Opinion | Susan Knopf: Let’s keep it real
I just want to be able to switch on the TV, listen to my president and not have to launch into a college-level research project to figure out what, if anything, was true. You know what I mean. Unless of course you’re Republican and have decided Trump is the messiah.
One of the more interesting, but truly sad, things I do each week is answer emails in response to my Summit Daily News column. It is incredible to me how many readers are fact-adverse. The first line of their angry messages is generally, “I don’t know where you get your facts.” Really? Go to the online edition, and you’ll find links for almost every factual assertion. I wish the president’s speeches came with the same footnotes.
There’s something most of us don’t understand about Trumpism. Salena Zito stated it in The Atlantic in 2016: “When he makes claims … the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”
Listening to the president’s speech, as he accepted his party’s nomination, was a moment of despair. Praise to CNN for providing context after about the 100th big fib.
CNN and other legitimate news media agencies have addressed the issue that the president bald-faced lies daily. We’re no longer shocked. In July, his lies and misleading statements numbered more than 20,000. According to Fortune magazine, Trump told “nearly six times more lies in the first 10 months of his presidency than former President Barack Obama did in his entire eight-year term.” His sycophantic followers don’t even bother to check his words. They buy Trump labels: legitimate news labeled fake and fake news labeled true. It’s depressing.
There’s a new book out on the subject: “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.” It’s written by CNN anchor and media correspondent Brian Stelter. I haven’t read it yet, but Amazon quotes a Fox producer as saying, “We don’t really believe all this stuff. We just tell other people to believe it.”
Tuesday evening was more shocking. A parade of people, including former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, told more lies and twisted half-truths. Too many lies to fact check here. I can say unequivocally that I have examined allegations against Hunter Biden and those are baseless. Shame on Bondi for parroting proven Russian propaganda. By the way, U.S. intelligence agencies say Trump is still getting help from Russia. Don’t you wonder why?
I don’t wonder why so many well-respected, long- Republicans are endorsing Biden. The former chair of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele joined the Lincoln Project as senior adviser. The Lincoln Project is a Republican group working against Trump to promote democracy and the Constitution. It’s historic. I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time this has happened in modern political history.
Republicans endorsing Biden include four Republican cabinet secretaries: Obama administration Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell and Environmental Protection Agency Director Christine Whitman, who appeared at the Democratic National Convention alongside former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Former Homeland Security Chief of Staff Miles Taylor told CNN Tuesday night that Trump is “wildly unfit.”
I’m not saying Trump hasn’t done some good. I’m not saying all his ideas are bad. I’m saying, and I believe these Republicans are saying, on balance Trump presents a clear and present danger to the security of the United States. His lies alone have devalued the office and the word of the United States in a global environment.
The Republican National Convention has largely ignored the American death toll from COVID-19. For the record, those attending the Rose Garden speech of the first lady were largely unmasked, distanced just about 2 feet from one another and gathered with about 150 people. It was truly shocking and lacked any leadership.
We all want nothing more than to get back to normal. To do that, we need a president who believes in science. The only way we can fight this disease is to listen to doctors and scientists, and use some common sense. A Republican registered nurse told me she thinks COVID-19 is a global hoax. This is the sad divide promoted by this president. We need a president who will work to promote unity and to earn the trust of all the people.
Susan Knopf’s column “For the Record” publishes biweekly on Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf lives in Silverthorne. She is a certified ski instructor and an award-winning journalist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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