Whose Fake News?

Psychiatrists define “projection” as a defense mechanism employed by people who are having trouble coping with difficult emotions. They project their feelings of inadequacy or remorse over shameful behaviors onto someone else–accusing other people of undesirable or reprehensible actions of which the accuser is actually guilty.

For example, Donald Trump and “fake news.”

I’m not referring to Trump’s constant misstatements and inaccuracies (latest favorite: Trump said Harley-Davidson had lost sales because Americans were reacting negatively to the company’s impending move overseas. The company announced that move two weeks ago. Trump’s cited “evidence” was from 2017.)

He gets his facts wrong so often he could open an “Inaccurate-R-Us” franchise, but frequently, that’s simply because he is jaw-droppingly ignorant. His constant whining about “fake news,” however, is different. When he accuses reporters of manufacturing stories, he’s projecting, but he’s also playing to his base.

A recent example is this July 3d tweet

Just out that the Obama Administration granted citizenship, during the terrible Iran Deal negotiation, to 2,500 Iranians – including to government officials. How big (and bad) is that?”

Trump is absolutely obsessed with Obama (presumably because he can’t bear the fact that a black guy is infinitely smarter and classier than he is) and invents “facts” about him constantly. In response to the tweet, the Washington Post’s fact checker gave the allegation  Four Pinocchios.

As embarrassing as it is to have a President who lies whenever his lips are moving, Trump’s truly despicable use of fake news is in service of his bigotry, especially when it comes to immigration. These are “lies with purpose”–messages intended to keep his base terrified of those lawless and dangerous brown people coming over the southern border.

The view from that southern border is radically different from the stories Trump is peddling.

As a resident of that border recently wrote

The news over the past few weeks might make you think that places such as my hometown — McAllen, Tex., in the Rio Grande Valley — are under siege from waves of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, a crisis of lawlessness so extreme that drastic measures are needed. Tearing children from their parents, or, when that proves too unpopular, corralling families in tent cities. Then there’s the $25 billion wall that’s needed to safeguard the United States from the threat of being overrun.

The view from down here is different. In a 2018 rating of the 100 most dangerous cities in the United States based on FBI data, no border cities — not San Diego, not Texas cities such as Brownsville, Laredo or El Paso — appeared even in the top 60. McAllen’s crime rate was lower than Houston’s or Dallas’s, according to Texas Monthly in 2015. The Cato Institute’s research consistently shows that immigrants, both legal and undocumented, are markedly less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

And as Kevin Sullivan recently wrote, in a story in the Washington Post, the town of McAllen is profoundly uncomfortable with Trump’s policy, and irate about the rhetoric he uses to defend it.

The policy is seen as unwanted and unfair in this border city of 142,000 whose population is 90 percent Hispanic and so fully bilingual that roadside anti-littering signs say “No dumping basura” (trash).

Far from being the criminal hell-hole described by Trump, McAllen is a thriving community, with an economy that is heavily dependent upon trade with its Mexican neighbors. Businesses welcome the customers who come over the border, and the town raises more sales tax per capita than almost any other Texas city — about $60 million last year, greater than its property tax revenue. Crime in the city is at a 33-year low.

There is a “crisis” at the border, but it is a humanitarian crisis entirely of Trump’s making.

Facts, evidence, accuracy, fairness–none of those things matter to this profoundly unstable and insecure man, so he evidently assumes that they don’t mean anything to anyone else, either. He projects his own dishonesty on others; he may even believe that everyone is as  pathetically self-aggrandizing as he is. He clearly doesn’t realize how obvious his lies and inadequacies are to everyone outside the small, devoted base that desperately wants to see itself as superior to black and brown people.

He would be an object of pity if he weren’t in a position to do so much damage.


  1. Shelia,

    “He would be an object of pity if he weren’t in a POSITION to do so much damage.”

    Why is he in a POSITION to do so much damage. Because Trump/Bannon HIJACKED the MOVEMENT that Mike Pence is fronting. And no Democrat, no NGO, no media, including the Guardian, has, so far, mounted the CIVIC COURAGE to engage the MOVEMENT that Mike Pence is fronting. It isn’t complicated. It’s that SIMPLE.

    It is that simple.

