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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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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: 612701

Reported Deaths: 7761
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1270801803
Ramsey53350911
Dakota47466477
Anoka43482465
Washington27810296
Stearns22764227
St. Louis18353320
Scott17763139
Wright16615153
Olmsted13587104
Sherburne1218596
Carver1080349
Clay830792
Rice8300112
Blue Earth772844
Crow Wing691799
Kandiyohi673185
Chisago629955
Otter Tail592687
Benton588298
Goodhue487674
Douglas480881
Mower478834
Winona466452
Itasca463968
Isanti447567
McLeod436661
Morrison429562
Beltrami411863
Nobles411750
Steele401819
Polk391372
Becker390057
Lyon366454
Carlton357158
Freeborn353634
Pine338123
Nicollet335145
Mille Lacs316856
Brown309340
Le Sueur301228
Todd289633
Cass289133
Meeker267644
Waseca241823
Martin237633
Roseau212921
Wabasha20883
Hubbard198941
Dodge19173
Renville184246
Redwood178941
Houston176516
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165323
Fillmore160510
Faribault157820
Chippewa154438
Pennington154120
Kanabec148128
Sibley147710
Aitkin140237
Watonwan13629
Rock129919
Jackson123212
Pipestone117326
Yellow Medicine115620
Pope11416
Murray107710
Swift107718
Koochiching96919
Stevens92711
Clearwater89517
Marshall89017
Lake85121
Wilkin84613
Lac qui Parle76222
Big Stone6134
Grant5958
Lincoln5873
Mahnomen5669
Norman5519
Kittson49222
Unassigned49093
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3504
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
Chickasaw126017
Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
Montgomery106938
Howard105522
Clarke102624
Monroe101533
Keokuk100432
Ida93735
Adair90132
Davis88525
Pocahontas87022
Monona86731
Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
Decatur6649
Fremont64910
Van Buren57318
Ringgold57124
Wayne56623
Audubon53613
Adams3504
Unassigned80
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