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Trump wins no matter what: The president's 10 steps for turning lies into half-truths

Trump lies more than any president we’ve ever had, and he seems to get away with it. How?

Robert Reich
March 5, 2017 3:58PM (UTC)

This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief insisted that the newspaper wouldn’t label President Donald Trump’s false statements as “lies.” Lying, said the editor, requires a deliberate intention to mislead, which couldn’t be proven in Trump’s case.

But Trump lies more than any president we’ve ever had, and he seems to get away with it. Here’s his 10-step plan for turning lies into near truths.


Step 1: He lies.

Step 2: Experts contradict him, saying his claim is baseless and false. The media report that the claim is false.

Step 3: Trump blasts the experts and condemns the media for being “dishonest.”

Step 4: Trump repeats the lie in tweets and speeches. He then asserts that “many people” say he’s right.


Step 5: The mainstream media start to describe the lie as a “disputed fact.“

Step 6: Trump repeats the lie in tweets, interviews and speeches. His surrogates repeat it on television and in the right-wing blogosphere.

Step 7: The mainstream media begin to describe Trump’s lie as a "controversy.”


Step 8: Polls show a growing number of Americans (including most Republicans) that believe Trump’s lie is true.

Step 9: The media start describing Trump’s lie as “a claim that reflects a partisan divide in America” and is “found to be true by many.”


Step 10: The public is confused and disoriented about what the facts are. Trump wins.

Don’t let Trump’s lies become near truths. Be vigilant. Know the truth and spread it. The media should stop mincing words. Report Trump’s lies as lies.

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

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