  2. “Inaccuracies,” “misstatements,” and “gets his facts wrong” are euphemisms. He lies. Stop calling them other things. He is a liar, full stop, and saying anything else helps him.

  3. I’m assuming that the citizen along the border community also has a congressman in Washington to represent their interests. What say he/she?

    Nobody who voted for Trump would listen. They count on the negativity to feed their anger, and as Sheila referenced, it’s misdirected because of blatant fabrications. His tweets are shared thousands of times every day. I wonder how many of those are bots created by his folks at Cambridge Analytica (Robert Mercer).

    Speaking of bots, what were the GOP reps doing in Russia over the 4th of July while they are under investigation for meddling in elections? And without the press.

    That is a strange occurrence.

    From a media perspective, the paranoia created by the cheerleading media stations, MSNBC and FOX, will always get their diehard faithful followers. “Our team is the best!”

    WAPO and New York Times will side with capitalistic enterprises and never challenge the system causing all our social ills and an ever-increasing doomsday scenario being played out with global climate change. Media companies in the USA aren’t allowed to tackle the problems because of their advertisers. So we almost need a litmus test for media – a linear spectrum of Truth Vs. Propaganda.

    Forget bias.

    Then, the question becomes, “Who wants to listen to, read, or hear the truth?

    Do we even value the truth as a culture?

    How many documentaries have been produced about the fast food industry?

    Even in 2018, if I post something on Facebook about the food we eat or how the process of creating the food we eat is hurting the environment where we live, crickets.


    “As long as I have personal bias and can remain asleep, and have a plethora of choices to confirm that bias, I choose ignorance over truth.”

    “Ignorance is bliss.”

    We are even proud of our ignorance and point to countries who have universal healthcare and prevent toxic chemicals from being used in their countries, and call them “socialists.” We brag about having choices even though those choices are killing off the global population, including ourselves.

    I don’t think we can save ourselves from the harms we do to ourselves because we want to languish in everlasting ignorance. Intellectual laziness or Fear. I might have to change if I learn the truth about a situation. #DENIAL

  4. Sheila: I agree with what you have stated except “the small, devoted base”. It looks to us outsiders that the Trump base gets larger all the time. It seems to me that no matter what he says or does (meaning that in a grossly negative way) more Republicans support him and his approval rating moves up, not down. He has become the new Republican Kool-Aid.

  5. Michael Said
    “Stop calling them other things. He is a liar, full stop, and saying anything else helps him.”

    Thanks Michael – Exactly right.
    Liar, Cheat, thief. Crook – Criminal – probably traitor – Money Launderer for our adversaries
    It is important to call things by their right name.
    I hope that when the financial burden on Big Business gets high enough, they will do what they can to unseat this jackass and Pence as well. Pence was most likely in on the game too.

  6. There is obvious damage President Agent Orange damage has done. His name calling of anyone in opposition to him is probably perceived by the loyal Trumpters as manly, even though he was a draft dodger.

    There is the other damage that has been accomplished or is being done, which is lightly reported or not all in our McMega-Media. Scott Pruitt is gone, but for Pruitt and his fellow fiends in the Petro-Chemical-Coal Industry – “It was mission accomplished” – with his roll backs of environmental protections. Pruitt, will probably find a soft landing in some phony “think tank” and collect a healthy salary.

    This article caught my eye:

    Trump administration’s opposition to breastfeeding resolution sparks outrage. Advocates for improved nutrition for babies have expressed outrage over reports that the Trump administration bullied other governments in an attempt to prevent the passage of an international resolution promoting breastfeeding.

    The US delegation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva reportedly deployed threats and other heavy-handed measures to try and browbeat nations into backing off the resolution.

    Under the terms of the original WHO text, countries would have encouraged their citizens to breastfeed on grounds that research overwhelmingly shows its health benefits, while warning parents to be alert to inaccurate marketing by formula milk firms.

    The administration also used its network of diplomats to lean on member states. Turning on the delegation from Ecuador, the US government said that unless the South American nation withdrew its backing of the resolution it would face punitive trade moves and even the potential loss of military help in its battle against gang violence.

    The milk formula industry has been struggling against stagnating sales in recent years, but is still worth $70bn annually. The small number of giants that produce it are concentrated in the US and Europe.

