Two months after his Moscow visit, Trump spent almost $100,000 on a series of full-page newspaper ads that published a political manifesto. “An open letter from Donald J. Trump on why America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves,” as Trump labeled it, launched angry populist charges against the allies that benefited from the umbrella of American military protection. “Why are these nations not paying the United States for the human lives and billions of dollars we are losing to protect their interests?”
I despise that phrase. It’s a catchphrase that became more popular with Trump’s rise to power and has come to stand for the denial of fact-based information and discussion, used as a lazy cheap shot to dismiss criticism or hard questions whenever they’re raised. Ironically, it was probably aggressively touted by the one media organization that may manufacture it the most, Fox News. It’s a phrase that’s become synonymous with the current mentality and attitude that is rising in popularity with an alarming number of governments around the world, that is, as Merkel called it, fact- denying populism. If something is indeed ‘fake news’ then call it what it is: misinformation or, at worst, lies.