Friday marked the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and the media was quick to point out a few noticeable differences between Trump’s inauguration and President Obama‘s — namely in terms of crowd size.
Aerial photos and objective estimates of attendees noted that Trump’s ceremony drew in anywhere from 250,000 to 600,000 attendees, compared with Obama’s 2009 inauguration crowd size of roughly 1.8 million and his 2013 inauguration crowd size of 1 million. Still, Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer told journalists outright that Trump’s inauguration “was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe,” and berated them for reporting different.
Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway has since called Spicer’s statement merely the presentation of “alternative facts,” spurring many to connect Trump and his administration’s penchant for ignoring the facts and promoting outright lies with Orwellian dystopia.
Veteran journalist Dan Rather had the boldest response to the new administration’s spread of propaganda and outright lies, noting in a powerful Facebook post that “These are not normal times. These are extraordinary times. And extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.”
Rather immediately blasted Trump and co. for “wrap[ping] up a lie in the Orwellian phrase ‘alternative facts,'” and also criticized the president for boasting about “how great his authoritarian inaugural speech was” at a ceremony meant to honor fallen CIA agents. He noted the unprecedented hostility of this administration toward the press and free speech, as well as confusion among politicians and the general public, but suggested that the solution to this exists in everyday citizens:
“What can we do? We can all step up and say simply and without equivocation, ‘A lie, is a lie, is a lie!’ And if someone won’t say it, those of us who know that there is such a thing as the truth must do whatever is in our power to diminish the liar’s malignant reach into our society.”
Additionally, Rather insisted that journalists could be part of combating the dishonesty emerging from the White House by “interviewing a Paul Ryan, a Mitch McConnell, or any other GOP elected official,” and ensuring “the first question must be what will you do to combat the lying from the White House?” and not allow them to “dodge the question.”
“Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it,” he concluded.
“Everyone must answer that question.”
Featured image via YouTube