Burke: Torrent of lies doing what’s intended; wearing us down

When media outlets stop bothering to check the facts that leaves it to us to question the falsehoods.

By Tom Burke / Herald Columnist

Are you tired, really tired, of having to fact-check everything a MAGA-Republican-Trumpist says?

Like when House Speaker Mike Johnson, declared, “There is currently an unprecedented and a clear and present danger to the integrity of our election system, and that is the threat of non-citizens and illegal aliens voting in our elections.” So as part of the GOP’s President Biden-bashing-border-blitz, Johnson says we need legislation making it illegal for the undocument to register and vote.

Sounds responsible, reasonable, truthful even? But it’s a lie. A really-easy-to-discover lie. Not only did he say there was no proof non-citizens are voting in national elections (“We don’t have that number.”) it’s been illegal for them to register and vote since 1926. See the Brennan Center’s and the Carnegie Corporation’s fact checks of numerous myths about immigration here: (tinyurl.com/BrennanVoting; tinyurl.com/CarnegieImmigration).

Personally, I’ve grown very, very weary of the lies; the outright, bold, easily disproved lies that pour like a tsunami of dung from the mouths of the MAGA right-wing shills who pimp for Donald Trump.

And I am grown even more weary of the lies still pouring from the lips of the Liar-in-Chief, Donald Trump, such as his recent “I won in Wisconsin.” (He lost by 200,000 votes in 2020. You can look it up.)

Now a bunch of the media seems too polite(?) to call this effluent stream “lies;” and instead use terms such as gas-lighting, or exaggeration, or hyperbole; or devolve into “both sides” equivalency.

Or they have become so inured to this constant stream they hardly bother fact-checking anything any more, especially when it’s “live” with a liar.

And just to be sure, there are media outlets — that’s you, Fox News — that don’t just repeat what’s being said; no, they actively promote these falsehoods or create their own lies. Need proof: Fox paid almost $1 billion in damages for knowingly promoting the “false news” [lies] about Dominion Voting Systems in the 2020 election.

For the record, today’s column isn’t political posturing; or another anti-MAGA diatribe; or a case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Rather, I have just grown weary of being lied to about the issues we must deal with as part of the national well-being; you know, what we used to call “governance,” and encompassing immigration, national defense, heath, finance, our justice system, and the very nature of democracy itself.

I’m tired of being lied to by such as Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance — that our justice system is corrupt — when he said that of Trump’s New York false documents case, “what’s going on inside that courtroom is a threat to American democracy,” and “we cannot have a country where you get to prosecute your political opponents instead of persuading voters.” (As a graduate of Yale Law School ,he knows this isn’t true, but as another wanna-be Trump running mate, he knows what he has to lie about to make Trump’s short list.)

I am tired of being lied to by Trump about NATO and how the United States funds a majority of the NATO budget. (It doesn’t, the U.S. provides 15.9 percent of the NATO budget for military-related operations, maintenance and headquarters activity, the same percentage as Germany.) And then, building on his lies, saying to a NATO ally “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them (Russia) to do whatever the hell they want,” if they don’t spend enough of their own defense).

I am tired of being lied to about abortion, as when Trump said Democrats, “are willing to kill the baby … even after birth.”

I am tired of being lied to about climate change, as former Republican presidential hopeful and another wanna-be Trump vice presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, who called climate change “a hoax,” with “the reality (that) more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change.” (He declined to offer any proof. Note: The United Nations has linked climate change to more than 2 million deaths in the last 50 years.)

I am tired of being lied to about the Jan. 6 insurrection, attempted coup and invasion of the U.S. Capitol; in Trump’s claim that, “I think it was an insurrection caused by Nancy Pelosi,” and calling those sentenced to prison not criminals, but “hostages;” a lie echoed by House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, “I have concerns about the treatment of Jan. 6 hostages;” and by Rep. Diane Harshbarger of Tennessee who lied saying Trump and his supporters were, “vilified for doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights.” (Those “rights,” which don’t include rioting, cost five lives, seriously injuries to 174 police officers, and the deaths by suicide of four police officers.)

And I am tired of being lied to about the economy; about health (Remember covid? You remember, the pandemic Trump told us would just “go away,” and how it killed over 1 million Americans); finance and the stock market (and no, the Dow isn’t going up because Wall Street thinks Trump will win in November); or education, Social Security, tariffs, Ukraine, Israel, or even the number of people at Trump’s New Jersey rally. (About 8,000, not the 100,000 he claimed.)

I’m going to give the last word to Colorado Republican Ken Buck, an arch Conservative who quit Congress saying, “I always have been disappointed with our inability in Congress to deal with major issues … if we’re going to solve difficult problems, we’ve got to deal with some very unpleasant truths or lies and make sure we project to the public what the truth is.”

So there you go. Even Freedom Caucus alumni Buck decries the lies.

And as Johnny Cash sang, “What is Truth?”

It certainly ain’t the tune the MAGA Republicans are singing.

Slava Ukraini.

Tom Burke’s email address is t.burke.column@gmail.com.

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