    One of those giants, Abbott Nutrition, is part of the healthcare multinational Abbott Laboratories that contributed to Trump’s inauguration ceremonies in January 2017.

    Facing acute risks to their businesses from Washington, D.C., policymakers, health companies spent more than $2 million to buy access to the incoming Trump administration via candlelight dinners, black-tie balls and other U.S. presidential inauguration events, new filings show.
    Threats and bullying, this is the Agent Orange Standard Operating Procedure.

  7. In order for transference to take place, an individual must have some sense of shame or of decency. Where are the Joseph Welch’s of our time? We need someone to ask publicly, “Have you no sense of decency?” Where are the Edward R. Murrows? When will all of the media begin calling out the lies as lies? It should be obvious to all by now, 45 has no shame.

  8. Both political parties refuse to call Trump a liar; the only word to describe what he is. The members of the media he accuses of sending out “fake news” (in the form of films of his actual speeches, rants and Tweets) do not use the term liar. Why are they all afraid of him; why do they not use the ammunition they have to refute his accusations of fake news?

    “There is a “crisis” at the border, but it is a humanitarian crisis entirely of Trump’s making.”

    This particular humanitarian crisis is not only at our southern border; it is throughout this country with hundreds of thousands of immigrants in hiding, not only are their lives endangered but the lives of those hiding them are in jeopardy. Remember what happened to the actual “good Germans” who hid Jews and other groups of Hitler’s targeted hatred; they met the same fate. When will Trump being filling those privately owned prisons with those who “aided and abetted” immigrants? What happens to those immigrants or family members, especially their children, who have serious accidents or become seriously ill? Have medical care providers in doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals been ordered to report suspected illegal immigrants? Are live endangered, are infectious diseases being spread, are people going without medical treatment and medications?

    Trump’s “projections” are far-reaching and effecting many more people than are his direct enemies.

  9. Worth noting. Specifically, the CATO research for 2016 found: “Illegal immigrants are 47 percent less likely to be incarcerated than natives. Legal immigrants are 78 percent less likely to be incarcerated than natives.”

  10. Some good news from across the Atlantic:

    Donald Trump to face ‘carnival of resistance’. Dozens of groups and thousands of individuals will try to make US president’s visit uncomfortable.

    The organizers of anti-Donald Trump protests have promised a “carnival of resistance” that will begin as soon as the US president lands in the UK on Thursday.

    While major protests have been prepared for London, the organizers said preparations had taken on “a life of their own” and would be carried out by dozens of groups and thousands of individuals across the country.

    Trump is expected to be at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London, overnight and at 5.30pm on Thursday protesters plan to greet him with a “wall of sound”. More demonstrations are planned for Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, later in the evening, when Trump and his wife, Melania, will be guests of honor at a dinner for 100 guests.

    On Friday morning, a six-meter “angry Trump baby” balloon will fly over Westminster from Parliament Square after the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, gave permission for it, before mass marches begin at midday.

    For the Bring the Noise rally, organizers are encouraging marchers to take “pots and pans out of the kitchen … and on to the streets, banging to show our disapproval and claiming our political voice in public space”.

    There will also be demonstrations on Friday evening in Glasgow and on Saturday in Edinburgh at noon. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/09/donald-trump-to-face-carnival-of-resistance
    At least from what I have read elsewhere there is a huge effort underway by UK officials to place President Agent Orange under quarantine, that is demonstrators will be walled off. Here is my hope the Brits will get under Agent Orange’s thin skin and he will do what comes naturally to him – lash out.

    UK officials are concerned about respecting the office of the Presidency by demonstrating civility – This would be true for prior presidents, but this President Agent Orange has not shown the slightest bit of civility, therefor Agent Orange deserves no respect.

  11. Speaking of fake news – I went to the local Parkview Health county hospital this morning to get my blood drawn for lab tests. Everywhere I went there was a tv tuned into the Fox propaganda machine. I was offended and angry that I had to be exposed to that crap in a healthcare setting.

    When I got home I immediately called the corporate office in Fort Wayne to complain. The person I spoke with said that she would contact IS in that location to see what other choices they have.

