and frequent that they amount to sociopathy. Even that observation, however, doesn’t explain the asymmetry, because some of the same media organizations that apparently find it impossible to point out Mr. Trump’s raw, consequential lies have no problem harassing Mrs. Clinton endlessly over minor misstatements and exaggerations, or sometimes over actions that were perfectly innocent. Is it sexism? I really don’t know, but it’s shocking to watch. And meanwhile, if the question is whether Mr. Trump can really get away with his big liar routine, the evidence… suggests a disheartening answer: Unless something changes, yes he can.”
by Tim Delong