Carl Bernstein says Trump uses 'lying and untruth as a basic method'

A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. ...

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 1:34 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2018 1:34 PM

A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

Mr. Misinformation

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I'd like to kick off this newsletter with some good news. But the overwhelming story right now, IMHO, is President Trump's profound dishonesty, on display all weekend long at rallies and on Twitter.

"In one speech" on Saturday, Daniel Dale says, "the president invented nonexistent riots in California and a nonexistent Democratic policy of giving luxury cars to unauthorized immigrants. Afterward, he touted a nonexistent plan to pass a major tax cut in the next 10 days."

Dale, who fact-checks every word that Trump says, is an indispensable resource right now. He caught Trump's claim that "we are looking at putting in a very major tax cut for middle-income people. And if we do that it'll be sometime just prior to November." A new middle class tax cut?! Congress is not even in session.

For this reason, and a thousand others, I labeled the president "Mr. Misinformation" on Sunday's "Reliable Sources." The segment was all about the plague of smears, scams and lies that still exists on Facebook and Twitter, two years after the "fake news" virus was first diagnosed. The companies are trying to address these problems — but it amounts to an overwhelming game of whack a mole. Here's what Donie O'Sullivan and Philip Bump told me on the show...

Bernstein: "This is a new territory of untruth"

"Look, we have had presidents in the past who have lied. There's no question about that," Carl Bernstein told me. "But what we have never had is a president of the United States who uses lying and untruth as a basic method to promote his policies, his beliefs, and his way of approaching the American people and engaging with the world."

Bernstein's point: Trump's "default position is to use untruth to go toward his objectives."

My question: Are journalists doing enough to document and debunk Trump's dishonest tactics?

Four new examples to examine

-- Much of Trump's talk about the migrant caravan has a conspiratorial edge. A new example: "Democrats want caravans. They like the caravans. A lot of people say, 'I wonder who started that caravan...'"

-- On Friday night, NYT reporter Emily Cochrane asked Trump about evidence for his claims that the "caravan" is full of "hardened criminals." His reply? "Oh please, please, don't be a baby..."

-- Trump tweeted on Saturday night that "all levels of government and law enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD," even though cases of voter fraud are vanishingly rare. "Cheat at your own peril," he said, even though his own voter fraud commission was dissolved in January...

-- WaPo's Glenn Kessler tweeted on Sunday: Trump "tells audiences the opioid bill passed 'very little Democrat support.' The vote was 98 to 1, with only Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) opposing it. The House passed it 393 to 8. Even a rare bipartisan achievement can't be celebrated?"

"Hidden Tribes"

Partisan TV shows and talk radio and social media feeds are popular... but they are poisonous. In this interview for Sunday's show, More in Common co-founder Tim Dixon told me that most Americans are NOT locked in the cold civil war that's taking place on cable newscasts and talk radio shows. Instead,67% of Americans are part of what he calls the "exhausted majority." So what should the media do to represent those voices? Here's what Dixon said...

-- BTW: Dixon's points relate to what Ben Sasse said on "SOTU" Sunday morning...

Read more of Sunday's Reliable Sources newsletter... And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox...

Bruni on "Trump's Perverse Advantage"

Brian Lowry emails: The second half of "Reliable Sources" — specifically, the Bernstein and Tim Dixon interviews — dovetailed pretty nicely with Frank Bruni's latest NYT column, which asked members of the media to provide more context and substance and resist the temptation to cover the "saucier" sideshows of the Trump presidency. It's an appealing thought, but given the nature of the current news cycle, perhaps a naïve one...

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1007681

Reported Deaths: 16470
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1355212121
Lake664101166
Allen57993801
Hamilton46350465
St. Joseph44397615
Elkhart35949510
Vanderburgh32251480
Tippecanoe27933260
Johnson25107445
Hendricks23897359
Porter22929365
Madison18748409
Clark18557252
Vigo17479303
Monroe15263200
LaPorte15173250
Delaware15073263
Howard14748290
Kosciusko12348148
Hancock11728176
Bartholomew11639180
Warrick11292189
Floyd11108215
Wayne10986253
Grant10082220
Morgan9472176
Boone8926115
Dubois8271131
Henry8229152
Dearborn822393
Noble8031106
Marshall7939135
Cass7546121
Lawrence7457171
Shelby7189119
Jackson698289
Gibson6597115
Harrison649192
Knox6421106
Huntington6395100
DeKalb632399
Montgomery6264111
Miami593398
Putnam581278
Clinton576171
Whitley565755
Steuben562576
Wabash5332104
Jasper532079
Jefferson511297
Ripley500586
Adams482576
Daviess4677114
Scott438974
Greene425196
Wells424888
Clay423360
White418764
Decatur4169102
Fayette406587
Jennings387361
Posey376644
Washington359151
LaGrange359078
Randolph3452100
Spencer340243
Fountain335760
Sullivan329452
Starke317171
Owen314771
Fulton312667
Orange293664
Jay284645
Franklin265643
Perry265452
Rush262432
Carroll261934
Vermillion258654
Parke231426
Pike229243
Tipton228159
Blackford193142
Pulaski183757
Crawford159823
Newton158348
Benton150617
Brown146747
Martin138719
Switzerland135011
Warren121116
Union107016
Ohio84613
Unassigned0540

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1515838

Reported Deaths: 23955
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1640131696
Cuyahoga1460532459
Hamilton1052061431
Montgomery738951279
Summit616491111
Lucas56212917
Butler51500718
Stark465771064
Lorain35525585
Warren32769377
Mahoning30719693
Clermont28151330
Lake26979448
Delaware24159164
Licking23882294
Trumbull22825561
Fairfield22354247
Greene22289326
Medina22002313
Clark19812354
Richland18559292
Portage17924252
Wood17427224
Allen15967279
Miami15524306
Muskingum14789185
Columbiana14017274
Wayne13755271
Tuscarawas12692311
Marion11957180
Scioto11452162
Pickaway11356142
Erie10867184
Ross10555203
Lawrence9746153
Ashtabula9701204
Hancock9687155
Belmont9287209
Geauga8933157
Jefferson8547199
Huron8380143
Union818859
Washington8085144
Sandusky7807151
Athens776179
Knox7705144
Darke7643158
Seneca7343145
Ashland6945130
Auglaize678699
Shelby6516115
Brown635291
Crawford6261130
Defiance6192105
Mercer614593
Fulton601296
Highland599399
Madison593978
Guernsey589771
Logan587996
Clinton582993
Preble5710125
Putnam5323110
Williams528088
Perry517363
Champaign511573
Jackson508573
Ottawa486286
Coshocton482283
Morrow458158
Pike433467
Fayette428263
Hardin418080
Gallia417267
Adams416695
Van Wert370882
Henry364072
Holmes3624125
Hocking356482
Wyandot322962
Carroll301765
Paulding279447
Meigs264651
Monroe215554
Noble199747
Morgan193933
Harrison181446
Vinton165525
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
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Feels Like: 40°
Angola
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Huntington
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Decatur
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Van Wert
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Showers on tap for Sunday with the chance of a few thunderstorms.
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