If you thought a Donald Trump Presidency would be totally different from a Donald Trump campaign, recent events do not seem to be in your favor. Donald Trump’s win saw the ascension of post-truth as the word for the year in 2016, now a new concept is being introduced called alternative facts.
When post-truth was crowned as the word for 2016, it’s definition was given as;
“An adjective relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
Alternative facts, the new concept that the Trump administration has introduced, is not so far from that. After the President’s inauguration on Friday, President Trump spent the weekend falsely claiming that record numbers of people had attended his inauguration.
This was despite the fact that millions of Americans took to the streets to protest against his election. President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, had his first White House briefing and took the time to shout at journalists over their false reporting of Trump’s inauguration. He declared that; “We’re going to hold the press accountable.”
The press secretary insisted that; “This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period,” and that the “attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”
A senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway was questioned on the matter in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,”. The host, Chuck Todd, had pressed her on why the White House on Saturday had sent Spicer to the briefing podium for the first time to claim that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”
Kellyanne Conway replied that “Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts,” to which Todd rejoined; “Alternative facts aren’t facts, they are falsehoods.”
The matter was visited once more in the interview as Todd asked Conway; “What was the motive to have this ridiculous litigation of crowd size?” Conway said;
“Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That’s not your job,”
“I’ll answer it this way: Think about what you just said to your viewers. That’s why we feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative facts out there.”
President Trump had courted criticism earlier when he delivered a campaign-style speech in front of a memorial to fallen CIA officers. The President had said that he was at “war with the media” and called accurate news reports about his inaugural crowd being smaller than Barack Obama’s “a lie”.
President Trump also offered other alternative facts during his speech to the CIA, stating that reports of a feud between him and US intelligence officials had been invented by journalists, who he said were among “the most dishonest human beings on Earth”.
The outgoing CIA director, John Brennan, seemed incensed about the President’s words, saying in a statement that “Trump should be ashamed of himself.”
America can look forward to more alternative facts as the Trump administration continues to settle in and the media will be there to counter them all.