On April 9, 2022, Donald Trump, in a speech in Selma, NC, to a small spattering of his dwindling faithful, called himself “the most honest human being God ever created.” You have to wonder, who would believe him?
The entirety of the free world has witnessed Donald Trump lie over and over. In fact, in his four years in the White House the failed businessman lied over 30,500 times. This isn’t a guess. The Washington Post kept a studious record of each instance during his time in office.
Reflecting his allegiance to Russia and Vladimir Putin, Trump engaged in, and continues to engage in, the Soviet propaganda technique of “firehose of falsehood”. The technique involves broadcasting lies as fact in heavy, unending repetition across multiple channels. Trump’s means of broadcast range from Fox News, Newsmax, OAN, and Infowars, to social media, political rallies, press conferences, and press releases.
There is no sense of consistency with the messages in terms of how they may change from moment to moment. You have situations like Trump claiming that his attempted insurrection was peaceful and calm, then turning around a moment later and blaming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for the overwhelming violence his followers inflicted attacking the Capitol.
Which was it? Was the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters just like a normal tourist visit, as Trump claims? Or was there unfettered violence that led to 5 deaths, over $1 million in damages, and severe injuries to over 140 police officers?
Further, how could this even remotely be Pelosi’s fault? As President wasn’t Donald Trump in charge of the country on the day of the insurrection? We all watched on live television as Trump ordered his minions to attack the Capitol. We’ve all read the reports of Ivanka Trump begging her father to order a stop to the violence only to be dismissed because he was enjoying it. Yet it’s not his fault?
Sadly, the members of the Trump cult, seem to lack the critical thinking skills to recognize the inconsistencies in their Führer’s claims. They are, in many ways, the “willfully ignorant” – they have been exposed to the truth, but they prefer to stick their heads in the sand and believe Trump’s lies anyway.
So, who is it who believes Trump’s lies?
Captain Jack is a Trump cult follower that I know who parrots every lie his idol and Fox News perpetuate. He is an uneducated, unemployed, convicted felon, white male in his late 50s who lives on public aid and doesn’t pay taxes. He uses the moniker “Captain Jack” because he says it was his rank in the military, although many in his circle allege that he either never served or did serve but never achieved that rank.
Cap has his own issues with the truth. After he claimed he was the original lead singer of a popular band, I contacted the band on his behalf to see if they had any photos, audio, or video of his days in the group that they could share with him. I was informed by the lead guitarist and band founder that the band only ever had one singer and they have never even heard of Cap and don’t know anyone fitting his description. Joe called Captain Jack “a loser nobody trying to ride on the coattails of others.”
In another instance, Captain Jack claimed he had starred on stage in the musical Grease as Danny Zuko. He made this claim despite having no acting experience, no dancing experience, and his only vocal experience is singing along to the radio. Upon questioning, he wasn’t aware that the stage show is far different than the movie. He didn’t even know the titles or lyrics to any of the songs from the stage show that his supposed character would have sung. It is another very clear example of lying to try to impress people.
This is the mentality of a Trump supporter. They feel insignificant themselves, so they tell lies to cover up their insufficiencies. So, in turn, they see nothing wrong with someone like Trump doing the same thing. In fact, they seem to admire him for his lies. They hope that if they will pledge allegiance to Trump’s lies, then it will somehow make their own lies into truths.
Recently, David Broockman and Joshua Kalla, political scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and Yale University, respectively, conducted an experiment by paying Fox News-watching, Trump-faithful cult members to watch CNN instead of the U.S.-based Russian propaganda network.
According to Broockman and Kalla, Fox News engages in “agenda setting” in which they cover a certain topic relentlessly with very specific, often totally dishonest framing. This would appear to be in line with the definition of Trump and Putin’s “firehose of falsehood” propaganda techniques.
According to Kalla, “If Fox News doesn’t cover bad things Republicans do or good things Democrats do, then voters become less likely to learn this information and less able to hold their elected officials accountable.”
The results of the study were fascinating. When exposed to truthful reporting on CNN, the paid Fox News viewers changed their position on many hot button issues. However, demonstrating an allegiance to willful ignorance, once they were no longer being paid, many of the viewers returned to watching Fox News despite knowing that the network was broadcasting falsehoods and propaganda.
Donald Trump and Fox News seem to delight in using the weapons of hate to control the feebleminded. But are these cult followers making a conscious choice to live in ignorance? Do they know the truth, but prefer the lies? Sadly, that seems to be the case.
The positive thing is that attendance at Trump rallies has fallen from the 15,000 range in his heyday, to around 1,000 attendees per appearance now. The uber-faithful will go to their graves proclaiming the Big Lie as gospel, but thankfully more and more are ready to move on and hopefully get back to living in reality.
Peace. Love. Trust.
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