The current controversy—except there’s no disagreement on the facts, so it isn’t really a controversy—over Donald Trump’s unretracted statement that he saw “thousands” of New Jersey Muslims celebrating the Twin Towers’ destruction on 9-11 is materially different from the other items on the list of his various outrageous insults, vulgarities and misrepresentations. It’s a Big Lie, the device perfected and employed by Hitler and Goebbels, a weapon of totalitarianism. Other American politicians and leaders have dabbled in the technique, of course. I flagged the false accusation that the Republicans “stole” the 2000 Presidential election as a Big Lie; so is the Democratic cant that Bush “lied” about weapons of mass destruction. The “War on Women” is a Big Lie. Birthers are engaging in Big Lie politics—so is Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla), who insists that Ted Cruz isn’t a “natural born” American. The Truthers are Big Liars. Black Lives Matter was built on the Big Lies that Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown were murdered. The current claim, being treated with disgusting respect by journalists, that white America is engaged in systematic black genocide is a Big Lie.
Most of these, however, are really Little Big Lies. They are dangerous and destructive, but not in Goebbel’s league. Trump, however, is using a Big Lie to impugn the patriotism and trustworthiness of a group of citizens based on their religion and cultural heritage, and attempting to stir up purely group-based hate. To hell with Hanlon: this is Nazi Propaganda 101, and deserves to be identified as such directly to Donald Trump’s face.
There is no debate over whether Trump could have “seen” thousands of Muslims whooping it up on TV (like blacks celebrating O.J.’s acquittal for gutting his wife), because no such video was taken, broadcast, or archived. If there were such celebrations, Trump didn’t see them, unless he somehow obtained George Burns’ magic TV from the old Burns and Allen sitcom, on which George was able to see what his wife, friends and neighbors were doing while he chatted with the TV audience. If Trump did see such a non-existent broadcast, he couldn’t have seen “thousands,” unless there was a ’round the state relay, like they do on New Years Eve at midnight, going around the country to show simultaneous celebrations.
Trump didn’t see it. He couldn’t have. There is no controversy.
Yet he still claims he did, and has a team of paid liars telling media interviewers he did. He could have said he was mistaken; he could have said that he confused televised scenes of Muslims abroad celebrating (though not “thousands”) with accounts of some Muslims celebrating in New Jersey, and apologized. He didn’t though. He stuck to a false story after he had to know it was wrong, and that makes it a lie. The fact that the lie tacitly suggests that American citizens of the Muslim faith lack loyalty to their nation and love of their fellow citizens whom they cheered to see murdered makes it a Big Lie.
On “Meet the Press,” Trump’s defense of his statement ranged from the lame to the idiotic. Trump insisted that he saw the thousands cheering and as proof offered that many people called or tweeted him to let him know that they “saw ” the cheering too. Among them may have been Fox Fool Steve Doocy, who said on “Fox and Friends,”
“You know what, I actually remember things like that, ‘cause I live one town away from one of the towns where, according to my neighbors, they saw with their own two eyes, there were people celebrating. I also remember there was video on television. I don’t know if that was from that town or New Jersey.”
So, to summarize, Doocy doesn’t “remember” things that confirm Trump’s statement. He’s using hearsay accounts from his neighbors, who for all we know wear birds nests on their heads, that “people” of an unknown quantity were celebrating. Doocy knows that “there was video” on TV, where there is always video, and he doesn’t know where it was from, but we know that it wasn’t from New Jersey, because no such video ever existed.
In further summary, Doocy is a shameless, Republican-toadying hack who is one more reason Fox has no credibility even when it does important and valid reporting.
Then, after further protests from Chuck Todd, Trump argued that the cheering from Muslims happened “all around the world” so “why wouldn’t it have taken place?” Arguing that there are statistical reasons why something should have taken place is not proof that it did take place (the fact that there should be intelligent life on other planets doesn’t prove that there is), and it definitely doesn’t prove that a particular person saw it take place on TV.
Now, the exchange shows that Trump’s reasoning skills are inadequate, and that he is not too swift. It also shows that he doesn’t comprehend the proper demeanor and care that a President or someone aspiring to be President must demonstrate; as a frustrated Todd said, “You’re running for President of the United States! Your words matter! Truthfulness matters! Fact-based stuff matters!” This is all true, but it is old news about Trump: it is stipulated that he is verbally irresponsible beyond belief. That still doesn’t reach the full indictment of his character that this particular rhetorical misrepresentation embodies. He’s repeating a false account that makes Muslim-Americans appear to be traitors. He is appealing to hate and prejudice, and using a Big Lie to do it.
It’s Nazi stuff, and he should be called on it. One of his opponents should do it. Call him a Nazi, right on TV, and attribute the tactic to Ronald Reagan. He called the USSR evil, it was, and the truth hurt.
Meanwhile, Trump’s surrogates also should cause chills to go up our spines. They are embarrassingly unimpressive both verbally and intellectually—at least Hillary’s paid liars are slick—and the thought that such people would be part of a Trump administration is terrifying. If you think Obama tolerates hollow-eyed ideological hacks, these people make them look like JFK’s cabinet by comparison. There was smirking Katrina Pierson, who drove Brian Stelter of CNN to distraction by making a series of Trumpish arguments, shifting the goal posts by claiming that the mainstream media is trying to deny there are any radical Muslims in the United States. This, of course, is not the issue except for idiots who cannot discern the difference between “not any” and “thousands in New Jersey.” Then she derided the news media for telling Trump and others “they didn’t see what they saw.” This argument is the nonsense, banned on Ethics Alarms, that we all have our own “truths” and nobody should challenge them.
Stelter, by the way, demonstrated that he is not sufficiently intelligent to slam dunk a babbling idiot.
Later, Jake Tapper took on Michael Cohen, who you may remember as Trump’s foul mouthed, incompetent, bullying lawyer who misstated the law (he claimed that a husband could legally rape his spouse) in an interview. I wrote that Trump had to fire him or prove that his claim that he is a tough boss who demands competence and a high level of performance from all employees is as much hot air as everything else he says. Well, Trump did fire him as a lawyer, but then put Cohen on the campaign payroll. The Tapper appearance proves that he is just as incompetent in that role.
Among his other pathetic defenses of the cheering Muslims myth, Cohen said,
“I’ve worked for Mr. Trump now for a long time, and I can tell you that Mr. Trump’s memory is fantastic, and I’ve never come across a situation where Mr. Trump has said something that’s not accurate.”
I have written that I no longer can hold any respect for people who support Donald Trump to be President. This latest pile of steaming offal allows me to complete my categorization of the supporters of each of the four most self-disqualified candidates in both parties.
Hillary Clinton supporters are corrupted.
Bernie Sanders supporters are ignorant.
Ben Carson supporters are naive.
Donald Trump supporters are stupid.