“Truth isn’t truth.” -Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s Personal Lawyer
What do North Korea, Iran, the United States, Turkmenistan, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Syria all have in common? They’re countries whose Presidents or Leaders are actively trying to get their citizens to not consume information that disagrees with their viewpoints.
And what leaders are most famous for creating mistrust with the press in an effort to become the sole source of truth? Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Trump.
Since the establishment of the United States, facts have been facts. A fact is defined as “a thing that is known or proven to be true.” In other words, “fact” can be interchanged with the word truth. And a fact can’t be a partisan concept unless one side is anti-fact and accuses facts as being lies. And in that case, facts can swing to one side or the other.
And a strange thing has happened during Trump’s presidency which is that facts in America have been consistently attacked as being liberal opinions and not actual truths. This has been an issue during COVID-19, the mask debate, and with many other topics.
And while I’ve become increasingly frustrated with left-leaning media for messing up and not correcting facts during COVID-19, right-leaning media and politicians have been egregiously worse.
Truth/Facts Now Lean Left:
Facts have become a left-leaning concept in America. And the right-wing’s consistent classification of non-partisan, independent fact-checkers as having liberal bias is the clearest example of this (Fox News, DailyWire – now deleted. Washington Examiner, Breitbart, 88% of Trump supporters don’t trust fact-checkers).
If we can agree that sites like the Associated Press (that have always been viewed as non-partisan) are actually non-partisan, then it’s easy to deduce that right-leaning media outlets and politicians accusing fact-checkers of being left-leaning means that facts are no longer a non-partisan concept.
And as a result, this means that if you’re fact-driven then you’ll automatically be classified as liberal/left which also means that there can’t be any fact-driven, right-leaning outlets (something I’ve found to unfortunately be true).
Trump Has Caused Truth/Facts To Move Left And Conservative Politicians/Media Have Followed His Lead:
The reason for the “shift” of the classification of facts is because Donald Trump is a known compulsive liar whose strategy is to attack facts as being lies. According to fact-checkers, Trump has lied more than 20,000 times during his time in office which is astronomically high compared to other Presidents.
The fact that Trump consistently lies about things combined with the fact that the vast majority of Republicans believe that he’s a source of consistent truth is the second very clear example that truth/facts are no longer a non-partisan concept.
An early March poll of 1,635 Americans showed that 73% of Republicans trusted Trump to be honest about COVID-19 while only 11% of Democrats and 26% of Independents felt the same.
And because Conservative politicians and news outlets (i.e. Fox News) have consistently taken Trump’s side on issues, this means that they have also consistently defended lies and attacked facts.
Trump’s Anti-Fact Strategy In Greater Detail:
It’s well known that Trump’s strategy to build loyalty and trust with his supporters is by attacking left and center leaning media as being “Fake News” in an effort to get his supporters to view him and media outlets that support him as the only sources of truth.
This is a classic strategy used by leaders trying to transition democracies into dictatorships. If you attack the truth then you can become the sole source of truth.
By utilizing this strategy, he has created an alternate reality in which, to his supporters, the truth is what Trump says the truth is. And thus facts are no longer a non-partisan concept because Trump consistently disagrees with facts and classifies them as liberal lies.
And if you’re wondering why some traditionally center media outlets are now considered left-leaning it’s because by being fact-driven, they’re now at odds with the right and can no longer be viewed as being neutral.
But Are Fact Checkers Actually Non-Partisan?
Right-leaning outlets like the Washington Examiner point to a study showing that Politifact rates Republicans as lying 3x more often than Democrats as evidence that Politifact is biased.
But this logic is heavily flawed because facts aren’t the middle ground between two parties, they’re the unbiased truth. And if one party is actually lying more often than the other then fact-checkers should reflect this.
But AllSides’s methodology is heavily based upon user ratings which means that their methodology is heavily influenced by the fact that a lot of conservatives now view these outlets as being left-leaning.
As a result of lying and criticizing everything else as lies, it has created total chaos in the minds of many Conservatives and Independents. Where they’ve come to believe that everyone is lying and so you just have to choose who to believe.
But attacking media credibility and the truth is a tried and true strategy of taking down a democracy. And the truth doesn’t lie in the middle, the truth is the truth. It’s time for Americans to start waking up.
Interested In Reading More?
If you’re looking to go deeper on this topic, I recommend How Democracies Die by two Professors of Government at Harvard University or to check out the NYT’s 3-part series on The Worldwide War Against Truth.
Image from EdWeek.