Self-awareness Fail Alert
From the man who brought us “fake but accurate” . . . Dan Rather is possibly the living person least entitled to pontificate about the importance of truth in journalism and politics. So naturally, Chris Matthews invited him on this evening’s Hardball to do just that. Hat tip Colleen B.
In criticizing Kellyanne Conway’s use of the term “alternative facts” to explain White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s comments while addressing the press this past Saturday, Rather said: “facts, and the truth . . . are at the very foundation of our democracy.”
Rather gave examples of indisputable facts: there’s snow in Alaska and sand in Saudi Arabia. Right: and a fabricated document is a fabricated document.
Matthews began by playing a clip of Conway’s appearance on Meet the Press.
CHUCK TODD: You did not answer the question of why the president asked the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood. Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You’re saying it’s a falsehood and they’re giving, Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point is —
TODD: Alternative facts? Alternative facts: four of the five facts he uttered.
CONWAY: Hey Chuck, hey Chuck —
TODD: Four of the five facts he uttered are just not true. Look: alternative facts are just not facts. They’re falsehoods.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Dan, there’s a new phrase, and I think Kellyanne is as smart as a whip. I think that one was a mistake. That one was a strike-out. Because somebody, I might as well do it: somebody’s going to do it: alt-facts. It’s not even going to be “alternative.” It’s going to be “alt-facts.” And you know what that means. That’s coming.
DAN RATHER: To say it was unfortunate is to put it mildly. This was a big mistake. Listen: we cannot, we simply cannot. I don’t mean journalists, I mean writers per se. None of us can go into in this world of alternative facts. Listen: two plus two equals four. That’s a fact. There’s no alternative to it. [Matthews can be heard chuckling off-camera.]
Water runs downhill, that’s a fact. It snows in Alaska. There are sand dunes in Saudi Arabia. These are facts. This idea of alternative facts, this is a propaganda tool. And look, you and I know that Ms. Conway is a smart lady and she didn’t just offhandedly say this. They’ve made this point before. I don’t think that even most of the very—Trump supporters who really believe in him—want us to deal in a world of alternative facts. Facts, and the truth, or as close as is humanly possible to get to the truth, are at the very foundation of our democracy and dealing with an informed citizenry.
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