The Thinker: Rich Galen

  
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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Zero Shades of Grey

Rich Galen

Monday August 20, 2018

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  • There are no Shades of Grey in American politics. Not 50 shades; not 20 shades.

  • Zero shades of grey.

    SIDEBAR

    The title of this edition, Zero Shades of Grey, is a take on the fabulously popular book, movie, reality show, Broadway play, and home board game: Fifty Shades of Grey.

    I only bring this up because of the way the protagonist's name, Christian Grey, is spelled.

    The color "gray" is typically spelled G-R-A-Y in the U.S., but G-R-E-Y in the U.K.

    Either is acceptable.

    END SIDEBAR

  • Every action, every decision by every person in public life is seen as brilliantly - almost biblically - correct by people who agree with it; or, as an example of a dark - almost hellish - conspiracy by people who do not.

  • Not everything that is wrong is a "lie." Sometimes, it's just wrong. Those who have followed MULLINGS for the past 20-or-so years know if a number is involved, there is a high probably that I did the calculation to reach that number incorrectly.

  • I wasn't lying. I stink at math.

  • Not everything you or I disagree with is "fake." Sometimes a reporter or, God forbit, a political columnist will get a fact wrong, or will get the fact right but the context wrong. That doesn't make it fake; just incorrect.

  • As we move closer to the mid-term elections this business of lies and fakes; falsehoods and frauds will itself grow as a matter of public discussion. Thirty-second ads will flood our TV sets with graphics demonstrating Candidate A voted for or against saving the lives of little tiny cat babies; or, Candidate B was "caught" attending a meeting with a person later convicted of a heinous crime.

  • The little tiny cat baby bill might well have been a few words dealing with public funding of community animal shelters in a 250-page appropriations bill. And, the meeting with the villain might have been a 2,000-person political dinner not a cozy sit-down in an illegally smoke-filled hotel room.

  • Internet sites that claim to provide fact-checking have appeared like toad stools after a spring rainstorm.

  • And, for good reason: None of us - not even those of us who do this for a living - can check out every claim in every report on every political personality.

  • I have said before that sometimes it takes longer to find a citable source for a claim or story that I think is trustworthy than to write about it in the first place.

  • Is a citation from a Fox website legit? Maybe. Probably. Is the story as written by CNN.com or MSNBC.com trustworthy? Maybe. Probably.

  • Do they use the same prism through which they report?

  • No. That's my job.

  • Over the weekend former NY Mayor and current Donald Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani said during an interview with Meet the Press' Chuck Todd that, "Truth is not the Truth."

  • This has been added to the growing litany of spokespeople for Donald Trump who have told us that we should not believe, as the band The Eagles (as opposed to the NFL team) put it, our lyin' eyes.

  • Kellyanne Conway famously defended then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer's spurious claim about the size of the inaugural crowd by suggesting he had "alternative facts."

  • And, the mother of all negations (as of today) by Donald Trump at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention that "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."

  • The other mother of all negations was, of course, the famous Bill Clinton line in his grand jury testimony when asked about his relationship to Monica Lewinsky: "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

  • Keep in mind, that Clinton was impeached by the U.S. House for lying to the grand jury and for obstruction of justice.

  • He was acquitted by the U.S. Senate.

  • I am not suggesting that Donald Trump will be impeached, no matter what happens in the mid-term elections. I am suggesting that the nature of political debate in America is in a very, very dangerous place.

  • Is it all the fault of Trump and his team? No, but they are a big part of it. So are senior Democrats in the House and Senate, officials of previous administrations, and people who want to get on cable news programs.

  • Not all political spin is lying. And not all errors of fact are deliberate.

  • But, in 2018 there is no space for that on the political landscape.

  • There is no gray.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Lots o' links: To "50 Shades of Grey," to Giuliani's "Truth" Statement, to The Eagles singing "Lyin' Eyes," to Kellyanne's "Alternative facts," to Trump's "What you're seeing and hearing," and to the Clinton impeachment.

    When you catch your breath, the Mullfoto is of one of my granddaughters at the zoo a couple of weeks ago.

-- END --

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