America wakes up every day to an assault of lies, propaganda and attacks on the country’s most important institutions by the anti-democratic occupier of the White House, Donald Trump.
And every day, the paranoid accusations he makes about those in our justice system, the free press, etc., are confronted by the media and many Americans on social media.
The problem is that this is actually a long con and he depends on the outraged responses of his adversaries to win it. As long as he can keep the media and Americans chasing from one whack-a-mole hole to the next, they are jumping when he says jump and too distracted on a daily basis to sustain a focus on the primary issues of his illegitimate status and criminal actions in office (thankfully, Robert Mueller is immune to this).
There are three main truths that the media and folks involved in social media should really recognize.
First, the constant stream of early morning tweets by Trump are not just what happens that day, they are an ongoing, long term strategy to dominate and manipulate the daily news cycle. In this way, Trump has controlled much of what news channels and social media chat about all day. He has decided what will be the hot topic(s) of the day that will be discussed, only thwarted to a degree on days when bigger stories break through. Engaging deeply in disproving his constant and careless lies only plays into his hands.
Second, when the media and social media folks chase after the daily Trump BS, they abandon their focus on the stories Trump doesn’t want them focusing on. Spending a day’s energy on Trump’s latest claim, that his confession to Lester Holt about firing James Comey to stop the Russia investigation was “fudged” through editing, is only helping Trump. He knows it’s a lie, even he doesn’t believe it but he knows that when he throws outrageous lies like this to the public, it will redirect energy from people to dispute it and instead of continuing to hammer on his more fatal problems.
Third, the public is pretty well cemented in their opinions on whether Trump is a liar or not. Expending so much energy on a daily basis, trying to prove Trump is lying to impact public opinion isn’t really accomplishing much. This is not to say Trump’s lies should be left untouched to fester but tagging them as today’s latest lies could be sufficient.
Have you ever played Three Card Monte (the street hustle where three cards are moved around and you have to follow and guess where the Queen of Hearts is)? If you have, you’ve lost. It looks like a legit challenge but it is a rigged con game. You can never win. Because, despite its appearance that it is only a question of following the card around, it is really all about deceiving you into believing that it is a game that you can win. It’s really just a criminal operation to manipulate and steal from you.
That’s what the Trump Twitter scheme is, a rigged con game from a con man. You can’t win because the game is keeping the media and people chasing intentional lies and provocations each day, controlling their behavior and their topics of discussion.
The goals of Trump’s game, in addition to controlling the discourse in the country and keeping people distracted from a sustained attack on him, include exhausting the public’s capacity for outrage and resistance and blurring the clear line between lies and truth so that Trump can declare what people must believe (which is why the press needs to be called “fake news” by him).
As polls show, a majority of the country already believes that Trump is a liar (60% of Americans believe Trump is dishonest). So if arguing about what he wants argued each day only helps him and his game and if the majority of Americans already disbelieve whatever he says and the rest will believe anything he says. why take the bait?
Around 40% of Americans would jump off a cliff if Trump promised them they could fly and the other 60% of Americans would push Trump off the cliff instead and ask him to prove it first.
Maybe just noting, “He’s tweeting so he’s lying,” then investing a majority of energy and focus in his biggest criminal and anti-democratic actions would be more effective and help undermine his Twitter con game.
It’s all just a big reality show for Trump. Each day, he scripts what he wants to happen in today’s episode of “Trump Owns America”. He and his cronies have even built up a pile of “scripts” to throw out whenever the storyline goes in a direction they don’t want it to go (as when they pulled out the 3 week old draft of a cancellation of John Brennan’s security clearance when Michael Cohen’s plea deal nailed Trump as a criminal conspirator in the hush money scandal).
When Trump’s Access Hollywood tape came out in 2016 and looked like it would doom him in the election, he and his Russian allies quickly pulled out the DNC email hack to distract the country from focusing on Trump’s disgusting and criminal misogyny.
This is a pattern, this is how he operates and it only works if he can lure the public and the media to participate in his game.
This is his Three Card Monte con, it’s not a legit game that anyone but he can win. Today’s lies can be blown to pieces but he’ll just make up more tomorrow and the result of constantly discussing his lies only distract Americans and make him the winner.
There’s only one way to win Three Card Monte…don’t play it.