If the Clintons were not as down-market as they are, they would have fit in perfectly in 15th-century Florence, the city that gave us Botticelli and Cellini, and also the Medici, the Borgia, and, of course, Machiavelli. Renaissance Florence was not confined to painting and literature; quite the opposite, in fact. Doublespeak, or lying, was as prevalent in the city as art and making money, and the greatest exponent of lying was the flattering favorite son of the city, Niccolò himself.
Now, I know I sound a bit of a flatterer myself by mentioning the Clintons in the same breath as those great—if blood-soaked—Florentines, but it is for a purpose. The Clintons lied and lied with always a goal in mind: power. They were not the first, nor the last, to prefer lying when the truth was more beneficial to them. Invention, the withholding of information, the fabrication of fact, or whatever one chooses to call it makes the object of that deceit more comfortable. Words, after all, were invented in order to veil one’s true thoughts, or so the cynics say. Which brings me to the 45th American president.
I began this column with a Clinton reference in order to compel a gasp of outrage in any member of the mainstream media who happens to read it. The media minions are in a very irritable state right now, outraged at what they see as egregious lies by the Donald. And, as usual, they’re wrong. The Donald is an embellisher par excellence, a man who became the consummate exaggerator in order to advance his business. He flourished by hyperbole, which is a totally different thing from the outright lies of the Clintons. (I did not have sex with that woman; the Benghazi massacre was due to a video; etc.)
Lying, needless to say, has been hogging the headlines since Trump declared his candidacy, dominating the front pages of newspapers that have been known to lie consistently via false data and by suggestion: Step forward and take a bow, The New York Times and The Washington Post, two papers that view whites, heterosexuals, Christians, and the police as the main dangers to this country.
Take, for example, the Russian nonsense. Suggesting that false rumors picked up by the cesspool that is the internet are real is, in my book, as big a lie as it gets. Publishing stories of “Americans fleeing to Canada” to escape Trump is an obvious exaggeration (a few, if any, have actually gone through with it, although many, especially in show business, have threatened to), but in reality it’s a very big whopper of a lie. The Times’ reporting that transgender women “walk with fear” because of Trump (the Times mentioned two women who had complained that cops who helped them after an incident of harassment did not speak Spanish) is, for lack of a better word, Machiavellian. By producing data by one Charles Blow, a Times columnist who produced his own, the lie turns into scientific proof. I could go on.
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