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Greg Sargent @ThePlumLineGS
, 13 tweets, 19 min read Read on Twitter
1) As Trump ends the year with a flood of lies about his wall, we need to recapture a core truth about this presidency.

Trump isn't “twisting the truth” or “stubbornly refusing to admit error.”

Trump is engaged in *disinformation.*

This is a different thing entirely.

2) The WaPo and NYT fact checkers have now posted their year-end pieces. They are notable.

Via @glennkesslerwp, Trump has now passed the 7,500 mark in falsehoods and distortions as president:…
@GlennKesslerWP 3) Meanwhile, @YLindaQiu points to a pattern in which Trump regularly converts his falsehoods into “alternative facts” through “sheer force of repetition.”

This is the essence of the matter.…
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu 4) Why does Trump lie *all the time* about *everything,* even the most trivial, easily disprovable matters?

The frequency and the audacity of Trump’s disinformation is the *whole point* of it -- to wear you down. More and more of the lies slip past, undetected and uncorrected.
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu 5) Others have pointed this out to great effect. See @sarahkendzior or @jayrosen_nyu or @brianbeutler or @drvox.

I tried to give this topic the ambitious treatment it deserves in my book, “An Uncivil War.” I don’t know if I succeeded, but I tried.…
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu @sarahkendzior @jayrosen_nyu @brianbeutler @drvox 6) Once Trump’s lying is understood as concerted and deliberate disinformation, it becomes clear that the frequency and audacity of it is *the whole point.*

Those are features of the lying. They are central to declaring the power to say what reality is:…
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu @sarahkendzior @jayrosen_nyu @brianbeutler @drvox 7) The other crucial half of this is to destroy the credibility of the institutional press.

Previous presidents have tangled with the media. But Trump’s ongoing casting of the press as the "enemy of the people" is in important respects something new:…
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu @sarahkendzior @jayrosen_nyu @brianbeutler @drvox 8) When people dig up old Trump tweets contradicting current claims and say “LOL there’s always a tweet,” this misses the point.

Trump is *openly and unapologetically* declaring that norms of consistency and standards of interplay with the institutional press *do not* bind him.
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu @sarahkendzior @jayrosen_nyu @brianbeutler @drvox 9) I don’t know how conscious this is for Trump.

But his background conditioned him for it.

His Reality TV past (reality is created via force of personality) fused with Steve Bannon’s love of totalitarian propaganda to create what we’re seeing now:…
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu @sarahkendzior @jayrosen_nyu @brianbeutler @drvox 10) There’s a reason Bannon immediately recognized in Trump a kindred spirit.

Both are authoritarian populists and as such share devotion to the awesome possibilities of disinformation.

@joshuagreen’s bio of Bannon tells this part of the story.…
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu @sarahkendzior @jayrosen_nyu @brianbeutler @drvox @JoshuaGreen 11) All these things led @jayrosen_nyu to declare early that the media is embroiled in a “public battle," the “fight of its life.”

We've struggled for the right footing.

But we’ve endured situations like this before. Historically, the media has adapted:…
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu @sarahkendzior @jayrosen_nyu @brianbeutler @drvox @JoshuaGreen 12) I believe the press is undergoing a generational institutional adjustment, and that Trump’s corruption of our politics w/disinformation is failing.

My book tries to tell this story with history/scholarship in an effort to reckon w/it seriously. FIN…
@GlennKesslerWP @YLindaQiu @sarahkendzior @jayrosen_nyu @brianbeutler @drvox @JoshuaGreen CODA: As a good example of this institutional adaptation to the new challenges posed to the news media by Trumpian disinformation, see this amazing tool/database recently launched by @GlennKesslerWP:…
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