January 29, 2017

Dictionary Definitions


Alternative facts, we're told by Sean Spicer, are not lies. They're like two different weather forecasts.
The press was trying to make that seem like we were ignoring the facts. You can look at a weather report and one weather report comes out and says it's going to be cloudy, and the next one says there's going to be light rain. No one lied to you, it just means you interpreted the data in a way that you felt got you to a conclusion.
 Uh, Sean, is it warmer in the summer than it is in Virginia?

The Trump Administration, apparently not understanding the difference between facts and conclusions, might want to spend some time with Merriam-Webster, the dictionary with a great sense of timing, and humor.

You see, the MW has been helping people with the definitions of words like fact (shown below) and other trending searches, using its Twitter feed to educate people as Spicer, Conway, other surrogates and yes, even Trump himself, spout their alternative worldview.


In addition to attacking facts, the Trumpeters have kept up their attacks on the media, keeping the narrative that started early in the campaign when someone asked Trump a question he didn't like, or reported facts that Trump didn't like, or doubted an answer that Trump provided, or used unflattering pictures of him.

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, described by the San Antonio Current as Congress' top climate change denier (who's been into "alternative facts" long before they were cool), had this to say on the House floor the other day:
Just think what the media would be saying about President Trump if he were a Democrat. "He has tremendous energy. He campaigned for 18 months, puts in 15-hour days, and has the stamina of a bull elephant, like Teddy Roosevelt He is courageous and fearless. Given the amount of hate directed his way, no doubt he constantly receives death threats, but that doesn't curtail his public appearances or seem to worry him in the least..."
The national liberal media won't print that, or air it, or post it. Better to get your news directly from the president, In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.
OK, forget for a moment the fact that there's a whole lot more to being president than having stamina, even though Trump used that effectively during the primary (remember "Low Energy" Jeb! Bush?) and during the general election with his comments about Hillary Clinton. I don't think we'd have to look all that hard to find examples of effective presidents who did not possess elephantine strength.

The media would be saying about a Democrat who said what Trump says, does what Trump does, exactly what they're saying about Donald Trump. They would call a Democrat on their lies, point by point, just as they're doing with Trump. They would question a Democrat's every move, should a Democrat do the same as Trump is doing. 


But the second part, getting the unvarnished truth, from Donald Trump himself? Seriously? 


I've been plenty critical of the media and how they handled things from the very beginning of Trump's candidacy, but I would never shift my news (and opinion) sources from established media outlets - newspapers, magazines, TV news, public television, (and their online components, some of which are fine and some of which are horrid) and start using the the president or his minions as the source of truth, varnished or otherwise.

Because, Representative Smith, you're talking about the man who suggested this:
I'm going to open up our libel laws so when [journalists] write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.
You're talking about the man who
  • banned media outlets during his campaign because they were 'mean' to him
  • threatened a libel suit against the NY Times 
  • thinks everything written or posted that is not flattering is fake news a lie, or a personal attack, 
  • lies repeatedly, 
  • appeared with an applauding crowd at his first 'press conference' and who takes a claque with him for other appearances. (And yes, in case you're wondering. claque is trending on MW).  
This is not the man who will provide us the unvarnished truth., unless you were thinking of the second definition, explained by the words crude and unfinished. Maybe that's what you meant?

No, this is the man who will provide us something else entirely. 

We'll get his view, which you might note, is in the bottom 50% of popular words, similar to Trump's approval rating according to Gallup and Quinnipiac polling after his first week in office. Coincidence, I wonder?

We'll get his opinion, his preference, his sentiment, his slant, and all the rest.

But at least for now, I'll look elsewhere for the truth. You can look to Trump for this other thing.