Podzilla 1985

Monday, January 23, 2017

Numbers Don't Lie (But the Trump Administration Does)

The inauguration of Donald John Trump was the biggest event in human history - bigger than the civil rights marches of Dr. Martin Luther King, bigger than the Beatles playing for the first time on American television, and even bigger than the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

President Trump is the answer to all of our prayers to God, even more so than his only begotten son, who was a loser that didn't do as much for humanity in his lifetime as our new savior will do in the next four years.

Say goodbye to all crime, poverty, and the evil Muslims who toss burning American flags at our good Christian neighbors as they tear across this once great country in their quest to bring us to our knees.

Donald Trump is Batman, Superman, Gumby, the Pope, and the entire Marvel roster (except Jubilee) rolled into one. Only he can save us, and now that he is in power we can make America great again™!

And if you believe any of that, you may have just earned yourself a position in Trump's cavalcade of talking heads and alt right puppeteers. Congratulations! I do have some bad news for you though - all of the best positions in the cabinet have been taking by the highest donors.

I know what you're thinking right wingers, alt righters, working class who have lost hope, neo Nazis, and the like - give Trump a chance. The election is over, the bad blood has settled, and now it's time to respect our new commander in chief and see him for what he REALLY is. Not the lie spewing megalomaniac, or the hate mongering caricature of a real human - we get to see the REAL Trump, and we need to give him a chance because we're Americans dammit and we want to see America succeed!

Well, I hate to break it to you, but we did give him a chance. And in the first weekend of his term he's already lost my trust and any hope that his presidency will amount to anything more than I already assumed it would.

The time for jokes are over. The humor is gone. Now is a time of distrust and fear the likes of which I've never experienced in my thirty four years on this Earth, and I'm going to tell you why.

The dishonesty of Donald Trump was never under question in his campaign to become the 45th president of the United States. Well, not by intelligent people, anyway. If you somehow managed to plant your head firmly into the ground and completely ignore the rhetoric that was proven to be lies (which are too many to list here, but the NY Times did a nice write up here), I guess you would still have faith in him, and you should really reevaluate your thought process.

But a simple check of, well, the internet will show you just how much our president likes to stretch the truth. Politifact has a great system to track the honesty of public figures, and their assessment of Donald Trump is that he ranks somewhere between needing a small cricket to keep him in check and having first degree burns below the waist.

We were told that things would calm down after the election, which was a strange way of somehow justifying lying on the campaign trail to get elected in the first place. We are a nation of liars, so it seems somehow poetic than our new leader is the biggest liar of them all. Still, there are plenty of people on both sides who knew Trump was dishonest, and yet somehow convinced themselves that it would change the moment he was sworn in.

And then it didn't.

By this point, I'm assuming we've all seen the pictures of Trump's inauguration crowd compared to Barack Obama's. The difference is huge, as Trump would say, and it definitely does not work in his favor. It's not entirely surprising, as Trump lost the popular vote to democrat Hillary Clinton, so he might not be as popular as the former president.

You may not remember, but Obama was the coolest thing since those sunglasses with the mirrors on each side, and his 2009 inauguration drew in an estimated 1.8 million people. His inauguration event saw three dozen celebrities perform, including musical acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, U2, Beyonce, and more.

Compare that to Trump's, which drew considerably less people and featured today's hottest artists to celebrate God's gift to humanity - 3 Doors Down and Toby Keith.

And, in all fairness, I really like "Here Without You," which America could have dedicated to the Obama's on Friday.

Sure, it's embarrassing for a narcissist like Trump to have less of a crowd than Obama, but it wasn't entirely a surprise. Barack Obama was the first black president in the history of this country, and this was a United States that was starving for change. In the eight years of Obama's presidency we've seen a huge shift towards "everyone," and not just people with the right genitals and skin color. Obama's presidency was seen as progress, and people from all walks of life came out to celebrate it.

