The answer is yes, at least when the tree is President Trump and he lies to a hungry crowd in Pennsylvania.
Trump was so long-winded at his Thursday evening rally that even Fox News cut away after 40+ minutes. He’s “probably pretty close to wrapping things up there,” Martha MacCallum said, seemingly justifying Fox’s choice to stop live coverage. But Trump kept talking for another 50 minutes, and numerous commenters on Twitter and Facebook lodged complaints about Fox cutting away.
The rally was still shown live on C-SPAN, One America News and numerous websites. But this is a marked change from 2016, when TV networks hung on every word. Now there’s a recognition that his commentary is usually repetitive, rhetorically extreme, and unglued from reality.
CNN never reported what Trump claimed
Trump blatantly lied about CNN during his spiel about Walter Reed. He said “on my way home, I get a call from my wife, the first lady. Who’s very popular. Do we like our first lady? [Cheers and applause] She’s very popular. A great person, great woman. She’s said ‘Darling, are you okay?’ I go, ‘Why do you ask?’ She said ‘They are reporting that you had a heart attack.'”
Trump went on: “And CNN reported that I had a heart attack. That was the same visit” — here, the crowd booed — “and that didn’t work — no, it’s unbelievable. CNN reported I had a heart attack. So my wife was concerned. I said, ‘No, not that I know of. And if I did, I think I’d be back there!” Meaning, back at Walter Reed.
Trump concluded this lie by saying these journalists “are very dangerous people. They are so bad for our country.” CNN never reported that Trump had a heart attack. Search CNN.com to see for yourself. So who’s the “dangerous” one here?
More news and nonsense from the rally
— Trump said Covid-19 “hospitalizations and deaths have declined radically over the past week,” which is not only not true, it also draws attention to the federal government’s failures to contain the virus…
— Reporters at the rally pointed out that common sense Covid precautions were not taken…
— Trump himself talked about the virulent, contagious nature of the virus, in front of his jam-packed crowd: “This is a tough one. I can look at that guy and he will catch it…”
But the denials have to be taken in context — the administration has repeatedly denied things that turned out to be true. The White House forfeited its credibility a long long time ago…
Put up or shut up time
Moments before hitting send on this newsletter, I commented on “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon” that it’s put up or shut up time — those who were in a position to know about conduct like this, who are able to speak, should do so on the record. I fully understand why sources insist on confidentiality. But those sources should think long and hard about attaching their names.