My annual catalogue of the year’s biggest lies was intended to call out the preposterous prevaricators and to shame the fulsome falsifiers. Who could predict that lies would become so popular, so widespread, so YUGE in 2017 that this year’s collection of falsehoods would need to be corralled into groups?
1. All hail the Liar-in-Chief!
Donald J, Trump, the 45th president of these United States, made 1,628 false and misleading claims in the first 298 days of this year, according to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker column at the Washington Post. I could tell you what they are but that would take us all year. Suffice to say, President Donald J. Trump is the greatest president of our time. Don’t believe me? Just ask him. As to facts, it is a fact that President Trump tells lies, and does so often enough to win this year’s top place.
2. I did not date/grope/sexually assault/rape or pleasure myself or make inappropriate comments or sexual advances or share pornography with women under 18 or teenagers or with assistants or interns or colleagues and if you say I did that is false or I don’t remember it that way or it was consensual and we continued to be friends and worked together and had consensual sex but I’m now going to resign/step away/take a leave and think about my privilege/listen to women telling their truth and learn/grow from the experience to be a better man/person.
That should cover the alleged actions of: Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Garrison Keillor, Kevin Spacey, Leon Weseltier, John Lasseter, Brett Ratner, Al Franken, Israel Horovitz, Dustin Hoffman, John Conyers, Russell Simmons, John Besh, Andrew Kreisberg, Andy Dick, Bob Weinstein, Chris Savino, James Levine, Peter Martins, David Guillod, Gary Goddard, James Toback, Jeffrey Tambor, Hamilton Fish, Michael Oreskes, Glenn Thrush, Mark Halperin, Knight Landesman, Jeremy Piven, Matthew Weiner, Roy Price, Roy Moore, and the list keeps growing……
3. Lie to me once, shame on you. Lie to the FBI, make a deal.
Former Trump Foreign Policy Advisor George Papadopoulos, we barely knew ya! (Pled guilty to lying). Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn come join the gang! (Also admitted to lying to the FBI). Former Trump Presidential Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, they’re saving a spot for you (Charged but no plea as of yet). Who’s that on the horizon? Could it be Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner or even Le Grand Orange himself? Drink up, it’s Mueller time.
4. OK. Then hail me an Uber!
Silicon Valley is becoming the home of the Whopper – where companies lie or try to hide their most serious breaches of the consumer trust as well as their participation in the fakest of fake news: Uber not only failed to disclose a breach of more than 50,000,00 of its users and 7,000,000 of its drivers FOR OVER A YEAR, they also paid $ 100,000 ransom in hush money to the hackers. But lest you think Uber’s a unicorn in this regard, let’s not forget Equifax’s breach of 143 Million people’s personal data which they tried to keep under wraps. And the rest of Silicon Valley’s major players don’t have clean hands either when it comes to fakery: Facebook, Twitter and Google all belatedly admitted that they had allowed thousands upon thousands, if not millions, of fake ads and news stories targeted by Russian government actors and manipulated by Trump-leaning-fake-news-content-farms, disseminating false stories of child-trafficking in a DC pizza parlor and a fake story that alleged assault by a Muslim in Idaho, among many, many others.
5. Maybe I’ll take a plane. Maybe not.
After United Airlines had Aviation Security Officers drag David Dao, a ticketed and seated passenger off the plane against his will – and the video went viral – United’s CEO Oscar Munoz made more than four statements to the press without ever apologizing to David Dao. Amid mounting public anger and public relations spinning out of control, Mr. Munoz went on TV to claim he had reached out to Dr. Dao to apologize; Dr. Dao’s daughter and attorney held a press conference to deny he did so. Like all fairy tales this one had a happy ending, the two parties arrived at a private settlement. In other news, United also did not explain why a large Rabbit named Simon died on a flight from London and was cremated by the airlines. It seems like “flying the friendly skies” is just another lie.
6. We could watch college sports instead.
NCAA Division I basketball is as much fun to prosecute as it is to watch. In one of the biggest corruption cases, NCAA coach Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors Person as well as assistant coaches at Oklahoma State, University of Southern California, and Arizona were arrested in connection with a bribery scheme in which coaches and players were given money to sign players and direct them to managers, investment advisors and/or Adidas’ sponsorship program. Rick Pitino, Kentucky’s coach was put on unpaid leave. Pitino is suing Louisville for $38 million over “unfair” firing, showing his continued good sportsmanship.
7. Project Veritas is lying to discredit truthtellers?
Follow close because this may be confusing: James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas (a conservative sting operation that hopes to expose liberal hypocrisy) had a woman, Jaime T. Phillips contact the Washington Post pretending that when she was a teenager she dated Alabama Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore, got pregnant and had an abortion. She told this to the Post with the hope that she could record the reporter saying he was so eager to take Roy Moore down that they would publish the story – and that when it was revealed to be false, Project Veritas would expose The Post as a purveyor of politically motivated fake news. Instead, the reporter refused to agree with Phillips, and the Washington Post, whose motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” discovered the woman was a fake, and then exposed her and Project Veritas’ as such. The player got played; and the sting got stung!. Kay Graham would have been proud. Meanwhile Roy Moore is still denying all the credible reporting about him.
8. Brexit’s fake windfall.
In the run-up to Britain’s vote on exiting the European Union, Pro-Brexit politicians most notably, floppy- haired-enthusiast Boris Johnson, claimed that voting for Brexit would result in a financial windfall – at first said to be 350 million pounds a week by Johnson, then 135 billion pounds, then 65 billion, then 10 billion and now…. The windfall has been called a ‘fantasy’ and Johnson conceded that the UK will have to pay for Brexit, while at the same time saying that the European Union is charging Britain too much for the exit.
9. Fake news that was, in fact, fake.
No. No. No. A CIA agent DID NOT confess to killing Bob Marley (he was in a taxi on the way from the airport when Marley was shot). Stephen Hawking WAS NOT accused of sexual impropriety. Ru Paul DID NOT claim Trump touched him inappropriately. Hillary Clinton DID NOT give 20 percent of U.S. uranium to Russia in exchange for Clinton Foundation donations. The video Trump shared via tweet WAS NOT of a Dutch boy being beaten by of a “Muslim migrant” – he was being assaulted by another Dutch boy.
10. And the Oscar goes to….
In a normal year, this “mistake” or public lie would be a huge deal. The Oscars are 88 years old and are today watched by almost a billion people worldwide. Suspense builds all night as viewers wait for the big reveal: the winner of the “Best Film” award is what we all wait up to watch ― and the accuracy of the announcement of the winner – has always been inviolable, especially in a world of falsehood where special care would be taken to make sure the announcers get it right on stage. Until this year when, on air, live, before the whole world, the Oscar winner for best film was announced as La La Land. NOT!!!! Due to a series of epic screw-ups involving the accounting firm that validates the answers, the wrong winner was announced!! The correct winner, after an embarrassing kerfuffle was announced to be Moonlight. Given that both films were little seen, confusion reigned. But the lie was there for all to see.