Tapper appeared on Stelter’s Reliable Sources to promote his upcoming special, All the President’s Lies, which details the Trump’s “affinity for fibs, fictions and falsifications.”
Stelter began the discussion by arguing that comparisons between Trump and former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton don’t hold water since he “makes past presidential liars look like amateurs.”
According to Stelter, Trump is “gaslighting” the country with his disinformation campaigns.
“Is it fair to say we’re at the point where the president and his allied media outlets are waging a disinformation war on the public?” Stelter asked.
Tapper agreed with the premise of the question, opining that disinformation is not only a media strategy of Trump’s allies but also a way for the president to defend himself against the impeachment investigation.
Tapper said that he “was thinking about this documentary” before the Ukraine scandal broke, referring to the impeachment investigation, adding that “lying has become a key part of [Trump’s] defense.”
According to the host, the president’s claims are meant to cloud the judgment of the American people and confuse the public about whether he actually pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals.
“So much of [Trump’s language] is designed, I think, just to confuse the American people, and muddy the waters and cloud what the facts are,” he said.
According to House Democrats and impeachment witnesses, Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. The president allegedly did so in order to benefit his 2020 campaign and damage Biden’s.
Comparing Trump with his predecessors, Stelter played a brief video clip of Republican Congressman Henry Hyde explaining to the United States Congress why then-president Clinton needs to be impeached over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
In the video, Hyde read a letter from a third-grader, who questioned whether anyone can be believed if the president himself is not trustworthy.
The host opined that other members of the media will regret not speaking out about Trump’s “lying and deceit,” asking Tapper to share his own opinion about the industry in the Trump era.
Tapper explained that he believes journalists give politicians a pass to spread misinformation in exchange for access and favors and rarely challenge a politician if they make a false claim.
He said that he is “quite often stunned at the degree to which just blatant lies are not only said by politicians, but sometimes by members of the media.”
Tapper concluded that the Trump administration has managed to corrupt truth as a concept, arguing that the president has surrounded himself with people who never challenge his view of the world.