Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Alternative facts

I haven't followed the story closely, but apparently Trump made exaggerated predictions or claims about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. 

I haven't followed the story in detail because I avoid stories like that. I don't need to get embroiled in microscopic debates. I don't need to take sides on every controversy du jour. 

It's a mistake for conservatives to get into the habit of defending Trump's statements. Trump is loose with the truth. That's a given. I expect him to make factually indefensible statements. That's a vice he shares in common with Hillary. 

It's hardly surprising that the turnout was lower for Trump than Obama. DC is 50% black and 75% Democrat, so naturally there'd be higher turnout for the inauguration of a black president, or a Democrat president, not to mention both in one person. That's the obvious response to make, rather than making demonstrably false claims or foolhardily predictions. Aerial photography is hard to dispute. 

But this is all a distraction. Now that he's president, it really doesn't matter so much what he says, but what he does. That's what we need to keep our eye on. Conservatives should resist getting caught up in the melodrama between Trump and the media. Focus on what Trump is doing, and Congress is doing. That's where the real action is. 


  1. You are right that it's a distraction. I don't think he's the only one to blame for the distraction, though.

    First, CNN blatantly misconstrued the size of the crowd on the mall. They took footage from some time before the inauguration while there were still relatively few people on the mall and cut those earlier clips into the live feed during the inauguration. This was an intentional deception. Oddly, CNN included a photo of the crowd from a different angle on their web site that clearly shows the true size of the crowd on the mall.

    Second, there are genuine photos of some portions of the parade route that had empty spaces that people are happy to point to and say, "See, I told ya so!" without checking any other mitigating factors.

    Third, however, Sean Spicer also referenced the numbers of streaming users indicating that their number estimates include those. I can testify that it was hard to find a feed that was efficient enough not to freeze up because of the numbers of people accessing the streaming feeds from the event. So we all gathered together in a large office here at work and watched the main portion of the inauguration. It was the first time since maybe Regan that I've been able to see it because I've been at work somewhere. Streaming capabilities have improved even just over the past four years. So it seems that Trump was counting people who were watching remotely in the numbers.

    Was Trump possibly exaggerating? Probably some. But at least CNN was deliberately lying and now it's all a perfectly meme-able "alternate fact". Unfortunately, whatever Trump does, good or bad, will be met with these same kinds of "alternate facts" to distract us from what is really going on. And I expect Trump will continue to fuel it with his own dubious public proclamations.

    1. Thanks for the background info.