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The Washington Post Lied While Correcting President Trump's 1,950 Lies

The offices of The Washington Post in Washington, D.C. (Charles Dharapak / AP)

The Washington Post put out an in-depth analysis of President Trump’s 1,950 lies and misleading claims over his first year in office. It’s an impressive feat since the Post had to fact-check everything and allow Trump’s third-grade-level speeches to enter its fact-checkers’ earholes, a punishment I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies.

The writers at the Washington Post are correct that lies spray out of Trump’s face with the force of an untethered fire hose. They’re also correct that almost every statement by Trump is either false or misleading. However, the irony is that almost every statement the Washington Post prints in correcting Trump’s lies is in itself a lie or misleading statement. So, to be clear, I’m not saying Trump is not lying. I’m saying that the way in which our mainstream media correct him is also meant to deceive us.

The Washington Post starts with December and counts backward through the year. Here are my corrections to its corrections to Trump’s lies. (This is only a few weeks’ worth, but you’ll probably get my gist and need to purge yourself in a bathroom immediately.) The quote on the left is from Trump. The writing to the right is the Post’s correction.

Trump statement: “If the Dems (Crooked Hillary) got elected, your stocks would be down 50% from values on Election Day. Now they have a great future – and just beginning!”

Washington Post correction: “Trump of course has no idea how stocks would have performed if Clinton had won the election. The stock market rise in Trump’s first year was a continuation of a bull market that started under President Obama—and was mirrored by worldwide securities markets. The U.S. rise in 2017 was not unique. When looking at the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, it’s clear U.S. stocks haven’t rallied as robustly as their foreign equivalents.”

Trump statement: “The stock market is at an all-time high and continues to go up, up, up.”

Washington Post correction: “This is a flip-flop for Trump. Before he was elected, he dismissed the stock-market performance under Obama as ‘artificial’ and ‘a bubble.’ Moreover, the U.S. rise in 2017 was not unique. When looking at the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, it’s clear U.S. stocks haven’t rallied as robustly as their foreign equivalents.”

What the Post won’t tell you is that the stock market does great when workers are effectively exploited. When the average American worker doesn’t have the power or leverage to demand better pay or safer working conditions, corporations are thrilled, the stock market grows and the fabled coke-fueled Wall Street parties go off without a hitch. The market has also continued to grow with increasing inequality. Furthermore, over 90 percent of the income gains since the 2008 collapse have gone to the top 1 percent, and 80 percent of stock value overall is held by the top 10 percent of the population.

Plus, the market does not take into account externalities such as impacts on the environment. Even as the environment collapses around us, the stock market thrives.

So while Trump is lying to us about what the stock market would’ve done under President Hillary, The Washington Post is lying to us about the nature of the stock market (as is Trump). The Post acts as if Wall Street’s growth is somehow good for average Americans. I’s not. Trump, Hillary and the Post are all part of an elite class enjoying the spoils of a fully exploited working class. Judging the health of our society by looking at stock prices is like judging the health of a dying man by looking at the leeches on his skin. “Wow, those leeches are very happy. This man is in peak condition!”

Trump statement: “I use Social Media not because I like to, but because it is the only way to fight a VERY dishonest and unfair ‘press,’ now often referred to as Fake News Media. Phony and non-existent ‘sources’ are being used more often than ever. Many stories & reports a pure fiction!” 

Washington Post correction: “Trump tends to deem negative articles as ‘fake news’ even if they are accurate. Mainstream news organizations can certainly make mistakes, or rely on sources who are inaccurate, but they do not use nonexistent sources or print ‘pure fiction.’ 

This almost needs no response because most people know how ridiculous it is. Of course, Trump lies endlessly. He hardly knows how to speak an honest sentence. (After all, he’s a barely literate man who called himself “a genius” just a couple of days ago.) But the idea that The Washington Post, long known to put out propaganda for the CIA and other government agencies, is somehow free of intentionally misleading the American public is laughable on a level that would put the new Dave Chappelle special to shame.

