A fair and important question:
When a liar admits he lied, should you believe him?
Yes, this post is triggered by yesterday’s revelation by Donald J. Trump, Jr. He released “the entire email chain of my emails” that relate to a meeting between a Russian attorney and key members of the Trump campaign team.
The pundits and press and politicians are aghast … of course.
But here’s the question I want an answer to: was Trump Jr. lying when he denied having a meeting or is he lying now when he claims he did have a meeting?
- Trump, Sr., has tried to discredit the press (and other truth-tellers), using terms like “fake news”, “failing”, “dishonest” and “enemy of the people”.
- The press has revealed one discovery after another of interactions between the Trump campaign team members and various Russians.
- Trump, Sr., Fox News, many Republican officials, and Trump’s supporters dismiss the Trump-Russia allegations as “fake news”, “obsessions”, and “a nothing-burger”.
If you were Trump, Sr., how would you discredit all of your critics? How would you prove that the press is lying? Here’s what I would do:
I would manufacture damning evidence – a “smoking gun” – and reveal it in a way that makes it appear to be iron-clad. I would wait a few days for the press and the critics to celebrate this “stake in the heart”, allow the clamor to rise to a frenzy … and then I would admit that the evidence is fake.
In one swoop, I will have proven every allegation I’ve been making about the “dishonest press” and their hunger for “fake news”. I will have exposed them as “enemies of the people.” I will have placed a “stake in the heart” of their credibility.
And I will have shut down any further discussion of my original lie.
So, what should we believe – that there was a meeting, and the emails are evidence? or that there was not a meeting, and the emails are fake? or that there was a meeting, but the emails are fake?
It comes down to evidence – and, so far, I haven’t seen anyone produce evidence that the emails are authentic.