by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
No, you don’t have to worry about the Republican presidential frontrunner buying Burger King. His royal status has been bestowed by FactCheck.org, as recounted by Barron’s editorial page editor Thomas Donlan.
As fact-checking grew more common, it became clearer than ever that almost every candidate lied, or at least put such a favorable spin on their stories that nothing could be accepted without a lengthy footnote. Of course, most people don’t read footnotes.
At that point, it was almost inevitable that somebody would see public cynicism as an opportunity, instead of a problem.
In the 2015 stage of the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump used false statements to express fundamental truths about his views.
For example, it’s not true that, as he said, he saw “thousands and thousands of people cheering” in Jersey City, N.J., as the World Trade Center towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. It never happened. It was never on television, and reporters could not find witnesses of the alleged celebration.
American TV did show thousands cheering in several Middle Eastern cities, so Trump could have been confused. But the mistake, if it was one, became a lie after fact- checkers exposed it and Trump persisted, denouncing them. Politically, Trump’s denunciation of Muslims in America underscored his fear of terrorists and his desire to control, suppress, and expel millions of people because some might be terrorists or sympathizers. The lie expressed the fact that Trump feels that way, just as some Americans do.
FactCheck.org recently created a new title for Trump: “King of Whoppers,” citing the 9/11 claim and many more. …
… So far, Trump hasn’t gotten into enough trouble. We’re waiting for his supporters to realize that no cause can be well served by reckless disregard of the truth.
As FactCheck.org and other fact-checkers have observed, Trump is just the king of whoppers, not the only one telling them. The organizations have also highlighted preposterous and mendacious statements by Democrats and other Republicans, too numerous to squeeze onto this page. Readers should visit the fact-checkers’ Websites for details.
All candidates should be judged by their principles—and we should presume they have no principles if they can’t tell the truth about the facts supporting them.