Trump’s “Bottomless Pinocchios” and the Lies CNN Prefers

by Sunsara Taylor



I watched a recent CNN special called “All the President’s Lies.” It’s important and heavy that they felt compelled to expose the unparalleled lies, assault on the truth itself, and war on the press that are core to Trump’s program. And they exposed a LOT of lies that really matter: Trump’s redrawing of the hurricane map, then pressuring agencies to reinforce his LIE; Trump’s LIES about the whistleblower, part of an unprecedented assault on separation of powers; and much more.

CNN also exposed how fact-checkers had to come up with an entirely new category to document the volume of lies Trump tells. As opposed to a simple scale of 1 to 4 “Pinocchios” (indicating the level of lie), the Washington Post introduced the “Bottomless Pinocchio” to rate politicians who “repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.”

So all this was very important.

However, the CNN special was seriously marred by GROSS American chauvinism. They repeatedly argued the main danger of Trump’s lies is how they undermine faith in the U.S. government. At times they buttressed this by pointing out how Trump’s lies could cost American lives, while saying little about the harm to other people’s lives. They even argued that a big problem with Trump’s denial of climate change is that extreme droughts helped fuel Islamic fundamentalism by driving Syrians from the countryside into the cities—and that this hurt America. How seriously twisted! What about the harm caused to the Syrian people—both by climate change which is disproportionately fueled by the U.S. and by the U.S.’s imperialist aggression in Syria and the region? None of this gets examined by CNN. Instead, for all the real work they did to expose Trump’s lies, they seemed to work equally hard to reinforce the big lie they—and other bourgeois media and the ruling class overall—love to tell: that the U.S. is a force for good in the world. It is NOT!

In a 2017 speech, the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian characterized this kind of liberal bourgeois critique of Trump’s lies in this way: “Please, can we put an end to these lies from Trump that make me uncomfortable and get back to the lies about this country that make me comfortable. This hits the nail right on the head!

We should appreciate how deep a crisis it is when CNN and others dedicate themselves to calling out Trump’s war on truth. They worry for the future of the system they serve. And we should appreciate that the level of Trump’s lying has caused many to think consciously—many for the first time—about the importance of taking an evidence-based approach to reality.

We should seize on this! But we can’t stop halfway like CNN does. We need to take up and fight for an epistemology (an approach to understanding what is true) that follows the evidence wherever it leads. This is a hallmark of the new communism Bob Avakian has forged, and of the life that Avakian has led.

The true role of America has been rigorously documented in the American Crime series at; from slavery and genocide to unjust invasions, assassinations, coups, torture, and more. Did you know that the United States is the only country in the world to drop nuclear bombs on civilians? America has never been a force for good in the world. It is this profound truth that set the stage for the fascism of Donald Trump which is taking all this to horrendous new levels—including his new level of lies.

There is responsibility that comes with confronting these and other truths. And, all of us have moments when what we learn makes us uncomfortable. But one of the most important things I have learned from Bob Avakian’s leadership is that getting to a world without all this unnecessary suffering requires understanding the world as it actually is and acting to change it on that basis and no other. As it says in the 5th Point of Attention for the Revolution Avakian leads, “We search for and fight for the truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to and learn from the observations, insights and criticisms of others.”




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