The press needs to sandwich Trump’s lies between thick slices of reality

Margaret Sullivan writes:

Last week was a particularly rough one for journalists and truth-seeking citizens.

President Trump declared the news media the nation’s worst enemy. And time after shocking time, his acolytes demeaned or threatened reporters for doing one of their most basic jobs: asking questions of those in power.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a reporter in North Korea that it was “insulting and ridiculous and ludicrous” for him to be asked about details of the verification process for the vaunted denuclearization.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale suggested taking a CNN reporter’s credentials away after he shouted a question at the president.

It was ugly. Even uglier than usual.

And the president’s anti-media campaign is convincing at least some citizens that journalists have no worth.

Enter George Lakoff. An author, cognitive scientist and linguist who has long studied how propaganda works, he believes it’s long past time for the reality-based news media to stop kowtowing to the emperor.

“Trump needs the media, and the media help him by repeating what he says,” Lakoff said.

That would be okay under normal circumstances, he told me, but “this situation is not normal — you have a sustained attack on the democracy and the news media.”

Unlike those who insist that what the president says is news and therefore must be reported, Lakoff proposes a radical reimagining of how the news media reports on Trump.

Instead of treating the president’s every tweet and utterance — true or false — as newsworthy (and then perhaps fact-checking it later), Lakoff urges the use of what he calls a “truth sandwich.” [Continue reading…]

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