It’s often been said that major news networks like CNN aren’t doing enough to stand up to Donald Trump’s lies. The weak-kneed way mainstream journalists approach Trump using a model of “fair and balanced” to avoid accusations of bias has been expertly exploited by the Republican front-runner. He knows he can lie because he knows he’s not going to be called on it. At least not to his face.
CNN, clearly having grown fed up with Trump using the network to spout falsehood after falsehood to serve to his gullible supporters, finally found a brilliant way to put an end to it. The solution was very simple and yet revolutionary enough that it’s already going viral on social media. How do you stop Trump from lying on your network: You fact-check him in real time.
Trump’s lie of the day was on the issue of whether or not he would encourage Japan to have nuclear weapons. In late March, here is what he said verbatim:
You have so many countries already — China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia — you have so many countries right now that have them. Now, wouldn’t you rather, in a certain sense, have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?
He added that if Japan had nukes, then America wouldn’t have to pay so much to defend them from potential aggressors. Which is true, because in the event of a nuclear holocaust, the irradiated mutants who inherit what was once the United States won’t have to worry about paying anybody anything. Problem solved.
As usual, Trump responded to his apparent flip flop by simply denying that he ever said Japan should or would have nuclear weapons in the first place. In typical fashion, Trump accused Hillary Clinton of lying about it:
She made a speech, she’s making another one tomorrow, and they sent me a copy of the speech. And it was such lies about my foreign policy, that they said I want Japan to get nuclear weapons. Give me a break.
It was an egregious lie and one that the old CNN (last month’s CNN) might have simply shrugged off as another “he said, he said.” Instead, they made it clear that Trump was lying right there on the screen. It signals to the country that CNN, one of the most watched news networks in the country, is getting serious about not allowing Trump to spew endless bullshit with zero recourse.
Every news network needs to enact this policy. Enough is enough.
And there are signs that it’s already working. Trump spent the morning lashing out at CNN and accusing them of being incompetent, which is, as everyone knows, his way of saying “made me look bad.” For once, Trump and I agree. He looked very bad indeed.
Featured image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images