As the first days of a Trump administration turn into the first weeks, media personnel covering the new President have learned to be wary of the information released by his administration. A series of lies and “alternative facts” have led anyone with a penchant for critical thinking to be skeptical of what the President says, as many of it is simply untrue. All lies, however, were not created equal, and one lie is more dangerous than all of Trump’s others put together.
Specifically, the Trump administration’s apparent obsession with doing whatever it takes to give Muslim Americans a reputation for being violent or associated with terror has now led him and his cronies to start spreading outright lies. The most ridiculous and well-known of these lies was Kellyanne Conway’s recent gaffe, in which she invented a fictional “Bowling Green Massacre”.
Conway’s comments, like many such comments made about “radical Islamic terrorism” by the Trump administration, were meant to provide some sort of justification for the administration’s executive orders banning Muslim immigration in the United States.
This brings us to the first sign of danger: on a purely ideological level, when the leader of any democracy has to start using fear and lies to justify policy, protectors of equality and fairness need to be on guard against hysteria and fascist tendencies.
This particular series of lies, however, is even more troubling. Trump and his advisors aren’t just creating general fear to motivate policy, but cultivating a culture of relentless scapegoating. By constantly associating Muslim Americans with terrorist acts, he is trying to breed a sense of unease towards these individuals in his supporter base.
It goes without saying that these fears are all essentially baseless: the average American has a one in 3.6 million, or .00003% chance of being killed in an attack by a foreign-born terrorist.
Claims that these “alternative truths” represent simply careless mistakes are lies as well. If Conway had truly “misspoke one word” when describing the events in Bowling Green Kentucky, then she wouldn’t have gone on to use the exact same phrase across multiple media outlets and interviews.
Clearly, the deception was intentional. It goes without saying that an individual speaking on behalf of the president might check the easily accessed FBI report that indicates the events at Bowling Green were hardly a massacre.
This goes beyond racism, and even beyond the incredibly un-American idea of rejecting diversity and personal liberty in favor of racially-motivated government limitations. By spreading lies and falsities about terrorist attacks, the Trump administration is disrespecting heroic Americans.
The incredibly brave individuals who first responded to the September 11th attacks, for instance, do not deserve to have their legacy of heroism tarnished by an administration that now seeks to use fear of such events for personal or political gain.
Patriotic American soldiers risking their lives fighting genuine threats to American safety do not deserve to have their efforts devalued by an administration that wants Americans to believe they aren’t safe. Regardless of party affiliation, Americans everywhere need to stand together now and reject these lies for what they are: dangerous, unpatriotic propaganda.
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Source: Media Matters