How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

More thoughts on Trump

Donald Trump is a dangerous authoritarian demagogue who is very comfortable lying (about the size of the crowd at his inauguration and about widespread voter fraud in the election) and in attacking the free press in our country.  He has very little regard for the cherished institutions that have withstood the test of time.

He believes that he has all of the answers to our nation's problems.  His hubris has no bounds.  He is so certain of his ability that he will do anything he can get away with without regard to constitutional mandates, mores or ethical or moral standards.  He believes that the buck stops with him and he, and he alone, will decide what is true, what is false and what is right and what is wrong.  In a democracy that is too much power in the hands of one person.

Charles J. Sykes, a former conservative radio-talk show host in a recently New York Times op-ed discusses President Trump's antipathy towards the mainstream media and his administration's early efforts to repudiate and de-legitimize it.  He quotes the President as saying, "A lot of the media is actually the opposition party - they're so biased."

Carl Golden was on target when in a recent op editorial The Times he wrote that President Trump had "gone over and around the media, delivering his message unfiltered and challenging traditional news outlets to follow his lead."

Sykes explains that "Mr. Trump understands that attacking the media is the reddest of meat for his base, which has been conditioned to reject reporting from news sites outside of the conservative media ecosystem."  The Trump administration is so confident of the effectiveness of its propaganda efforts that it is not at all concerned about the possibility of the mainstream media revealing that he is fabricating facts.  He is supremely confident that his base will not accept anything the mainstream media puts out as evidence of falsehood and in fact the more the media attempts to reveal the lies and fabrications the more the base will see it as media bias. 

Since his election the Trump administration has relentlessly hammered the main stream media as being biased, holding the President to a double standard and as purveyors of "fake news."   Most recently, the President blasted polls that found his approval ratings at historic low of incoming presidents.  He indicated that "any negative polls are fake news."  He accused "FAKE NEWS media" of lying in a series of tweets.  Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, put the phrase "alternative fact" into our political lexicon when, during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's false statements about the attendance at the Trump inauguration.

While the Trump media team attacks mainstream media they are working alternative media channels, i.e., FOX News, twitter, facebook, Drudge, Free Republic, Breitbart and other new alternative post-factual media outlets (62% of the U.S. adults get their news form social media platforms) not traditional news media outlets Sykes writes "It helps insulate him from criticism and create his own narrative, metrics and "alternative facts."

One of the more egregious example of the President substituting "alternative facts" for "scientific facts" is climate change which he in past has claimed was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and that "nobody really knows" if it's happening.  More recently the President indicated that "I'm still open-minded.  Nobody really knows," about climate change.  He takes this position in spite of the fact that 97 percent or more of actively published climate change experts agree that the earth is warming and human activity is incredibly likely to be the a main cause.

In science, there is little room for "fake" or "alternative facts."  Theories and opinions can only be supported or refuted with reproducible data.  Anything less carries absolutely no weight and is given no credence.  There have from time-to-time been individual scientists who have exaggerated their findings or even fabricated facts and data out of whole clothing.  They enjoyed sudden fame but were eventually debunked and show to be charlatans.  What tripped them up was the careful work of others who furnished data to the contrary and a scientific community that demands truthfulness as it is the only way for scientific progress and advancements.

Nowadays 68% of people don't trust what they see and read in the news.  This lack of trust has given rise to a proliferation of overtly partisan news outlets on both the left and right and the emergence of fake news on both the left and right. 

Now more than ever in our nation's history we need the Fourth Estate to step to the plate and challenge and refute, with unbiased facts and objective reporting the bombast, hyperbole and fabrications spewing on a daily basis from the Trump administration.  The fate of our system of government, rests, to a large extent, on whether the media will be able to penetrate the Trump propaganda machine and expose through high-quality watchdog journalism specific examples of where the Trump administration is undermining our democratic processes.