One need look no further than its hilarious “Prop or Not” article (which was quickly debunked) to see how far down bullshit lane it’s willing to travel. But more importantly, what the Post won’t tell us here is what it won’t tell us all the rest of the time. (And that last sentence is not a typo.) The corporate media—even when it’s getting the story correct—is endlessly avoiding certain topics or points.

Just last week, former New York Times reporter James Risen revealed how he was stopped by his editors from reporting on the Bush-era illegal surveillance of American citizens. That occurred a decade before the Edward Snowden revelations and could’ve changed the outcome of presidential elections as well as the course of our government’s continued assault on our civil liberties. (No biggie.)

Our media avoids everything from climate change (which it’s known about for decades but hardly covers even as it covers extreme weather events) to the current U.S.-backed destruction of Yemen to the fact that only 1 percent of terror plots stopped by the FBI are real—and most of those 99 percent were helped along by the FBI. (To add anecdotal evidence to my point, my friend Abby Martin and I have both forced The New York Times to issue corrections in the past year on statements about us that a simple Google search could have proven wrong.)

Trump statement: “Since the election we have created more than 2 million jobs.”

Washington Post correction: Trump is counting jobs from Election Day, even though he did not take office until almost three months later. At the time, about 1.7 million jobs had been created during his presidency.”

Trump statement: “Unemployment is at a 17-year low.”

Washington Post correction: “This is flip flop for Trump. While campaigning Trump dismissed the unemployment rate as made up, suggesting unemployment was closer to 30 or 40 percent. Since becoming president Trump has embraced the figure.”

Shouldn’t it matter in the “correction” that most of the jobs created are part-time and low-paid? About 25 percent of those with part-time jobs currently live in poverty in our country. This is not Trump’s fault but an ongoing trend in America’s late-stage capitalist economy that is exploiting nearly everyone more and more. Trump’s economic team is filled with people from Goldman Sachs and Citibank, just as Obama’s was. (Many people don’t even know that Citigroup chose almost all of Obama’s cabinet.) Wall Street has captured our government and therefore does whatever is good for the top 1 percent who rule Wall Street.

On top of that, technology will soon replace most jobs, and we need to adjust to a nearly jobless society. Studies show roughly 50 percent of jobs in the U.S. could be replaced by artificial intelligence in the next 20 years. And, in fact, the percentage might be much higher than that, seeing as technology advances exponentially—whereas we humans seem to be devolving tenaciously.

So acting as if poorly paid part-time job creation is the only way to judge success as a president is ignorant or manipulative on a level usually reserved for the cast of “Survivor.” Even our “most successful” corporations hardly pay their employees—Amazon was just added to the list of major corporations with a significant number of employees on food stamps. The Washington Post wants the struggling American worker to remain unaware of what’s coming and of the power we could all have if we knew what to demand from a government that is hypothetically supposed to work for us.

Trump statement: “Congress has authorized funding at near-record levels so that we can rebuild our full military might after years of dangerous cuts and depletion of our military.”

Washington Post correction: “Trump, perhaps because he is reading his weekly address from a script, is more careful than usual. He does not claim a record level of spending and he notes that it is ‘authorized, as Congress must still appropriate funds. Still, Trump claims the military has been depleted due to years of budget cuts, but the decreased military budget reflects the close of two wars: the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. Despite the decreased budget, the total budget is still larger than it was in 2000, before either war began.”

Here, the Post is bragging about military spending while failing to mention that our military spending is out of control on all levels. We spend more on our military than the next eight countries combined. At the same time we refuse to fund universal health care, infrastructure projects, paid maternity leave and education. Last week in Baltimore, children sat in freezing classrooms because the schools didn’t have money for heating. While even the Post covered the Baltimore story, it won’t ever connect such an issue to our utterly psychotic military spending. Part of how our corporate media manufactures consent for our illogical and highly immoral system is by leaving everything out of context, intentionally avoiding connecting the dots. The United Nations estimated it would take $30 billion a year to end world hunger and then in 2015 increased that number to $267 billion. Even if the correct figure is $267 billion, that’s still less than half of the over $600 billion we spend on “defense.”

