The LA Times editorial page follows up Sunday's Our Dishonest President editorial with Why Trump Lies, a piece that argues that the current president is not the first White House occupant to lie or even all that good at it. His whoppers are sometimes entertaining "in the vein of a Moammar Kadafi speech to the United Nations or the self-serving blathering of a 6-year-old. But he is not merely amusing. He is dangerous."
Though he is neither terribly articulate nor a seasoned politician, he has a remarkable instinct for discerning which conspiracy theories in which quasi-news source, or which of his own inner musings, will turn into ratings gold. He targets the darkness, anger and insecurity that hide in each of us and harnesses them for his own purposes. If one of his lies doesn’t work — well, then he lies about that....
He gives every indication that he is as much the gullible tool of liars as he is the liar in chief.
He has made himself the stooge, the mark, for every crazy blogger, political quack, racial theorist, foreign leader or nutcase peddling a story that he might repackage to his benefit as a tweet, an appointment, an executive order or a policy. He is a stranger to the concept of verification, the insistence on evidence and the standards of proof that apply in a courtroom or a medical lab — and that ought to prevail in the White House.
There have always been those who accept the intellectually bankrupt notion that people are entitled to invent their own facts — consider the “9/11 was an inside job” trope — but Trump’s ascent marks the first time that the culture of alternative reality has made its home at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The editorial ends with a call to action.
Investigate. Read. Write. Listen. Speak. Think. Be wary of those who disparage the investigators, the readers, the writers, the listeners, the speakers and the thinkers. Be suspicious of those who confuse reality with reality TV, and those who repeat falsehoods while insisting, against all evidence, that they are true. To defend freedom, demand fact.
The Times editorial page, you might recall, declared Trump unfit to serve during the campaign. On Sunday's NBC 4 News Conference, editorial page editor Nick Goldberg talked to host Conan Nolan about how the series of editorials came about. Goldberg said in his 15 years at the paper the editorial page has criticized presidents Obama and Bush, but nothing like this.
"We've never written anything with the kind of language we use here because we think it is a particularly scary, frightening, difficult troubling moment," Goldberg says.
The interview runs about seven minutes.
The Times is promoting the series on social media with interesting Trump silhouette graphics.