Egan: In the end, reality will win

Egan: In the end, reality will win

December 4th, 2017 by Timothy Egan/New York Times News Service in Opinion Times Commentary

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before leaving the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, in Washington for a Thanksgiving trip to Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Whoo, boy. The truth just keeps getting whacked by this gangster White House. The how-low-can-he-go bar keeps falling. Is there no bottom? Not for some time, friends, so hold on.

We learned last week that President Donald Trump does not believe his own words on videotape — words that he had earlier acknowledged, in explaining how a star can get away with the type of predatory behavior that has caused everyone but him to get fired.

We learned that he endorsed a website that says the pope uses magic to mastermind world events.

We learned that he still believes 3 million fraudulent voters caused him to lose the popular vote, that no president has accomplished so much in 10 months as he, that Barack Obama is not a citizen of the United States.

We may soon learn that Trump won a gold medal in synchronized swimming. This is likely to come from a public servant being paid tax dollars to defend a dog's breakfast of fantasy. That would be Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, who crossed a big Rubicon this week.

After Trump tweeted out discredited hate videos from a fringe group, he was praised by the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, but condemned throughout Britain.

When pressed on this, Sanders said, "Whether it's a real video, the threat is real." Well, I'll be cow-kicked. There it is, from the podium that represents the most powerful person on earth: a declarative affirmation that truth does not matter.

By that logic, it does not matter if Trump implies that someone he dislikes may have committed murder, because the threat of murder in general is real. Wait — he did that as well, in defaming Joe Scarborough last Wednesday.

It used to be that a press secretary would say, "I have no information on that." Now it's standard operating procedure to shrug a whatever and wait for Sean Hannity to clean it up on state-run television.

Do you see what they're doing? If facts don't matter, then a professional press that tries to deal scrupulously in facts is irrelevant. Everyone is a liar. Welcome to the club.

Trump is a hooligan to the Constitution. But he has a gaggle of people being paid very well to help him subvert truth, justice and the American way.

One of them just set a spectacular Dumpster fire. That would be James O'Keefe. He runs something with the perfectly Orwellian name of Project Veritas. O'Keefe is a criminal, having pleaded guilty to his part in an attempt to enter a U.S. senator's office under false pretenses.

You'd think this would ruin him. Nope. Rich people give him money so that he can use fraud to prove that real reporters are just as awful as him.

A woman last seen scurrying into the offices of Project Veritas tried to set up The Washington Post with a phony story. The intent was to protect Roy Moore, accused of being a child molester and running for Senate in Alabama.

O'Keefe and his people use false identities and lies to bring down people who work their butts off to get at the truth. His operation is tax-exempt, under a clause designed to help religious and charitable groups.

"At Veritas, we believe that we're all journalists now," he said last week. Sure. Your average journalist, laboring in the trenches of tedium at school board meetings, makes less than $50,000 a year. O'Keefe takes a salary from his nonprofit of more than five times that amount, according to a 2016 tax filing.

As with Trump's tweets, the design is to bring everyone into the sewer. If O'Keefe were a lawyer, he'd be disbarred. Instead, he's protected by the First Amendment that he and Trump are trying to subvert.

This president calls journalists "the lowest form of humanity." You know who was a journalist? Winston Churchill. Mark Twain. Frederick Douglass. Teddy Roosevelt. Rachel Carson.

In the end, reality will out. You can't stop a hurricane by calling it a snowflake. You can't say you won the Masters when nobody has given you a green winner's jacket on the 18th hole of Augusta National. Well, you can try, and try, and eventually you'll be led away under escort of people in white coats.

The New York Times

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