No matter how much Mr. Trump wants to spin his victory, he is not the outsider that America wanted. He is not Barack Obama, and his policies don't speak to as many different demographics as Obama's.

But you wouldn't know that if you just listen to the president's staff without looking into it on your own.

In the his very first speech as White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, under direct order from Donald Trump, scolded the press on their inaccurate reporting of the 2017 inauguration crowd. Trump was reportedly furious that his popularity was in question, and that someone had the gall to point out the smaller crowd that he drew for what I'm sure he thought was the greatest day in American history. After all, actor Jon Voigt had just pointed out that Trump was literally God's answer to all of our prayers.

Spicer, without taking questions from the press he was there to address, had the nerve to say that "this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe."

It wasn't.

Both in person attendance and television ratings for Trump's inauguration were well below that of former president Obama. In fact (a word you should never say around Trump), the televised ceremony only drew an estimated 30.6 million for The Donald, compared to Obama's 38 million. Spicer's claims that Washington's metro system had greater numbers on Friday was also proven to be a lie, as it saw 570, 557 entries compared to the 782,000 for Obama during his inauguration in 2017.

There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Trump drew a larger crowd, but that didn't stop the president's new team from clinging to their "alternative facts."

Kellyanne Conway, Trump's top adviser, argued with NBC's Chuck Todd on Meet the Press about the legitimacy of Spicer's claims. When asked about Spicer's blatant disregard for evidence and truth possibly undermining the credibility of the White House, Conway blew the internet away with that new phrase which has taken America by storm.

"Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What... You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that."

If you want to read the entirety of this awkward exchange, and I highly recommend you do so, you can click here.

Saying that Chuck Todd was being "overly dramatic," and in the same interview stating that if we're going to be critical of people in the Trump administration when they lie we need to "reevaluate" their relationship with the media, is just another attempt by Republicans to discredit honest journalism.

Donald Trump has cried time and time again that there is no war on the media. According to Trump, the media is a biased collection of anti-American freedom haters who exist only to try delegitimize his presidency. It's not his questionable picks for his cabinet, or his proven history of lying about everything from policies to crowd sizes, or even the fact that he lost the popular vote by close to three million votes that casts doubt on his legitimacy. It's simply a media smear campaign against the greatest American that has ever lived.

Or, it's something we in the field of journalism call "reporting." It isn't always opinion pieces or partisan stories that drive us, sometimes it's just reporting the facts as they are. Facts - there's that word again. There is no such thing as alternative facts. Alternative facts are just lies skewed to reinforce whatever agenda suits the person telling them.

This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent. No longer should we laugh at the baffling behavior exhibited by the Trump administration. By lying to our faces about something as simple as a crowd size, Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump, and the entire Republican party has declared that truth has no place in this new world that our orange savior has brought us.

If they'll lie to us about that, what's to stop them from lying to us about foreign policy? What about the state of the economy? If "alternative facts" can be used to completely overwrite truth, why should I believe anything that comes from Washington DC?

This is not the time for liberals to make light of the nonsense coming from the right. This is not the time for conservatives to back their guy out of loyalty to party lines when he's lying. And you might not want to admit it, but Donald Trump is lying. He's been lying for years, and now he has the power to destroy this country.

It starts with a lie - a blatant lie in the first ever press conference under the Trump administration. Where does it have to escalate to before we, as Americans first and foremost, decide we will not stand for this kind of conscious disregard for truth, justice, and the American way?

If you're afraid of the truth, and I know the truth can be terrifying, don't worry. The Trump administration will tell you whatever you need to hear to look the other way while they corrupt what really was making America great - progress.

Just today, Sean Spicer met with the press again to make amends for what is quickly becoming the first injury to the Trump administration's stellar reputation.

"I believe that we have to be honest with the American people. I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. there are certain things that we may... we may not fully understand when we come out but our intention is never to lie to you."

You can't disagree with facts. Facts are proven truths.

The only "alternative" to a proven truth is a lie.
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