The Lying Game
by Lt. Gen. Clarence E. McKnight, Jr.
Donald Trump is taking a beating in the news media and for good reason. He makes erroneous statements constantly, often contradicting himself, and his penchant for inflammatory rhetoric is unparalleled in modern politics. Politically correct he ain't.
But it is also true that much of the mainstream news media is biased against Trump and the Republican Party that nominated him. This is not to suggest they are deliberately slanting the news, but everyone sees what is happening from their personal point of view, and for most reporters that is from the left.
Trump is at a distinct disadvantage in this environment. He has zero experience in politics and it shows. He is a lifelong salesman and like most salesmen, he has a tendency to bend reality to his designs. Thus he tells his story and grabs whatever information is handy to support it. He is unaccustomed to having legions of reporters following him around, checking each statement he makes against the record and demanding explanations. The question is whether he can adapt to this unfamiliar world and learn to react and speak like a politician.
For now, what we have is a lopsided anti-Trump chorus that is putting him in a difficult position. But there is another story being drowned out by Trump's headlines. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, is by no means a fountain of veracity. To the contrary one might make a reasonable argument that Clinton knows very well the rules of the game and has no excuse.
Clinton frequently indulges in dishonesty and then hastens to cover her tracks with doubletalk. In particular, her frantic efforts to dodge her complicity in sharing classified information with our nation's enemies would have long since compromised her candidacy had not the news spotlight been focused Trump.
But that spotlight will get back to her. Clinton insists over and over that she did not send or receive classified information on her personal email account. FBI director James Comey stated clearly that was untrue. She said she had turned over all her work-related email. "No, we found thousands that were not returned," Comey said. "I never sent or received anything that was marked classified, she said." "That's not true," Comey said. She quoted Comey saying "that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful." Comey denied that.
Confronted with reality, Clinton said "I may have short-circuited and for that, I, you know, will try to clarify." In this Clinton has coined a new phrase for political obfuscation - short-circuiting. There is another more appropriate term for it - lying.
Trump makes many erroneous statements but to my knowledge he has yet to sit down and lie to the FBI. There are many months until the election. It seems reasonable to anticipate that Trump will begin to curb his excesses and focus on his opponent's lack of veracity. He will have much to focus upon.
Lt. Gen. Clarence E. "Mac" McKnight, Jr., (USA-Ret) is the author of "From Pigeons to Tweets: A General Who Led Dramatic Change in Military Communications," published by The History Publishing Company.