Fake News

The Nation, a weekly political roundup on New Zealand TV, had an article last weekend reviewing Donald Trump’s year since he was elected. They started with a montage that would have made the BBC proud, including a piece on “the crowd size” at his inauguration. They even showed the now famous picture comparing crowd size at the Trump inauguration ceremony itself, compared with that at Barak Obamas first inauguration. They then interviewed Teen Vogue Columnist Lauren Duca who said “the president has lied, literally thousands of times”, and allowed that comment to pass without challenge.

Here is the link to Sean Spicers statement. As you can see he refers not to “crowd size” at his inauguration, but to the audience that witnessed the inauguration “both in person and around the globe”.

I have not seen reliable figures for audiences around the world. It must be all but impossible to produce such numbers. However; given the rising world population and spread of technology over the intervening eight years, it must be highly likely that Sean Spicer had it absolutely right.

Trump critics have rolled out Sean Spicer’s audience claim, relabelled as a crowd size claim, again and again. They give the convincing impression that this is their best shot at proving that Donald Trump disseminates fake news. Well, their best shot is itself fake news.

That the liberal, establishment, elite in New Zealand buys into this narrative may explain why the policy platform of the new Labour-led government in New Zealand is devoid of any radical ideas. Maybe they felt they simply could not get a fair hearing? They will spend a bit more and tax/borrow a bit more than the previous administration, but their policies are versions of the policies that they say have failed.

Is it really true that Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn can have radical ideas, but not this NZ government? There is a saying about what happens – If you keep doing what you’ve always done . . .