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How 9/11 ushered in the post-truth era of Donald Trump

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Tuesday marked the 17th anniversary of September 11th. President Donald Trump commemorated the occasion with a flippant tweet.

The Internet heaped mockery on the president for marking the deaths of thousands of Americans and a turning point in US foreign policy with a dashed-off exclamation point.

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That’s not the first time the president has misused the tragedy. Trump once falsely said that he’d seen thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attacks. That claim was debunked again and again. But it doesn’t appear to have dented the president’s popularity among his supporters.

It’s one of many examples of the president helping to usher in a “post-truth” age.

In an op-ed published Tuesday, a reporter who’d covered the 9/11 attacks wondered if the tragedy — and how it was absorbed by many — set the stage for the “post-truth” era of Donald Trump.

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Jamie McIntyre described how a single off-hand comment at the scene of the Pentagon on 9/11 has been blasted around the world by conspiracy theorists.

“The Sept. 11 attacks on America 17 years ago this week began the nation’s longest war, a seemingly never-ending battle against terrorists and other enemies of freedom,” McIntyre writes. “But an argument can be made that the horrific attack unleashed another assault on a pillar of democracy: a war on reason, where facts don’t matter and truth is subjective.”

Back in 2001, as the Pentagon burned in the background, McIntyre observed, ““From my close-up inspection, there’s no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon,” he said. This was in response to a question about whether the American Airlines Boeing 757 may have crashed just short of the building.

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McIntyre describes the long life of that dashed-off observation. “The offhand comment was deliberately misrepresented on the Internet as an eyewitness attesting to the fact that no plane hit the Pentagon on Sept. 11, and by early 2002 it had gone viral among conspiracy theorists around the world,” he writes.

“Even now 17 years later that video clip still shows up in my Google alerts, posted to my Facebook page, and just two weeks ago on my Twitter feed, often with the ominous notation. “This footage aired once after 9/11 and was never on TV again!”’

He says that he’s tried to explain and contextualize the comment, all to no avail.

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“Given that the full video clip shows that I was describing what I saw when I went to the crash site, including pieces of the plane “small enough that you can pick up in your hand,” I thought by engaging with the doubters, I could easily correct the record,” he writes.

“But in a decade of lengthy conversations with more than a dozen “truthers,” I never changed a single doubter’s mind.”

To come back to President Donald Trump and our current extreme post-truth era. McIntyre cites a theory, presented by Scott Adams of Dilbert cartoon fame, on how Trump was able to marshal voter irrationality to win.

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1. Trump knows people are basically irrational.
2. Knowing that people are irrational, Trump aims to appeal on an emotional level.
3. By running on emotion, facts don’t matter.
4. If facts don’t matter, you can’t really be “wrong.”
5. With fewer facts in play, it’s easier to bend reality.
6. To bend reality, Trump is a master of identity politics — and identity is the strongest persuader.

McIntyre acknowledges that he failed in his efforts to persuade 9/11 truthers. “But it’s only now — nearly two decades after I became part of a conspiracy theory and failed in my efforts to debunk it — that I truly understand how flawed my worldview is that there is an objective reality that can be understood through rigorous, rational thinking.”


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Trump is facing massive criticism for his attacks on young women of color in Congress

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US President Donald Trump came under fire from Democrats and even some members of his own Republican Party on Monday after launching an extraordinary xenophobic attack on four progressive Democratic congresswomen.

"All they do is complain," Trump told reporters at a White House event featuring products "Made in America."

"These are people that hate our country," he said of the four lawmakers. "If you're not happy here, you can leave."

Trump also accused the four first-term congresswomen -- who are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African American origin -- of having "love" for US "enemies like Al-Qaeda."

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President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign filed their latest campaign finance reports on Monday.

Anna Massoglia, a researcher at the money in politics watchdog group Open Secrets, dissected the numbers and made two startling discoveries.

In the three months covered, from April through June, Trump's campaign and affiliated joint fundraising committees spent $326,094.24 at Trump businesses, including six figures at both Mar-a-Lago and Trump Hotel DC.

Trump's campaign also spent over $1.3 million on legal bills. He spent approximately $7 million on legal bills in 2018, Massoglia noted.

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Trump is ‘one pointy white hat shy of a Klan rally’: GOP strategist Rick Wilson ripped Trump as a ‘flagrant racist’ on MSNBC

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Republican strategy ripped President Donald Trump for being a "flagrant racist" during a Monday night appearance on MSNBC.

Lawrence O'Donnell interviewed Wilson about Trump's latest nativist attacks on young women of color in Congress.

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"Absolutely, Lawrence. As everyone else stated on the show, it’s been obvious for a long time from the long arc of his dad to redling to the Central Park Five to birtherism to this stuff today, this guy, he's racist adjacent in of the best day of his life," Wilson is explained.

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