When seeking insights into how to make our nation’s press corps more honest and effective, I turn to one source: the guy who was the official mouthpiece responsible for lying our nation into the Iraq War.
Former Bush administration flack and current Trump-supporting private flack Ari Fleischer—a man who is at his most trustworthy when he is silent—would, in a just world, be spending each and every day in a small and quiet cell, praying for forgiveness. So it is a major “win” for American comedy when he is invited to the Wall Street Journal op-ed page to weigh in on, of all things, trustworthiness in journalism.
You gotta love it!
Recently, Matt Lauer got a lot of shit after his interview with both presidential candidates, because he failed to point out that Donald Trump was not answering any of his questions, and also was lying a lot. What lesson should the moderators of the upcoming presidential debates take from Lauer’s failure? Here is what professional truth-obscurer Ari Fleischer thinks: Whatever you do, do not make the grave mistake of telling the audience what is or is not true.
There’s a smarter way for the debate moderators to do their job and establish facts. If Mr. Trump were to say during the debate that he never supported the Iraq invasion, the moderator should turn to Mrs. Clinton and say, “Mr. Trump says he always opposed the invasion. Is that what you recall?” Then it’s up to her to respond.
It’s journalistic quicksand for a moderator at a debate to step in and try to right every wrong or correct every comment. Given both candidates’ bad track record with accurate or honest statements, the moderators might end up talking more than the candidates.
“Journalists should not try to spread facts,” says a man whose biggest professional accomplishment was getting journalists to spread lies in order to create the public atmosphere necessary for us to start a war of choice. Surprise.
I for one support Ari Fleischer’s decision to pursue a comedy career after his disastrous stint in government. That’s redemption—with a smile!