Adapting to Donald Trump's Lies

November 29, 2016 - Mahershala Ali 11/29/2016 Views: 173,329

Even after Donald Trump's mendacious 2016 presidential campaign, the media is still grappling with how to report on the president-elect's blatant falsehoods. (11:22)

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breaking news

from the only placewe get breaking news anymore,

Donald Trump's Twitter.

REPORTER: Overnight, President-elect Donald Trump

unleashing a Twitter tirade,

retweeting attacks on a journalist

after Trump claimed voter fraud

but provided no proof of voter misconduct.

Trump has shared tweetsfrom supporters who are hitting

our senior Washingtoncorrespondent Jeff Zeleny.

One of Trump's retweetsis from a 16-year-old

calling Zeleny pathetic.

Yeah, Zeleny! You're pathetic.

I mean, not as patheticas a future president

so desperate for validationthat he's like,

"See? This teenage boy saysI'm right."

But, still, pathetic. Yeah.

But, seriously, uh, congratsto that teenage boy. Yeah.

He's just been namedsecretary of state. Fantastic.

And, uh, this-this whole thingwith Trump

leads me to a question.

Have you ever arguedwith a toddler?

Because if you have,if you have,

you probably lost that argument

or you killed the toddler.

Either way,you didn't win the argument,

because you can't winan argument against a toddler.

Toddlers will saythe most outlandish (bleep).

And the more you arguewith them,

the more they become entrenchedin their views.

A toddler will just sayanything. They'll just be like,

"My daddy is the strongest manin the world!"

And you'll be like,"No, he's not."

Be like, "Yeah, he is."

It's like, "No, he's not."

"Yeah, he is.My dad is the strongest.

Prove it!" You're like,"What do you mean? I c...

I can't prove it."And he's like, "I told you."

Now, now, the reason I'm tellingyou this is because,

over the course of this electionseason, we've come to realize

that there's a good chancethat President-elect Trump

might have the mindof a toddler.

And-and if you think about it,it makes sense.

You know, he loves the samethings that toddlers do.

They like building things,

they love attention,

always grabbing thingsthey're not supposed to.

-(laughter, applause)-And...

they love riding escalators.

"Whee!

Look, Mommy! Whee!"

By the way, by the way,

I-I bet that's-that'sthe same thing with elevators.

You know that wheneverTrump gets into an elevator,

he's like, "I push!"

And then pressesall the numbers. "Aah!"

Now, now, throughoutthe presidential campaign,

the media tried to figure outhow to deal with Trump's lies.

Then they realizedthat Trump might actually win.

So, uh, then they started doingtheir jobs.

So, on Trump's claimthat Clinton or her staffers

deliberately destroyedsubpoenaed e-mails,

CNN's Reality Check Teamfinds that false.

He talked about bombson the floor

at the San Bernardino apartment,uh, where that attack happened

last year. There were no bombsseen on the floor.

-Nobody saw that. -REPORTER: Trump did make a number

of false statements in the speech.

REPORTER 2: Trump's claim is false.

REPORTER 3: Trump spent an entire day repeating

a false claim that President Obama

literally is the founder of ISIS.

You knew Trump's lieshad reached big league

when CNN started fact-checkinghim in their headlines.

Look at that at the end.That's a real headline.

"Trump calls Obama founderof ISIS (he's not)."

It's almost like CNN was like,

"Hey, we can't even wait for youto watch the whole show.

"You need to knowthis is bull(bleep) right now.

Right now. Don't even watch."

And-and here's the problemthat everyone realized

about Donald Trumpalmost too late:

facts mean nothing to him.

Donald Trumphas no relationship to facts.

None. Like, no relationship.

Not even, like,a distant cousin.

He has no... He has a betterrelationship with Tiffany

than he does with facts.And that's saying something.

Trump has no relationshipwith...

If Trump went on Ancestry.com,

he would not find any facts.Or black people.

None. And here th...

here's why this is important,right?

Historically, every politicianthe news has ever dealt with,

they all have one thingin common:

they're all amazing in bed,right?

No, that's not true.That's not true.

They all have one thingin common.

In some way, shape, or form,they all use facts.

Even if they lie, politicians'lies are based on facts.

They base their lies on factsbecause they're aware

that human beings like facts,so you're supposed to use them.

For example,for example, all right.

I want you all to do thisat home and in the studio.

I want you to imaginethe slimiest,

most spineless,conniving politician you can.

Just think of that person.

The politicianyou're thinking of is Ted Cruz.

-(laughter)-Thank you. Thank you very much.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

-Thank you. Thank you.-(applause and cheering)

I'll be here all week.Thank you. Thank you.

Yes, it's Ted Cruz,

the Texas senatorwho is an inveterate liar.

And it's so bad

that even his birth certificatesays "Lyin' Ted" on it.

-(laughter) -Now here'san example of how he lies.

The computer models predicted

that the earth would warmdramatically.

There's one little problem.

The satellites that actuallymeasure the temperature--

that have recordedno significant warming

whatsoeverfor the last 18 years.

-(speaking gibberish)-(laughter)

You see what he did there?It's hard to see.

But we all know thatglobal warming is on the rise,

and has been for many decades.

We know thisbecause scientists have told us.

But Ted Cruz-- and this iswhere he's brilliant--

he took the scientists' data,

and then he just usedthe cherry-picked section

from the specific satellitedata set that makes it look

like global warming is notactually an issue,

when, in fact,we know that it is.

It's almost like someone saying,"Man, I'm so good this year.

This entire year,I haven't had any junk food!"

And you're like, "Oh, wow!

"That's really impre... Wait.

-It's only January 2nd!"-(laughter)

"Well, that's not the point."

