The Alternative Fact That Shook The Nation


I hate it when I’m right about this stuff.


“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe…”

I confess, even I have been a little taken aback by this. The lie was so blatant, so obvious, that even people who would no sooner pay attention to a White House press briefing than pick up a copy of Scientific American were stunned by it. I mean, I got texts from completely non-political family members about it, and they were shocked at the chutzpah.

Here is a close-up of Sean Spicer’s eyes as he told his lie:


What I see here is panic. The only thing missing is the gun to his head. The entire charade, as both Michael Moore and Mika Brzezinski noted, looked like a hostage tape. He’s saying this because he was forced to, and he knows exactly the pile of shit his boss is making him wade into, and he knows there’s not a damn thing he can do about it. Indeed, the statement sounds like it was written by Trump himself. The hyperbole, the grandiosity, are straight out of Trump’s Twitter feed.

Ari “We know for a fact that there are weapons there” Fleischer, a man who has told his share of bald-faced lies, said this:

“This is called a statement you’re told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching,” Fleischer wrote.

So while a stunned nation hashes and rehashes What It All Means®, I’m particularly hung up on this one fact:

The President of the United States forced his spokesperson to lie to the American people about how many people watched his inaugural.

This stupid, petty, in-the-grand-scheme-of-things meaningless thing was THAT important to him. He is supposed to be the leader of the free world focused on, you know, important stuff. But he forced his spokesbot to tell an obvious, easily checked lie about how many people watched his inaugural. It is that important for Trump. He must have the biggest, the best, the most, the (fill in the blank superlative), and yes, he will die on this hill. What little political capital he had was squandered on something stupid like crowd size because Trump demanded it.

Just let that sink in for a minute. It’s just … astonishing.

I know there’s been a lot of speculation about some deeper strategy here: that this marks the latest salvo in the Trump Administration’s war on the media, that Trump is attempting to delegitimize the national news media and delegitimize the entire concept of truth, that this marks the end of “access journalism,” etc.

While some of this may be true, I really don’t think it’s that complicated. I really think it’s as simple as this:

Donald Trump requires constant and undiminished reinforcement of his greatness.

This is Pathological Narcissism. It’s scary as hell, because this level of neediness is never sated. This is Tyrant 101. This is how wars happen and freedoms are lost. The fact that this weak-minded man has surrounded himself with sycophants and ego-strokers is not surprising (they all do that), but at some point even Spicer and Kellyanne are going to give up, because even the best enablers can’t keep propping up the naked emperor forever.

Traditionally when that happens, the enablers are marched in front of the firing squad. Or, if they’re smart, they’ve figured out how to get the Pathological Narcissist to self-destruct (see the final scenes of “A Face In The Crowd” for an idea of what I’m talking about … a “leak” for the pre-internet age.)

What will happen here, I don’t know. I see in Kellyanne’s eyes their own special brand of cold-as-ice ambition and craven opportunism:


She thinks she can manage the Ego In Chief but the thing about Pathological Narcissists is that they are never, ever truly managed. Their emptiness is a bottomless pit. Kellyanne may think she’s smart and has Trump under control but her “alternative facts” flub shows she’s not immune to a screw up herself. She might not be quite smart enough for this situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kellyanne weren’t the first one trotted out before a (metaphorical, let’s hope) firing squad as the Id in charge lashes out those who failed to sell his greatness to the world.

Interesting times, indeed.


Filed under Donald Trump, media, media manipulation

25 responses to “The Alternative Fact That Shook The Nation

  1. R. Neal

    R.E. your Pathological Narcissist theory, check out Trump’s bizarre address to CIA employees. He said there were a million and a half people there, and bragged about how smart he is, how young he feels, how many times he’s been on the cover of Time magazine, etc. It was really strange and uncomfortable to watch.

    • And he travels with an “applause corps”:

      “Pool reports later indicated that attendants who were cheering and clapping when Mr Trump spoke were not CIA staffers but people who accompanied Mr Trump, Washington Post fact-checker Gary Kessler wrote on Twitter. He later clarified that it was unclear exactly who the people were, but senior CIA members standing in front did not react until the end of the speech.”

      • Kathleen

        Loved your Face In the Crowd shout out. TCM showed it on Friday. LR’s minion playing recorded cheers and applause as Lonesome finally sinks into total madness was indeed prophetic. I’ve been hoping for a Patricia Neal open mic moment for so many politicians and bloviators like Limbaugh for years.

      • democommie

        What is the sound of one YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE penis flopping?

      • Pretzelogic in Philly, PA

        >>What is the sound of one YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE penis flopping?<<

        I would ask where Hair Gröpenführer might find one of those, but I figure you're just saying he puts the "dick" in "dictator". And the "ass" in "asterisk", etc. (Sorry, Ms. Beale. Desperate times call for desperate humor.)

