Monday 18 December 2017

'Misinformation' has been doing the rounds for decades, but Trump takes it to a whole new level

US president Donald Trump. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP
US president Donald Trump. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

Jason O'Sullivan

Following Donald Trump's presidential inauguration last Friday, the newly-appointed White House press secretary Sean Spicer lambasted journalists for what he claimed was "deliberately false reporting" regarding the attendance figures at the ceremony, and declared "this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!".

This was Mr Spicer's first official press briefing and his lecturing tone to the attending press was rightly received both in a critical and ridiculing manner, particularly given his inaccurate claims on crowd sizes, which were easily disproved through available aerial photographic evidence circulating on social media.

It is alarming, however, that despite such clear evidence confirming the disparity in numbers between former president Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009 and Mr Trump's in 2017, Mr Spicer (and more so the new presidential regime) persisted in knowingly relaying incorrect information to the world's press in an unashamedly and blatant attempt to reconstruct the truth - in other words, circulate 'misinformation'.

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