“Numbers Are Continuing to Rise!” Leadership Matters. Truth Matters.

“Numbers Are Continuing to Rise!” Leadership Matters. Truth Matters. March 30, 2020

“Numbers are continuing to rise…”

You might be forgiven for thinking this was an assessment of the death statistics (in the US); after all, this was a comment by the POTUS. But no, it was on Twitter and it was, yet again, a comment from Trump rather narcissistically bigging his own ego up. Just what the nation needs, right?

The whole Tweet:

Well done. Well done. And the virus?

Is this presidential? It is certainly Trumpian.

Nothing surprises me any more. What I find particularly pertinent now is that various news organisations are presently fact-checking Trump’s claims at the time he is speaking. CNN do this really well live with Daniel Dale. In written form, here are some excellent examples:

CNN’s report from 3 days ago.

CNN’s report from 2 days ago.

CNN’s report from 1 day ago.

Others are doing this too, as if fact-checking Trump is utterly normal – that there is a normalisation to his lies and that his inaccuracy is what is now to be accepted. This devaluation of everything Trump says is taken for granted in the UK, where the majority of people have a low opinion of him, but should be worrying for his supporters in the US; that said, nothing appears to worry them. 

The Guardian: “Five of Donald Trump’s most misleading coronavirus claims”

Associated Press: “AP FACT CHECK: Trump gets a reality check on coronavirus”

npr: “FACT CHECK: U.S. Lags On Testing, Despite Trump’s Claims”

NYT: “Coronavirus Fact Check: Analyzing the Patterns in Trump’s Falsehoods”

And so on.

Mind you, he does knows hits stuff. According to him.

In times of a pandemic, it is incredibly important to get lines of communication open and accurate. Yes, optimism has its uses in a battle for hearts and minds but this needs to be managed carefully, not just as off-script and hopeful stream of consciousness.

In this relentless news cycle, we shouldn’t expect a relentless fact-checking service for the most influential man on Earth.

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