    • Joe

      It occurred to me this morning, that Trump’s speech to the CIA staff, was made to people whose job it is to actual decipher such thing as crowd numbers and press coverage by regimes around the world. Russia claims there were 2.5 million folks at the May Day parade. It’s their job to actually confirm or deny such things. Honestly, Trump is proving to be as bad as we feared, and not being contained by anyone around him, exactly as we suggested. And once he’s finally impeached or resigns, we’ll be stuck with Mike Pence. #GodHelpUs

  2. Jim in Memphis

    He should have gone with having to avoid sniper fire on his route to the ceremony.

    • What does that even mean. His Pathological Narcissism requires him to appear before adoring crowds. He craves that attention.
      Not that anyone cares enough to try to take him out that way. Maybe Putin will send him some special Polonium Tea after he’s served his purpose.

    • Oh, the “Hillary did it too,” defense. Not your best shot, Jim, but I suppose it’s the only one you’ve got. Because while she might have embellished the story, there were actual security threats in Bosnia at that time, and yes that included the threat of sniper fire. All of which was detailed in Christopher HIll’s book “Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir .” It wasn’t an outright lie about an event that took place less than 24 hours before.

      • Jim in Memphis

        Wow – I can’t believe you are defending her on this. Yeah Trump is an idiot for insisting his crowd was biggest. He looks like a fool to stick with that story line. I don’t particularly care about Trump and I am not defending Trump in any way. I was just joking around with my initial response but Clinton told this lie several times about having to run from the plane while ducking or having to make a cork screw landing. It never happened. To mold her repeated lie to “well there was a threat of sniper fire” so it wasn’t an outright lie? That seems pretty lame.

      • I’m not defending her embellishment but the fact remains, there was an ACTUAL security risk, as several articles an Fact Check sites have detailed. They were actually issued flak-jackets. There were security convoys accompanying her on the trip. Were there actual bullets flying? No. But they had been briefed that this might be a possibility and there were evacuation plans in place in case it happened. It wasn’t a day at the beach.

      • democommie

        Southern Beale:

        You have to cut Jimbo(B) a little slack. He, like the Twitterator, had no idea that the GOP* was going to win and now they’re both scrambling to figure out to keep Trumpligula from deflating like a bad toupeesouflee over the next four years.

        * Ginormous Orange Prick

  3. “…including ‘and’ and ‘the’.”

    Every statement from the White House.

  4. Martin

    Just wondering, how loud can we laugh at him? I mean, since he would really, really, enjoy everyone having a good laugh at his expense!

  5. The press didn’t include Putin’s Gulag Prisoners forced to watch with toothpicks keeping their eyelids open.

  6. koshIII

    “She thinks she can manage the Ego In Chief”
    That;s what Hindenberg, von Papel and others thought too.

  7. democommie

    I think Dolfie’s approval rating, just before the Reichstag fire was about where Trumpligula’s is right now.

  8. K

    I once had a boss who I thought was the biggesst bald faced liar i ever had the misfortune to know.
    Then I realized that to his mind he was not lying. In his mind he could do no wrong so no matter what he said or did nor how ever many witnesses there were he was sure that he had been misunderstood, betrayed ( that was a big one, or people were lying about him just to diminish him.
    As was accepted was that the elevator didn’t stop at all the floors in his mind.
    Once I accepted that it became easier to work around his ineptitude.
    Not any fun but closer to manageable.
    Of course he didn’t have access to nuclear weapons.

    • democommie

      And, much like the morons who worship Trumpligula, many folks who didn’t have to deal with the asshole in a work setting probably found his “embellishments” and “tall tales” to be charming eccentricities. Therein lies the danger.

  9. I didn’t look at any of the Trump Imposition until I watched clips from Samantha Bee. Toby Keith really thought it was a good idea to sing a song encouraging lynching as part of the fasctivities. Yeah, we weren’t supposed to understand what that meant on the last day of the Obama administration. And 3 Doors Down, I’d never heard them before but it really did my heart good to know, as the Divine Ms. Bee said, they were the best that the Trump Rally could get.

  10. democommie

    Ed Brayton had a post about the “A list” bands playing at the Coronation Balls. 3 Doors Down and some other band that was listed are pretty much the same band with an addition or subtraction of somebody. Toby Keith is an even bigger jingoistic piece-of-shit than Lee Greenwood or Charlie Daniels–and that takes some jingoing, son!

  11. democommie

    Anthony McCarthy:

    Since Tubby Keith is not on my current rotation (along with any of the Reichwing’s singing cheerleaders) I’m unfamiliar with his music. Which song was it that you heard as encouraging lynching. I do not doubt at all that you’re correct, I just don’t want to wade through knee deep fecal matter to find it. Your assistance in this matter is appreciated.

    Tubby is apparently as bad a burger business behemoth as he is a singer/songwriter. An article I looked at says most of his “I Love This Bar & Grill” locations have closed and left creditors (and likely employees) nothing but a lot of unpaid bills.

    I’m sure that Trumpligula thinks Toby’s a looooozer but that just means he can not pay him sooner!