If the spew from the Trump administration firehose of falsehood hasn’t been enough to overwhelm you yet, here’s the latest blast. Bloomberg News climate reporter Christopher Flavelle was inadvertently included on a Pentagon internal distribution list, in which Defense Department and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials sent emails discussing their evolving strategy for presenting the response to Hurricane Maria.
Flavelle put the Pentagon on notice of its error, but for five days received emails documenting the overt spin doctoring taking place, which was to present the rescue efforts in Puerto Rico as positive and more than adequate and to discredit the Mayor of San Juan for telling the truth. Bloomberg:
Sept. 28: Eight days after Maria hit, coverage of the federal government’s response is getting more negative.
The Government Message: Pentagon officials tell staff to emphasize “coverage of life-saving/life-sustaining operations” and for spokespeople to avoid language about awaiting instructions from FEMA, “as that goes against the teamwork top-line message.”
Sept. 29: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz criticizes Washington’s spin, calling Puerto Rico a “people-are-dying story.”
The Government Message: FEMA talking points ignore Cruz, instructing its officials to say that “the federal government’s full attention is on Hurricane Maria response.”
Sept. 30: Trump attacks the mayor’s “poor leadership ability.” The Pentagon worries that Trump’s “dialogue” with Cruz is becoming the story, with “many criticizing his lack of empathy.”
The Government Message: FEMA stresses its success in reaching “all municipalities in Puerto Rico.”
In addition to this, John Kelly spoke to reporters yesterday and did his best to debunk accuracy in reporting. The Hill:
“When I watch TV in the morning, it is astounding to me how much is misreported,” he said.
“I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are operating off of contacts, leaks, whatever you call them,” he said. “But I just would offer to you the advice — maybe develop some better sources.”
Trump has blasted the media over the past few weeks, on the heels of reports detailing divisions within his White House.
He has specifically denied two recent NBC News reports, one that he wanted a tenfold increase of the nation’s nuclear arsenal and another that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron” after the meeting where Trump allegedly proposed that increase.
It goes without saying that in the political arena in which Kelly finds himself that he, McMaster, Mattis, Tillerson, all of them have to make certain concessions and attempt to appease, if not downright humor, Trump. However, the way that this conflict is shaping up is to create an Orwellian world where the story on the telescreen and the reality on the ground are two separate things altogether. There is more than a “cultural war” going on, there is a war on truth itself.