Donald Trump Is Teaching the Whole World How to Lie

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Donald Trump lies practically every time he opens his mouth. That’s hardly even notable anymore. What is still notable is the corrosive effect he has on nearly everyone who enters his orbit. His kids lie without compunction. His spokespeople lie without compunction. His campaign manager—until recently a fairly normal conservative—lies without compunction. His surrogates lie without compunction. Everyone who spends any time around him seems to inhale the lesson that in the modern media environment, there’s simply no penalty for lying, no matter how obvious the lies are.

Today, Chris Christie casually peddled the obvious lie that Donald Trump gave up on birtherism after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate in 2011. This is easily fact checkable. There are tweets. There’s video. Glenn Kessler rounds up the evidence:

This is why Americans hate politics. A sitting governor goes on national television and when he is called out for an obvious falsehood, he simply repeats the inaccurate talking points over and over.

This will possibly be our shortest fact check ever….Slate magazine counted nearly 40 Trump tweets since 2011 that raise questions about Obama’s birth. Even after Trump starting running for president last year, he continued to question the president’s background in television interviews.

….This is such bogus spin that we have to wonder how Christie manages to say it with a straight face. Regular readers know we shy away from using the word “lie,” but clearly Christie is either lying or he is so misinformed that he has no business appearing on television.

Before he hooked up with Trump, Christie was a relatively normal politician. He’d spin, he’d exaggerate, he’d evade, and he’d conceal. But now he doesn’t bother. He just tells simpleminded lies with no evident concern for the fact that he’ll get called out on them. Trump has taught him that being fact checked doesn’t matter. Getting air time for the lie is all that matters.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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