Taking on Trump’s war on truth

I’ve read thousands of words this weekend about the new leader of the free world.

And yet, in so many ways, words have failed us.

Even us journalists.

An air of utter disbelief has greeted the Trump administration’s first weekend in power, with extraordinary untruths from his key aides.

ITV News quite rightly made the most of the concept of the ‘alternative facts’ term used by Kellyanne Conway, while the BBC bravely waded into the cackhanded attempt at recreating 1984 by Sean Spicer.

It’s clear this is a deliberate and calculated tactic by the regime to muddy every possible water so that voters view the truth as something that can never quite be known.

When CNN was singled out for particular abuse by Trump a couple of weeks ago, the channel’s rivals didn’t all exactly leap to its defence.

But this weekend, CNN got it right.

It didn’t broadcast Spicer’s press conference live, instead choosing to report it later, after analysing and underlying those blatant rewrites of history.

One of my favourite quotes – from the tireless peace campaigner Martin Niemoller – seems particularly telling here.

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-08-53-38

Journalists – in the USA and beyond – must stand together.

If Trump refuses to take CNN’s questions – or any other media’s – then the press corps should walk out.

If he continues to attack the fourth estate, they should boycott his press conferences – or at least refuse to show them live and unexpurgated.

As we mourn the passing of American journalist Wayne Barrett, who beautifully described reporters as ‘the detectives of the people’, we must commit to follow that mantra.

If we don’t rise to this challenge, we might as well all pack up and go home.

 

The new president may not have started a military conflict yet.

But Trump has launched a war on the truth.

And we must stand together and fight back.

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