The pitiful cowardice of “fake news”

Donald Trump’s accusations of ‘fake news’ aren’t just disingenuous, they’re cowardly. Some of those accusations are specific, and those are usually smacked down, hard:

Those aren’t the ones I’m talking about. At least, in those cases, he’s making a claim that can be fact-checked. More often, it’s just poisoning the well against (essentially all) legitimate news organizations:

This is both transparently dishonest and cowardly. It’s cowardly because it allows him to throw shade on any negative claims without actually making any claims himself that could be refuted. It’s not that the major news organizations are without problems, nor that they don’t get things wrong. I’ve criticized many of them myself recently. But in those cases, I’m making a specific claim that is subject to being falsified, namely that Cuba didn’t attack Americans with a sonic weapon. If that turns out to be wrong, I’ll take my lumps.

Donald Trump wants to have it both ways: the press lies, so don’t believe them, but I’m not going to say what they lied about, so there’s no need (or way) to fact check. This is not how intellectually honest people argue; it’s how cowardly liars who don’t even believe their own bullshit argue.

Don’t even get me started on “lots of people say…”.



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