This website is being built to fund a nonprofit organization — Truth For Democracy — that will (hopefully if funded) provide a nonpartisan effort to “make truth a virtue again in our American political conversations.” Of course, nonpartisan does not mean BLIND! So we must report when our most powerful politicians continue to push falsehoods.
In today’s New York Times, an editorial excoriated Donald Trump for responding to Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe speech. Streep said she was heartbroken seeing Trump insult a physically-challenged New York Times reporter. In responding to Streep’s speech, Trump Tweeted that it never happened. Of course, as you probably know, it did happen and it has been caught on video.
The Times editorial said this:
He hasn’t taken office yet, but Donald Trump is lost, wandering in a labyrinth of lies and trying to drag the country in with him.
The implication from the editorial is that Donald Trump and his administration are in danger of creating a dystopian Dishonest-World where it will become virtually impossible to know when Trump or his administration or his advocates are telling the truth. This is terrifying!
Of course, lying about one’s own behavior is a character issue.
Lying in relation to issues is even more dangerous! When Trump tells Americans that the murder rate has gone up, when in fact it is way down from five years ago, and ten years ago, and 20 years ago; he is hurting democracy much more than when he lies about his own boorish behavior. Same with Bill Clinton’s angry retort, “I did not have sex with that woman!” These lies are wrong, they show a character flaw, and they are stupid to say because they usually backfire — BUT, they are not as dangerous as lies about facts that relate to issues that politicians and the body electorate of us citizens have to think about and make decisions on.
Perhaps we need not a rating system based NOT on an undifferentiated continuum ending with “pants on fire,” but a continuum from white lies to treason. Wikipedia has a great collection of the many types of lies there are, but it is too many for a rating system and many are not relevant for rating political commerce.
Here is my first draft: