By Leslie Salzillo
Monday Jan 23, 2017 · 9:45 AM PST
Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it. -Dan Rather, January 22, 2017
Continuing to be incredibly outspoken while garnering a combined social media following of millions, legendary journalist Dan Rather challenges the “Orwellian” phrase “alternative facts,” as defined by Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway this past weekend — as if Trump’s administration gets to make its own facts. In a Facebook post that now has gone viral with close to half a million likes, Rather encourages every reporter to ask one question whenever speaking to or interviewing GOP lawmakers, and then not let up without a satisfactory answer — or simply end the interview.
These are not normal times. These are extraordinary times. And extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.
When you have a spokesperson for the president of the United States wrap up a lie in the Orwellian phrase “alternative facts”…
When you have a press secretary in his first appearance before the White House reporters threaten, bully, lie, and then walk out of the briefing room without the cajones to answer a single question…
When you have a President stand before the stars of the fallen CIA agents and boast about the size of his crowds (lies) and how great his authoritarian inaugural speech was….
These are not normal times.
The press has never seen anything like this before. The public has never seen anything like this before. And the political leaders of both parties have never seen anything like this before.
What can we do? We can all step up and say simply and without equivocation. “A lie, is a lie, is a lie!” And if someone won’t say it, those of us who know that there is such a thing as the truth must do whatever is in our power to diminish the liar’s malignant reach into our society.
There is one group of people who can do a lot – very quickly. And that is Republicans in Congress. Without their support, Donald Trump’s presidency will falter. So here is what I think everyone in the press must do. If you are interviewing a Paul Ryan, a Mitch McConnell, or any other GOP elected official, the first question must be “what will you do to combat the lying from the White House?” If they dodge and weave, keep with the follow ups. And if they refuse to give a satisfactory answer, end the interview.
Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it. Everyone must answer that question.
Let’s see if the media will take heed and follow Rather’s advice — or bow down to Heir Trump. Thank you to those who will choose the former over the latter. And once again, thank you to Dan Rather.