by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News
“Alternative facts” is the new post-truth.
It all started when President Donald Trump complained about how the media misrepresented the size of his crowd on his Inauguration Day.
“Honestly, it looked like a million and a half people, whatever it was… it went all the way to the Washington Monument,” Trump said at a press conference over the weekend. “By mistake I tuned into this network, and I saw an empty field, and it said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad, but it’s a lie.”
In a press conference, white house Press Secretary Sean Spicer echoed Trump’s overstated crowd numbers and fired a warning shot at the media.
“There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility of holding Donald Trump accountable, and I’m here to tell you that it goes two ways, we’re gonna hold the press accountable as well,: said Spicer on Saturday. “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.”
But a side-by-side photo comparison of President Trump and former President Obama’s inauguration photos show a marked difference.
The two photos were taken at the time the presidents were being sworn in.
And when it comes to domestic viewership, four other presidents, including Obama, had higher Inauguration Day viewerships than Trump.
Trump – 30.6 million viewers
Obama – 37.7 m viewers
Reagan – 41.8 m viewers
Carter – 34.1 m viewers
Nixon – 33 m viewers
On Metro DC ridership — another attendance gauge — Spicer falsely claimed that 420,000 metro DC trips were taken on the day of Trump’s inauguration, compared to Obama’s 317,000 in 2013.
But the official count disproves Spicer’s claims.
Metro DC tweeted that as of 11:00 am on January 20, there were 193,000 trips — 124,000 less than Obama’s inauguration in 2013.
Obama’s 2009 inauguration was even higher, at 513,000 trips.
But the numbers were not the biggest issue here.
It was Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” that set Twitter on fire, after an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC News.
Conway said that the president and his press secretary presented “alternative facts” about inauguration photographs that prove conclusively how few people attended the ceremony.
“He’s not just the spokesperson for Donald Trump; he also serves as spokesperson for all of America,” Todd said of Spicer. “Why put him out there for the very first time in front of that podium, and to utter a provable falsehood?” Todd asked.
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood,” Conway replied on TV. “Sean Spicer our press secretary gave alternative facts to that, but the point being…
“Look, alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods,” Todd’s reply.
Urban Dictionary defined “alternative facts” as: when truth is so unfavorable to a pathological liar, that they must invent a whole new category of lies to describe their nakedly intentional acts of deception. In short, it’s a lie.
#Alternativefacts was the number 1 trending hashtag on Twitter on Sunday.