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Carl Bernstein says Trump uses 'lying and untruth as a basic method'

A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. ...

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 12:34 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2018 12:34 PM

A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

Mr. Misinformation

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Carl Bernstein

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White House

I'd like to kick off this newsletter with some good news. But the overwhelming story right now, IMHO, is President Trump's profound dishonesty, on display all weekend long at rallies and on Twitter.

"In one speech" on Saturday, Daniel Dale says, "the president invented nonexistent riots in California and a nonexistent Democratic policy of giving luxury cars to unauthorized immigrants. Afterward, he touted a nonexistent plan to pass a major tax cut in the next 10 days."

Dale, who fact-checks every word that Trump says, is an indispensable resource right now. He caught Trump's claim that "we are looking at putting in a very major tax cut for middle-income people. And if we do that it'll be sometime just prior to November." A new middle class tax cut?! Congress is not even in session.

For this reason, and a thousand others, I labeled the president "Mr. Misinformation" on Sunday's "Reliable Sources." The segment was all about the plague of smears, scams and lies that still exists on Facebook and Twitter, two years after the "fake news" virus was first diagnosed. The companies are trying to address these problems — but it amounts to an overwhelming game of whack a mole. Here's what Donie O'Sullivan and Philip Bump told me on the show...

Bernstein: "This is a new territory of untruth"

"Look, we have had presidents in the past who have lied. There's no question about that," Carl Bernstein told me. "But what we have never had is a president of the United States who uses lying and untruth as a basic method to promote his policies, his beliefs, and his way of approaching the American people and engaging with the world."

Bernstein's point: Trump's "default position is to use untruth to go toward his objectives."

My question: Are journalists doing enough to document and debunk Trump's dishonest tactics?

Four new examples to examine

-- Much of Trump's talk about the migrant caravan has a conspiratorial edge. A new example: "Democrats want caravans. They like the caravans. A lot of people say, 'I wonder who started that caravan...'"

-- On Friday night, NYT reporter Emily Cochrane asked Trump about evidence for his claims that the "caravan" is full of "hardened criminals." His reply? "Oh please, please, don't be a baby..."

-- Trump tweeted on Saturday night that "all levels of government and law enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD," even though cases of voter fraud are vanishingly rare. "Cheat at your own peril," he said, even though his own voter fraud commission was dissolved in January...

-- WaPo's Glenn Kessler tweeted on Sunday: Trump "tells audiences the opioid bill passed 'very little Democrat support.' The vote was 98 to 1, with only Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) opposing it. The House passed it 393 to 8. Even a rare bipartisan achievement can't be celebrated?"

"Hidden Tribes"

Partisan TV shows and talk radio and social media feeds are popular... but they are poisonous. In this interview for Sunday's show, More in Common co-founder Tim Dixon told me that most Americans are NOT locked in the cold civil war that's taking place on cable newscasts and talk radio shows. Instead,67% of Americans are part of what he calls the "exhausted majority." So what should the media do to represent those voices? Here's what Dixon said...

-- BTW: Dixon's points relate to what Ben Sasse said on "SOTU" Sunday morning...

Read more of Sunday's Reliable Sources newsletter... And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox...

Bruni on "Trump's Perverse Advantage"

Brian Lowry emails: The second half of "Reliable Sources" — specifically, the Bernstein and Tim Dixon interviews — dovetailed pretty nicely with Frank Bruni's latest NYT column, which asked members of the media to provide more context and substance and resist the temptation to cover the "saucier" sideshows of the Trump presidency. It's an appealing thought, but given the nature of the current news cycle, perhaps a naïve one...

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
Montgomery46311
Monroe44412
Adair4418
Monona4352
Worth3630
Fremont3583
Van Buren3585
Lucas3256
Decatur3170
Wayne3007
Audubon2962
Ringgold2112
Adams1702
Rochester
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