CNN’s Jake Tapper thinks fact-checking Donald Trump is no longer enough — and he’s created an hourlong special exploring the effects on foreign policy, business and the national culture of the president’s compulsive lying.
While news organizations including The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have openly weighed when and whether to call Trump’s misstatements “lies” — a term that implies malice and forethought — Tapper thinks the media is well past the point of giving Trump the benefit of the doubt. His special, therefore, represents a new benchmark in the mainstream media’s adjustment to Trump’s norm-shattering presidency.
In an interview, the 50-year-old anchor admitted he can’t read Trump’s mind. But Tapper also isn’t afraid to ascribe motive when the president repeats a false claim “over and over and over” despite evidence to the contrary. It’s not an honest mistake; it’s a lie.
Take the whistleblower complaint that kick-started the Ukraine scandal. Trump has repeatedly said it’s inaccurate, which Tapper considers a “lie” given that an investigation and testimony have largely corroborated the whistleblower’s claims.
“He’s repeated that so many times that there’s obvious malice of forethought,” Tapper said of the president. “He’s obviously saying this in order to undermine a fact, in order to try to gaslight the country.”
Trump’s dishonesty in the White House has been thoroughly documented. Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler and his team have tallied more than 13,000 false or misleading claims since taking office, while CNN’s Daniel Dale this week highlighted 45 false claims specifically about impeachment and Ukraine. The New York Times counted more than 1,700 conspiracy theories on Trump’s Twitter feed.
But Tapper said he’s trying to go beyond the sheer volume of erroneous and misleading claims in a Sunday 9 p.m. special — “All The President’s Lies” — and address the impact on business, science, international relations and the national psyche. [Continue reading…]