That’s the meme, accompanied by the graphic at right. Rosemary Olsen posted it on Facebook and said “I fact checked this. It’s true.” 14,901 people shared it.
It sounds like something Trump would say. The picture is from a 1998 interview on Oprah. But while Fox News existed in 1998, it wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. And while People Magazine did plenty of Trump profiles, they never talked to him about running for president.
My readers, since they are more intelligent than all those dummies on the Internet, know enough not to believe what they read in memes. Except that several of my Facebook friends reposted this. (Tom Cunniff smartly identified it as a pitch perfect piece of propaganda.)
What does this tell us? It tells us the danger of lies.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@jbernoff”]Donald Trump is the archetypal leader for the post-factual era of politics.[/tweetthis]
There is danger for America in this attitude — leaders with a casual relationship with truth must not lead our country. But there is also danger for Trump himself. Because now any mischief-maker can attribute any statement to him, no matter how outrageous, and it seems plausible. Live by the lie, die by the lie.
We live in a share-without-reading world. The distinction between trustworthy media and made-up bullshit is eroding. Changes in media, including partisan outlets like Fox News and unedited blog collections like Forbes‘, contribute to that decline.
We want to believe the best of our friends, and the worst about our enemies. Our slanted Facebook feeds show us what we want to see. This reinforces our biases and shields us from critical thinking.
Truth takes work. It takes work to create it — that’s what this blog is about. And it takes work for readers to identify it and separate it from lies.
Do the work. Not just for yourself. Do the work to reveal who’s lying, so we don’t all end up living in an era of politics that leaves facts behind.