If we wanted it to be defense, why don’t we pay to end world hunger, at which point we would be the safest country in the world because no one wants to bomb the country that ended world hunger. Or we can continue to listen to the Post haggle with Donald Trump as to whether or not he’s built up our “depleted” military.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The Post acts as if the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over even though about 40,000 people were killed in Iraq in 2017, and we still have at least 11,000 troops in Afghanistan. But how does one declare a war is “over” when it was never really a war to begin with—but rather an ongoing assault of a population, designed to maintain endless instability in a region and allow the U.S. to hold our global empire?

The Post misses tiny insignificant facts like that.

Trump statement: “I’m the one that saved coal. I’m the one that created jobs. You know West Virginia is doing fantastically now.”

Washington Post correction: West Virginia’s GDP increased 3 percent in the first quarter of 2017. The recent bump is due in part to the increased price of metallurgic coal, which is used to make steel, and a price increase in natural gas exports. West Virginia produces roughly 5 percent of the natural gas in the U.S. and as the price of natural gas rises, the demand for coal increases, spurring growth in the state. Trump can’t take credit for the change in prices, which fluctuate with market forces. As for ‘saving coal,’ there has barely been any job growth in the coal industry since Trump became president. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, only 900 jobs have been created in the coal industry since Trump became president—an increase of less than 3 percent.”

The Post corrects Trump’s assertion that coal jobs have returned to West Virginia. However, it doesn’t mention that coal is the dirtiest of all fuels and therefore is helping to send our planet down a death spiral of greenhouse gases. Something tells me most of its readers might like to know there won’t be a world for their grandkids to grow up in. We should all be wildly celebrating the move away from coal in an orgiastic manner.

The Post’s correction is the equivalent of the president bragging that he brought hit man jobs back to West Virginia and then the Post saying: “In fact, hit man jobs have not returned as promised, and very few people have been professionally murdered in West Virginia in the past year.” The Post should have said: “In fact, coal jobs have not returned, and that is a good thing if we value the air in our lungs and the life in our bodies.”

Trump statement: “Now that the individual mandate is officially killed, people have no idea how big a deal that was. It’s the most unpopular part of Obamacare. But now, Obamacare is essentially. … You know, you saw this. … It’s basically dead over a period of time.”

Washington Post correction: “While the individual mandate was an important incentive for Americans to seek health insurance, it was only one part of a far-reaching law that remains intact. The repeal does not take effect until 2019, and enrollment in Obamacare has remained strong. The Congressional Budget Office says the marketplaces are expected to remain stable for years.”

What The Washington Post won’t mention is that the U.S. is the only developed country without universal health care. And Obamacare was written by the health insurance industry (initially introduced by the GOP in the 1990s). This is an industry that by definition profits most when people are least taken care of. This doesn’t mean it isn’t great that more people have coverage than before Obamacare, but rather it’s pathetic that one of the richest countries in the world doesn’t cover everyone to begin with. That context might help in any correction on this issue.

Trump statement: “We see the drugs pouring into the country, we need the wall.”

Washington Post correction: “The wall will have virtually no effect on drugs coming into the country. According to reports by the DEA, the majority of drugs are smuggled through legal ports of entry or smuggled through underground tunnels.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. If the Post really wants to correct Trump, it would mention that the catastrophic drug war is a war on our own people and was designed from the beginning to arrest black people and activists. Furthermore, in Portugal, where drugs have been decriminalized and are treated as a health problem instead of a crime problem, illicit drug use has decreased and so have overdoses. No so-called “correction” of Trump’s ridiculous statement that a wall will stop drug use is even remotely complete without talking about the context of the drug war. And here’s the thing—The Washington Post knows this.

It knows everything I just stated. It’s even covered some of it in the past. And yet, in general, most of the time, it leaves out this context so that our nation continues arresting thousands upon thousands of people (of color) a year for small-time drug use. It seems the Post wants to have its coke and eat it, too.

Overall, The Washington Post has filled its “corrections” with decontextualized manipulations of its own. (And I’ve covered only about two weeks out of 52.) The Post is lying to us as much as Trump is. Until we can see these issues for what they really are, we will never be able to change anything.

Lee Camp
Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of the weekly comedy news TV show “Redacted Tonight With Lee Camp” on RT America. He is a former comedy writer for…
Lee Camp

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