In the not-very-good ’60s Broadway musical Man of La Mancha Don Quixote makes a declaration meant to display his profound, imaginative, deeply romantic vision of life. He says, “Facts are the enemy of truth.”
Well, apparently everyone is Don Quixote now.
Today’s New York Times carries an article titled “In News, What’s Fake and What’s Real Can Depend on What You Want to Believe” that says as much.
I’m coming around to the sobering reality that if you’re persuaded that 3 million illegal immigrants in California voted for Clinton or that Clinton is running a child-trafficking ring out of Comet Ping Pong Pizza in Washington, D.C. or that Clinton arranged for the fiery death of an FBI agent who was doggedly investigating her emails … you don’t necessarily think these stories can stand up to the hard-nosed when, where, who, why, and how questions journalists typically ask when they’re reporting them. Instead, you’re impressed by their essential (thank you, Stephen Colbert) “truthiness.” Which means you think if they’re not true, they ought to be.
Sure, a portion of the population really does think they’re factual. I assume the nitwit who shot off a gun at Comet Ping Pong really does believe that Clinton and John Podesta are running a child-trafficking ring from the pizzeria. (Why his first reaction wasn’t to call the D.C. police or the FBI is another matter.) But another, bigger portion hates Clinton with such relish they view the story as a parable or a cautionary tale or a kind of comeuppance. It’s just the kind of thing a shameless lying huckster like her would do, they believe. She deserves to be smeared.
Trump, of course, gets much of the credit for his endless excoriations of “the dishonest media.” But if you’re on the left you probably think that label fits Fox News perfectly.
So I agree with Dave when he says “Trump Voters Weren’t Fooled. They Liked What They Saw.” Whether they keep liking it no matter what Trump says or does remains a crucial open question. Because if they rely on their personal sense of “truthiness” to assess Trump and his claims about his presidency we may be in for a long walk in the wilderness.