By Matthew Michaels
“There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” This quote comes from George Orwell’s 1984.
Charles Manson could tell his followers anything and they would listen obediently and unquestionably agree. A new cult leader has emerged in this country, one far more dangerous and with millions of followers.
Due to his fragile ego, this leader lied about the crowd size and the weather at his Inauguration.
Due to basic ignorance, the leader and high ranking members of his staff have concocted acts of terror in Bowling Green, Atlanta and Sweden. He disregards any information published by well-established, reputable sources, instead deferring to the deranged dribble posted on Breitbart and InfoWars. Intelligence briefings from the CIA are of no use to him when he has Fox News to catch him up.
Scientific fact is not refutable. Statistics are not refutable. When he claims that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese and his followers retweet and repeat, he is doing a massive disservice to the world—to intellectualism, to the scientific community that refutes his claims and to the environment.
When he claims that crime rates in inner cities are out of control and at all-time highs, he spits in the face of mathematics, of cold, hard, reported data and of decades of progress.
Academics have never seen anybody fly into his own modern mythology despite so much information, and with such a following of believers to boot. This man contradicts of easily provable facts and then shrugs off evidence and double-downs on his own faulty claims.
This man feels personally attacked by the media. Anytime CNN calls him out on a lie or The Washington Post decides to fact check one of his rally speeches, he is threatened.
No media outlet is flawless, but to claim that everything it reports is false is dangerous.
To claim that the free press is “the enemy of the American people” is outright wrong and immoral. He has to constantly criticize a free press that wants to keep him in check. He wants to silence dissent, and that should scare us.
This leader can stand at a podium and repeat a fabrication or falsehood with such bravado and confidence that his followers will copy his words with no regard for the truth.
During the primary season, he began calling opponent Ted Cruz, “Lyin’ Ted.” This moniker served to delegitimize anything Cruz said regardless of the truth in his statements. He is likewise doing the same for the honest and mostly well-intent media.
This leader has a history for calling anything that opposes his own stances as lies, even if there is irrefutable proof otherwise.
He has come at odds with competent advisors who disagree with him on anything.
Every day, we watch a man who peddles lies and manages to do so by discrediting news outlets who try to set the record straight.
He calls any source of journalism that uses factual information to discredit his own lies propaganda, while simultaneously publishing his own propaganda that he uses his position to call the truth.
These actions are eerily reminiscent of a mid-20th century European fascist dictator.
The freedom of the press is such a treasured liberty that our founding fathers decided to place it in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
For eight years, conservatives complained that Barack Obama was going to encroach on Second Amendment rights by taking away personal firearms.
Obama did not steal anybody’s gun, but his successor is dangerously close to taking a more crucial freedom, a more urgent right, away from everybody in this country.
In Orwell’s 1984, 2+2=5 became fact despite its obvious mathematical inaccuracies because it was politically expedient for those in power.
They brainwashed the public and made dissent against this statement to be personally dangerous. Thus, a factual wrong became accepted as true. The dystopian novel is becoming too close to reality for any sort of comfort.
Lies cannot be labeled alternative facts. A lie by any other name is still a lie.
We must stand up and call out every falsehood from this man’s mouth or fingertips. We must embrace the truth and investigative journalism.
If we take the freedom of the press for granted, it may soon disappear.