The Right Wing War on Truth

Robert Reich spells out the greatest threat to democracy in the coming months and years: the Big Lie and the right wing’s determination to discredit our traditional sources of information.

What’s the truth? Conservative talk-show hosts, right-wing media, and Trump himself are on a campaign to discredit traditional sources of facts and analysis – scientists, economists, criminologists, government data, and mainstream media — and substitute their preferred reality.

For example:

1. The CIA and FBI say Russia interfered with the election to benefit Trump. But Trump disagrees. And Breitbart News (until recently under the watch of Trump’s strategic advisor Steven Bennan) dismisses the CIA report as “left-wing fake news.”

2. Almost all scientists agree climate change is real and is caused by humans. But Trump disagrees. And so does Scott Pruitt, his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency. 

3. The F.B.I. and virtually all criminologists agree that the rate of homicides in the U.S. has plummeted in recent years. But Trump says it’s soared. So does Fox News. 

4. Most health policy analysts agree that Medicare’s costs are rising both because the costs of health care are rising and the American population is aging. But Paul Ryan and many Republicans in Congress say Medicare itself is to blame. 

5. Government data show the rate of illegal immigration has declined sharply over the last ten years, and that undocumented immigrants commit proportionately fewer crimes than native-born Americans. But Trump claims the opposite is true, and both Breitbart and Fox News agree with Trump. 

6. Most economists and policy analysts don’t think that tax cuts to the rich result in better wages for most people. But Trump’s economic advisers contend otherwise. 

On almost every major issue to be addressed over the next few years, Trump and the rightwing media are already feeding Americans big lies, and trying to discredit traditional sources of truth. This poses one of the greatest threats to our democracy.

–Robert Reich

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