    The bottom line is if no one complains then nothing changes. If Fox propaganda is on the tvs the next time that I am there I will complain in person to the local hospital President. Many of my friends find it very offensive that they are forced to be exposed to Fox in healthcare settings, but most choose not to complain.

    We have got to stand up and start complaining or calling out BS when it is taking place and cannot be worried about making others feel uncomfortable or angry. I believe that most of us on this blog are not the type to “go along to get along”.

  12. The ironies surrounding the Trump administration’s attacks on mother’s milk are too delicious to list. It must be clear to all that Trump was nursed by Satan himself – yet another irony.

  13. Nancy, perhaps a nice compromise would be Sponge Bob Square Pants on the TV, he is on the air almost 24/7.

  14. JoAnn,

    You have a lot of courage. You answered your own question.

    question: “Why are they all afraid of him; why do they not use the ammunition they have to refute his accusations of fake news?”

    answer: “Remember what happened to the actual “good Germans” who hid Jews and other groups of Hitler’s targeted hatred; they met the same fate.”

    At this point, the situation we’re in [ fascist control or influence over all our institutions] can only be handled with help from outside the country. The retaliation is potentially lethal. Those Germans that fought back in the 30’s like Hermann Rauschning and Rudy Brandt did it from another country. Rauschning from England and Brandt from Sweden. I’m staying like Bonhoeffer.

    That’s why the URL address to my P.E.I.S. (PEACE) Network will be peisnet.world.

  15. Salon, eye opener, Malcom Nance on trump,, ya might want a grasp on this, words can be important,when discussing this,and we already know its happening…pass it on

  16. Of course those of us who are paying attention and traditionally have monitored US politics hope that much of Thug One’s inadequacies are temporary. Starting on Nov 6 we will do the necessary surgery to encapsulate the Trump Tumor that threatens to kill us and remove it for sure in 2020. Of course if Robert Mueller can help move things along sooner we will welcome the evidence of wrong doing that he’s patiently gathering.

    However part of the Trump stain on America will be impossible to remove. He’s has set new standards for American politics that are as low as a banana republic dictator. Compared to Agent Orange Saddam Houssein was a pretty high brow government administrator.

    Remember the outrage the entire country felt when Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton got caught telling us a lie? Donny Johnny does that every single day and has a staff of liars to keep the output high.

    That’s our new standard. Lie big, lie without remorse, lie about everything big and small. That’s now what the world will regard as American.

    How many decades in the wake of Trump will it take to earn global credibility back? I’m sure that I won’t live to see it again.

  17. I’m not a communist, a socialist, or even a democratic-socialist but I’m proud to be a “premature antifascist.” This time the fight isn’t going to be in Spain, like in the late 30’s, but in the U.S. in 2018.

  18. Congressman Keith Ellison knows we can’t do it alone and need help from Europe.

    the Guardian
    Fri 22 Jun 2018 04.00 ED


    “Donald Trump has opened the largest rift between the US and its European allies since George W Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq. From the Paris accord, to the Iran nuclear deal, to pushing for the inclusion of Russia in a G8, the US president has demonstrated no regard for Europe’s security interests. Europe, in turn, has failed to understand how to deter Trump from sabotaging the transatlantic axis. Currently, Europe is considering sanctions and tariffs on US companies. It shouldn’t. To stop Trump and protect its interests, Europe should sanction Trump himself instead.

    Since taking office, Trump has systematically undermined Europe while damaging the US national interest. Precisely because Washington’s European allies want to preserve the transatlantic relationship – unlike Trump – they have been hesitant to push back hard.

    But in its caution, Europe has fallen for a false hope: the belief that Trump can be appeased, that he can be reasoned with and that he can be convinced to abandon his current path with logic. Essentially, Europe has failed to understand that Trump cares more about himself than his country. Like a dictator of a developing country, Trump is less concerned with the prosperity of American families or the country as a whole than with enriching himself and his family businesses.

    Despite Europe’s commendable patience, its failure to understand what animates Trump has enabled him. For example, while Europe tried to salvage the Iran nuclear deal – an arms control agreement that made the world safer – Trump strung Europe along for months, misleading European partners that a compromise on the nuclear deal could be found when he had already made his decision months prior to kill the hard-fought agreement.

