“Reality has a well-known liberal bias” – Stephen Colbert, 2006 White house Correspondents Dinner
Stephen Colbert was mercilessly mocking the way Republicans ignore any and all facts that contradict their agenda. Even back then, it was becoming obvious that the “Party of Lincoln” had declared war on objective reality, but at least they pretended that the facts were on their side. Yet here we are, just a decade later, and we’ve reached the point where a surrogate for the Republican presidential nominee is actually saying, out loud, that the facts don’t really matter. That the public doesn’t care about what’s true, only how a candidate makes them feel. And he was completely serious.
During an interview on CNN, Jeffery Lord, apparently unaware that the “news” in “Cable News Network” is supposed to be factually correct, had this to say after host Brian Stelter commented that Trump has been consistently torn apart by fact checkers:
“I honestly don’t think this ‘fact-checking’ business … is anything more than one more out of touch, elitist media-type thing,” Lord said. “I don’t think people out here in America care. What they care about are what the candidates say.”
Did you catch that? Fact-checking is “out of touch” and “elite” and Americans don’t care about any of that truth and honesty stuff.
I suppose if I had to defend Donald Trump’s unprecedented campaign of mostly bullshit (14% half true, 16% mostly false, A whopping 41% false and a stunning 20% pants on fire according to Politifact), I would want people to stop paying attention to fact checkers, too. But can you imagine the mental gymnastics required to say facts are elitist and out of touch and still look at yourself in the mirror every morning? Sure, it’s easy for Trump because he’s a pathological liar. Not so easy for people not suffering from a serious mental disorder.
Lord tries to claim that the best fact-checker is the opposition campaign. It’s a cute idea but in this hyper-partisan environment the right has created, anything coming from one side is completely dismissed as biased and that was the entire point. So it’s not hard to see why conservatives, who have built their entire movement on disinformation, would despise nonpartisan fact-checking; it’s a deadly threat to the alternate reality they’ve constructed to keep conservative voters angry and afraid and voting Republican.
Still, it’s shocking to see a campaign surrogate be this open about his disdain for the truth and willingness to admit that boldly lying works. It doesn’t bode well for the future discourse in America.
Featured image via screencap