Monday, January 23, 2017

'Alternative Facts'

On our editorial page Sunday, we talked about the Trump Presidency.

We noted how he rode a strident stream of discord in middle America all the way to the White House.

But that was the campaign.

Now Trump must assume the title - and dignity - of the presidency.

He's not off to a particularly auspicious start.

Saturday, in one of his first public appearances, he spoke to the Intelligence community at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., perhaps in an effort to soothe some ill will created by his comments about the conclusions of the nation's intel experts in terms of Russian hacking into the U.S. election.

But Trump decided that was the venue to once again go on the attack against one of his favorite targets - the media.

Trump ripped into the media for reports downplaying attendance numbers at Friday's inaugural in Washington. Despite pictures that clearly showed fewer people attending than had arrived in town for the Obama inaugurals, Trump instead mocked the media's numbers and basically made up some of his version of crowds on the National Mall "stretching all the way back to the Washington Monument."

Then he dispatched his spokesman, Sean Spicer, to again blast the "dishonest media" for playing fast and loose with the numbers. Spicer held a late Saturday briefing and went after the media, in effect accusing them of trying to "lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration."

When the situation erupted into a full-blown fury, it was left to key Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway to offer this explanation of how Spicer and his boss could get the numbers wrong.

Alternative Facts.

She was confronted by 'Meet the Press' host Chuck Todd about the ongoing debate about the size of the crowds in Washington, in particular Spicer's version, which seemed to ignore the facts. Todd put it a bit more bluntly, suggesting Spicer was simply not telling the truth.

This was her response:

"You're saying it's a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that."

OK.

So much for acting presidential.

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