In 2009, President Obama gave his first speech before a joint session of congress. He was famously interrupted by Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina who yelled out “You lie.” He was reacting to Obama’s claim that undocumented immigrants would not receive healthcare benefits, which was true. So you have to wonder where Rep. Wilson was last night while Donald Trump unloaded a truckload of lies.
The speech itself was almost identical to his previous speeches before adoring throngs of StormTrumpers. The only difference was the lower volume and fewer insults and personal attacks. The stream of blatant falsehoods spewed throughout the address were familiar to anyone who witnessed his prior performances (See The Trump Bullshitopedia). For instance:
- We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open.
Our borders are far from open and illegal crossings have declined.
- Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs. The stock market has gained almost three trillion dollars in value since the election on November 8th, a record. We’ve saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic new F-35 jet fighter.
In each of the cases listed, the jobs and investments were announced prior to Trump’s election. What’s more, the companies publicly refuted his involvement.
- As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens.
Plus, he’s also removing mothers and brain surgery patients.
- We are also taking strong measures to protect our Nation from Radical Islamic Terrorism. According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.
What he didn’t say is that none of them were from the seven countries he included in his Muslim ban. Nor did any of them enter the U.S. illegally. Some came with their parents as children.
- Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.
This is highly misleading. That statistic includes millions of people who are retired, students, stay-at-home parents, or disabled.
- Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world. My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.
This is an often repeated lie from Trump. PolitiFact has debunked it three times. The truth is that U.S. taxes on corporations are in the lower-to-middle of the pack. And his tax reforms are overwhelmingly beneficial to the wealthy.
- Obamacare is collapsing.
The Affordable Care Act is achieving record sign-ups. To the extent that it is having difficulties, it’s due to obstructionism on the part of Republicans.
None of these lies are new. Trump has been been telling them throughout his campaign and into his brief presidency. Despite these documented fallacies, the media has been falling all over itself to congratulate the President on his speech. They seem to think that his having stayed on script and sticking to the TelePrompter is an oratory achievement. But just because he refrained from yelling or threatening to throw people out of the room doesn’t mean he’s finally pivoted to becoming “presidential.”
The Media Swoons
Unless, that is, you are an anchor or pundit on television news. Below are examples of how easily swayed our media is by obvious attempts to deceive and serve up propaganda:
- Martha MacCallum, Fox News: We were told this was going to be an inspiring, uplifting speech tonight, and I think he hit the mark.
- Jake Tapper, CNN: It was a much more subdued President Trump than we’ve seen,. It was a speech in which he clearly was trying to reset in a lot of ways.
- Dana Bash, CNN: The most presidential of manners that we have heard from Donald Trump to date, period.
- Brian Williams, MSNBC: Easily the most traditional speech he has given in public life. The most speech-like speech, if you will.
- Anderson Cooper, CNN: It’s without a doubt one of his best speeches that I’ve ever heard.
- Chris Wallace, Fox News: Tonight, Trump became President of the United States.
- Martha Raddatz, ABC: Not only was he more presidential, he was a politician.
- Van Jones, CNN: He did something tonight that you cannot take away from him — he became president of the United States.
What this tells us is that the media still hasn’t learned anything about the Reign of Trump. Either they are in a worshipful haze, or they are desperate to maintain access (ergo, ratings). Trump’s speech, as usual, contained little of substance. He failed to explain how he would achieve any of his policy proposals. Yet he shoveled piles of predetermined applause lines. The most jarring was his exploitation of the widow of a Navy SEAL killed in Yemen. But Trump didn’t disclose that his negligence was partly responsible for the failed mission that also killed thirty civilians, including ten children.
The media need to report the context that allows the American people to fully understand the issues they cover. And until they do they are nearly useless minions of a corrupt administration. It’s rather startling that they so quickly forget how abusive Trump is toward the press. But now that this highly anticipated speech is history, perhaps the press will seek answers to more important matters. Like whether the President conspired with Russia to rig the election. And what other relationships, personal, political or financial, he has with Putin’s dictatorship. Is that too much to hope for?