    But while Europe has realized that it needs to meet pressure with pressure in order to salvage the transatlantic relationship, it is still focused on measures that are unlikely to succeed.

    Counter-tariffs, clawback sanctions and other economic tools that Europe is considering are hardly sustainable, unlikely to force Trump to back down and will damage both the European Union and US economies. Perhaps more importantly, these economic measures will inflict hardship on millions of American workers who don’t support Trump’s agenda. Trump may even benefit from a rally-round-the-flag effect that often accompanies broad economic sanctions.

    Sanctions targeting his own companies and wealth will sting in a way that he cannot ignore

    A more effective approach would be to target Trump’s wallet. There are countless examples of how Trump is blatantly using the presidency to enrich himself. His controversial tax reform will reportedly save him and his family hundreds of millions of dollars. His son-in-law’s family openly uses their connection to Trump as a selling point to entice investors in China. His state department has publicly promoted Trump-owned private clubs. Foreign embassies have concluded that if they want access to Trump they should stay at his hotel in Washington. Curiously, Ivanka Trump secured seven trademarks in China around the same time Trump eased fines on a major Chinese telecommunications company. Most recently, Trump directed the commerce department to resolve its issues with sanctioned Chinese telecommunications company ZTE just two days after China floated a $500m loan to developers working on a Trump project.

    Like most dictators, Trump can easily weather broad sanctions on the US economy. But sanctions targeting his own companies and wealth will sting in a way that he cannot ignore.

    And that is exactly what Europe should do: don’t sanction or impose tariffs on Minnesotan companies that share no responsibility for Trump’s policies. Sanction Trump’s own companies and bar them from the EU market. For example, the EU and member states could prohibit officials from staying or holding events at Trump properties, or block the use of European money in financing Trump business and development deals. Just moving ahead on the planned placement of windmills near his Scottish golf course might be more likely to get Trump’s attention than a tax on motorcycles.

    Targeting Trump’s companies is a more moral strategy. Broad sanctions and tariffs have high cost to the US and the EU, but little cost to Trump. Targeting Trump’s companies has little cost to the EU and US economies, but a high cost to Trump. Moreover, it will deprive Trump of any rally-round-the-flag-effect that broad sanctions tend to generate. In fact, if he tries to escalate, Americans would see that Trump is risking the broader US economy just to protect his own wealth.

    Many in Congress will welcome this move, as it will shine a light on how Trump’s failure to put his companies in a blind trust has put the United States in a vulnerable position. And if it helps save the Iran nuclear deal or the Paris Climate Accord, the next administration and future generation of Americans will be grateful to European leaders for their courage.”

    Congressman Keith Ellison represents the fifth district of Minnesota

  19. Marv,

    The thing that makes Trump squeal the loudest is money. Yes, boycott everything he owns. Since he has disregarded the emoluments clause completely, we can be justified in disregarding and boycotting everything HE has too.

  20. Marv,

    Great idea for other countries to sanction trump’s companies. I wonder if their leaders would actually consider doing this. They may be afraid that he would punish them even more than he already has. I do hope that some of them will find the backbone to do this.

  21. Trump is exempting his and Ivanka’s foreign manufactured goods from tariffs. What better way to beat the competition?

  22. Nancy,

    ” I wonder if their leaders would actually consider doing this[ sanctions]. They may be afraid that he would punish them even more than he already has.”

    You’re absolutely right. I tweet into Sweden about every week. What can they do? They’re already on a war footing fearing an invasion by the Russians, directed at one of their principal islands.

    A Trump decision could make or break them.

  23. If Trump has an Achilles’ heel, it probably exists in Steve Bannon and his lack of knowledge concerning the LATENT weaknesses within the Religious Right Movement that they hijacked. This reality could easily come back and haunt both of them.

    Maybe the Southern Poverty Law Center helped up us, in the long run, by failing to monitor the deep systemic forces controlling the Religious Right Movement for the past 40 years.

  24. To be brief, it is now the time to organize an effective ANTI-FASCIST RESISTANCE MOVEMENT. Delaying the inevitable will only make it, all the more, difficult for the remote possibility of a PEACEFUL OUTCOME.

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