What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 23, 2017

The War On Reality - Trump Edition

In case you missed it, this happened this weekend:
Donald Trump began his first full week as US president firmly on the defensive, after millions of Americans took to the streets to protest against his election and the White House came under fire for brazenly lying to the public.

Rattled by the nation’s biggest political demonstrations since the Vietnam war, Trump and his aides spent an extraordinary first weekend in office falsely claiming that record numbers of people had attended his swearing-in on Friday.

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, used his first White House briefing to shout at journalists about what he incorrectly termed “deliberately false reporting” on Trump’s inauguration, declaring: “We’re going to hold the press accountable.”

“This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period,” said Spicer, in one of several statements contradicted by photographs and transit data. “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House aide, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday Spicer had merely been offering “alternative facts”, a phrase that was received with widespread astonishment.
That would be when Chuck Todd said that "Alternative facts are not facts.  They're falsehoods."

This weekend, after the Trump Administrations full frontal assault on evidence, the George Orwell's name was thrown around a bit.  Here's something of what he had to say about facts:
I know it is the fashion to say that most of recorded history is lies anyway. I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written. In the past people deliberately lied, or they unconsciously coloured what they wrote, or they struggled after the truth, well knowing that they must make many mistakes; but in each case they believed that ‘facts’ existed and were more or less discoverable. And in practice there was always a considerable body of fact which would have been agreed to by almost everyone. If you look up the history of the last war in, for instance, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, you will find that a respectable amount of the material is drawn from German sources. A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be that body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys. Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as ‘the truth’ exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as ‘Science’. There is only ‘German Science’, ‘Jewish Science’, etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ — well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five — well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs — and after our experiences of the last few years that is not a frivolous statement.
He wrote this in 1943 so when he talks about "the last war" he's talking about WWI (1914-1918).

Now go look at what Scott Spicer said about the yuge crowd watching Trump's inauguration and then Kellyann Conway's defense of it.  This is Orwell level frightening.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows - George Orwell.

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