But you see, what Cruz did washe made a lie based on a fact.

Now until Donald Trump,this is how politicians lied.

That's why fact-shaming worked.

It's almost like Terminator. Think of Terminators, right?

Most politicians are likethe original Terminator,

Arnold Schwarzenegger.

They have a skeleton of truthand a skin of lies.

And if you shoot enough factsat the lies,

the facts rip away the fleshand expose the truth.

But Trump-- he's the upgrade.

(laughter)

You come at Trumpwith your facts,

and every time, he does this.

(laughter)

By the way, that guy's alsoin Trump's cabinet.

(laughter)

Now, the media has neverhad to deal with someone

who is impervious to facts,and, uh, clearly it shows.

What do you do as a journalist?

How much time and energyand space should we be devoting

to the demonstrably false claimsthat the president-elect makes?

Do we overreact to every tweet,every flutter from Donald Trump?

You know, frankly, I don't know

what our job hereis a journalist these days,

because, I mean, are we gonnajust do Donald Trump's

tweet of the day?

(laughter, applause)

Well, that... that poor man!

(laughter)

He's havingan existential crisis on air!

"I mean,what is a journalist anymore?

"What... what is life?

"What is tweets?

I... I'm going to Thailand."

(laughter)

You know what my theory is?

I believe that Donald Trumphas created his own universe,

and from within that universe,he takes a made-up idea,

throws it at usin the real world,

and whether we canprove him wrong or not--

it doesn't matter.

We've lost, because now,we're in his universe.

For example, last night,Trump tweeted

that anyoneburning the American flag

should lose their citizenship.

And then, the news and Twitterand everyone was swallowed up

by flag-burning arguments.

"Oh, the Constitution! You can'tdo it! The Constitution!"

But you see,once again, Trump wins.

It doesn't matterwhat he says.

He could tweet anything.He could tweet

that goblinsare faster than unicorns.

And the next day,the news would lose their minds.

For 24 hours, it's allthey'd be talking about.

CNN would bring outa hologram unicorn.

Don Lemon would host a panelwhere people would argue

about goblins,and then, after all that effort,

Trump would just tweet about howthe news is bad at journalism,

because they can't provetheir claims.

Claims that no one could provebecause Trump invented them.

Think about it.You can just do it.

You can be like,"Oh, goblins, unicorns.

Goblins are faster."

And the people are like,"That's not true."

"Prove it.""Ah..."

"You see? You're wrong."

And Trump does this to the newsall the time.

He saidCruz's dad killed JFK.

Then what happened?

-People spent weeks studying oldpictures. -(laughter)

He said thousands of people inNew Jersey cheered on 9/11.

So reporterswent around New Jersey asking,

"Hey, did you cheer on 9/11?Did you cheer?

"Who cheered on 9/11?Who likes 9/11?

"Wait. You do?

"No, I didn't say 7-11.I said 9/11!

Come on, man!"

(laughter, applause)

That facts aren'tthe same anymore.

And don't get me wrong.

But we've got to be smartabout how we use them

against Donald Trump--because he's changed the rules.

He's completely changedthe rules of engagement.

It's the same way Americanschanged the rules of engagement

back when they were fightingthe British.

Yeah, and the Britishdidn't adapt,

and that's why they lost.

They, too, were like,"This is the way we've done it

"since the beginning of time!

"We can't fight like this.

"They won't tell uswhen they're coming,

"they won't break for tea,and they're hiding!

"How can you fight a warwhen you're hiding?

"This is ridiculous!We will not fight like...

"Ah, I'm dead. I'm dead.

"I'm dead.

I've lost. I'm dead."

The truth is, the newsalso needs to adapt.

Here's an option.

One thing the news could tryis treating Trump

like the toddler he is.

You don't argue with a toddlerif you want to win.

Don't amplifythe toddler's voice,

because you'll just get trappedin the toddler's world.

Rather, just keep askingthe toddler to elaborate.

Because logic is the downfallof every toddler.

Well, that and shoelaces.But logic, mostly.

Yeah. You don't fight.The toddler says,

"My dad's the strongest manin the world!"

And you're like, "Oh, yeah?What makes you say that?"

"Well, the other day, uh...

he put somethingon the top shelf."

Is that tall or strong?

"That's tall."

Have you got another example?

"The other dayhe picked'd me up."

Have you seen anyone elsepicked'd their kid up?

"Yeah."

Still think your dad'sthe strongest?

-"No."-(laughter)

"I don't thinkI should be president."

-That's all you got to do.-(applause, whooping)

Just ask the toddlerto elaborate.

And look, don't get me wrong,don't get me wrong.

You're not gonna convince Trumphe's wrong.

But that's not the point.

The point is to gentlydemoralize the toddler

and smother his tantrums.

And as a bonus,you could stop him

from delegitimizing the press.That's a bonus.

So here's the thing.Next time Trump tweets something

completely ridiculous,instead of fact-checking him,

just say,"Oh, wow, Donald, really?

"Vote-rigging?

"That's amazing!

"Show me where it happened,big guy,

and we'll investigate."

And he'll be like,"I don't know."

See, that way,the news can spend its energy

on storiesit can actually prove,

like how Trump is nominatinga health secretary

who wants to repealthe Affordable Care Act

and millions of people couldlose their health insurance,

or how Trump's chief of staffsays that Trump thinks

climate changeis a bunch of bunk,

which means we'll probablyall be underwater in 50 years.

You know, the thingsthat we should be focusing on.

So, news, report on the stuffthat actually affects

the real world,and then if Donald Trump tweets

some crazy claimfrom his universe,

just tweet him back-- "Hey, man,pics or it didn't happen."