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The press has a long history of fake news about our presidents, especially the Republican ones. They come up with incredible stories, then repeat them until they become gospel to many people. It is like convincing us that the world is flat. Let us look at a few of these amazing fables.

When Ronald Reagan won the presidential election against Jimmy Carter in 1980, the press was surprised. How could a president who allowed Iran, a small third world country, to hold Americans hostage, possibly lose? They made up the story that a month before the election, vice presidential candidate George HW Bush flew a supersonic jet to Paris to meet with Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini and arrange for the American hostages to not be released until after election day. The jet had to be supersonic to explain why Bush was not missed. Of course, who would let a 56 year old fly a military supersonic jet owned by a government controlled by the opposing political party? Regardless, this is called the October Surprise in an attempt to convince Americans that Reagan’s election was illegitimate.

The same Bush came down to Earth and became president in 1989. Unfortunately, a recession soon followed. That recession ended in early 1991, but the press claimed that it was continuing up to election day in late 1992. They and the Democrats used the slogan “It’s the economy, stupid.” It is amazing that the Democrats called you stupid, then asked for your vote. Couldn’t the economists explain that the recession was over? Somehow, the National Bureau of Economic Research maneuvered itself into the role of deciding when recessions begin and end. It chose to delay the announcement that the recession was over until soon after Bush lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton. Very useful timing. The recession really did occur, but it was far more benign and shorter than the Bureau and the press would have you believe.

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In 2000, Bush’s son, George W Bush, won a close presidential race against Al Gore. The results in Florida were contested and even challenged in court. The press would have you believe that if the recount were done differently, Gore would have won. They also contended that the Supreme Court made an arbitrary decision based on their own political preference. The message is that this Republican’s election was illegitimate. Do you see a pattern?

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In reality, CBS News announced more than one hour before the Florida polls closed that Bush had already lost Florida. This caused an estimated 10,000 Floridians not to vote. These were people from Florida’s panhandle, who usually vote Republican. Again, very useful timing.

George W Bush was again a victim when the press contended that he lied when he said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They used the phrase “Bush lied; people died.” In contrast, the Associated Press and other news agencies reported in 2008 that uranium was found in Iraq and sold to Canada for $10 million. Nerve gas and anthrax were also found. Sometimes the press reports real news, but only when nobody is paying attention.

The most recent fake news is at President Trump’s expense. Somebody was able to hack into the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) and Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta’s emails and publish them. This revealed nefarious secrets about the way that Democrats do business. Trump once jokingly said that if people want copies of Clinton’s emails, they should ask the Russians for the copy that they stole. Since nobody in Washington has a sense of humor, the press concocted the story that Trump colluded with the Russians to hack the DNC and Podesta emails. They turned this accusation into “Trump hacked the election, so the election is illegitimate.” We now have a special prosecutor to look for this hacking. There is no Trump hacking to be found, but a special prosecutor who admits that there is nothing to investigate will be rewarded with unemployment. The prosecutor will be compelled to busy himself for years in this investigation.

You now see this decades old pattern. Fake news is used to delegitimize a Republican president. Only this time, we have a president who does not take the press seriously. He will ignore the ridiculous charges and drain the swamp.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Martin Marcus


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