Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He called the story of his 2005 tax returns "FAKE NEWS" the morning after his own White House confirmed the authenticity of the documents.

The 2005 1040 form revealed last night by David Cay Johnston, who received it anonymously, should have been relatively good news for Trump: it shows him paying any federal income taxes in at least that one year, which had been in doubt. Indeed, Johnston suggested that the leaker may have been Trump himself, a theory that gained quick support across the political spectrum. The fact that the White House confirmed the numbers almost instantaneously after Rachel Maddow disclosed the year involved lent some credence to the idea.

Nevertheless, this morning Trump declared the whole thing "FAKE NEWS" and suggested that "nobody ever heard of" Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winner for his investigative reporting on the tax code. But Trump himself certainly knew Johnston, who wrote a book about Trump just last year. In an interview later in the day, Trump called Johnston a "weird dude" and suggested that Johnston was a failure because he had not prevented Trump from becoming President.

Trump also suggested that Johnston was lying for some reason about receiving the documents anonymously, and that it was illegal for Johnston to reveal them. It is not.

Why should this bother me?

  • Facts, especially those agreed on by all sides, are not "FAKE NEWS" just because a president is unhappy with how they play in the media.