I’ve noticed that with increasing frequency, news outlets are adopting a common ploy among pundits. This may be because “news” outlets have given up all pretense of objectivity during the years following Trump’s election. Today, naked partisanship is the order of the day, so it is not uncommon for news outlets to make their editorial slant abundantly clear. They do not like Trump, they wish ill on Trump, and anything they can say or do to hurt Trump they will gladly say and do.
Trump has called the “lying press” the “enemy of the people,” and he is not wrong. The same “lying press” tried to twist Trump’s words into some kind of Nazi statement, because of course they did. Trump can utter no sound, can speak no word, can trip over no discarded Lego brick and utter a grunt of mild surprise, without being accused of “dog whistling.” When you constantly hear “dog whistles” in another person’s speech, it means that you desperately, ardently want to accuse them of racism, but they have said nothing that actually is racist.
You therefore use your Racist Decoder Ring™ to divine, in their words, hidden racism, to coded evil. Your psychic powers can then lead you to other such revelations. The targets of your accusations, because they haven’t actually done anything, will be powerless to refute your meaningless libel.So it is that the operatives of the left-wing press, who truly do behave as if they deserve the label Trump has bestowed on them, continue to malign and attack Trump in a twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week vitriol cycle that has not stopped since before Trump moved into the White House.
Most commonly they’ll beg the question by assuming the truth of the conclusion they wish to assert. Trump will tweet something they wish to interpret as racism. They’ll assume the truth of the premise; they’ll publicly announce, in news outlets, that his tweet — his subjective tweet, which is open to interpretation — naturally IS racist. They’ll demand to know why Trump won’t denounce his “racist tweets.” They’ll go on to repeat the phrase, “racist tweet, racist tweet, raaaaaciiiiist tweeeeet” like so many sheep, hoping to poison the minds of the hapless airport travelers who at one time were a captive audience to this type of prattle.
We saw this most recently when a reporter looked at Trump in a White House press conference and, with a straight face, asked him the logical equivalent of, “When did you stop beating your wife?” This is the classic rhetorical trap in which a sophist asks a question with a simple answer, but which, to be answered, forces the accused to admit the premise. When this smug, pencil-necked reporter asked Trump, “Do you regret all the lies you’ve told the American people?” (or words to that effect), his sophistry could not be any more transparent.
The left, you see, has decided that any opinion with which they disagree is a lie. This is quite incorrect. Opinions vary in their correlation to the truth. Some are more subjective than others. In politics, very few things are automatically lies (although you can bet that a Democrat is speaking them when they are). The Democrats, and their hand-holding fellow travelers in the press, will presume that any statement of fact or opinion which they personally take issue must be a falsehood.
For example, it cannot be that it is possible to argue murky points of Constitutional law to contend that Kamala Harris is not eligible to be vice president. The Democrats and the press (but I repeat myself) immediately started calling this a “birther lie” and excoriated Trump for spreading this alleged falsehood. The fact that it is possible to argue the case — that there are interpretations of Constitutional law in which Harris truly isn’t eligible — never entered their minds. There are no dissenting opinions in the minds of leftists; there are only their opinions, which are true, and all other opinions, which are false by definition.
No, Trump is not spreading a “birther lie” if he floats the notion that Harris might not be eligible. He is simply disagreeing with you if you think she is. No, Trump is not lying when he utters any of hundreds of the opinions that fall out of his face so casually every day. You just don’t like what he’s saying. Sadly, you don’t get to dismiss or mischaracterize as “lies” any opinions with which you personally take issue. That’s not how “truth” and “falsehood” work.
Some opinions more closely align with the facts of objective reality than others. I’ll gladly stack Republican opinions against Democrat assertions any day when that is the measuring stick. We’ll see who wins — and, spoiler alert, it won’t be the Left.
Repeatedly characterizing Trump as a liar or a racist is not journalism. It is not truth. It is libel and slander. You are not speaking truth to power; you are defaming someone whose only crime is disagreeing with you. Unless and until left-wingers learn the difference, they will never be able to win arguments. They will only ever hurl invective, like the petulant children they are.