Lying in State: Why Presidents Lie -- And Why Trump Is Worse

Lying in State: Why Presidents Lie -- And Why Trump Is Worse

by Eric Alterman

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This definitive history of presidential lying reveals how our standards for truthfulness have eroded -- and why Trump's lies are especially dangerous.
If there's one thing we know about Donald Trump, it's that he lies. But he's by no means the first president to do so. In Lying in State, Eric Alterman asks how we ended up with such a pathologically dishonest commander in chief, showing that, from early on, the United States has persistently expanded its power and hegemony on the basis of presidential lies. He also reveals the cumulative effect of this deception-each lie a president tells makes it more acceptable for subsequent presidents to lie-and the media's complicity in spreading misinformation. Donald Trump, then, represents not an aberration but the culmination of an age-old trend.
Full of vivid historical examples and trenchant analysis, Lying in State is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how we arrived in this age of alternative facts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541616813
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 08/11/2020
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 163,380
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Eric Alterman is a distinguished professor of English at CUNY Brooklyn College and holds a PhD in history from Stanford University. A columnist for the Nation, he is the author of ten previous titles, including the New York Times bestseller What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News. He lives in New York.

Table of Contents

A Note on Definitions xi

Introduction: How Could Trump Happen? 1

1 "The Serpent's Eye That Charms but to Destroy" 13

2 "Yankeedoodledum" 31

3 Franklin D. Roosevelt: The "Juggler" 48

4 Harry Truman Fights a "New Fanatic Faith" 60

5 Dwight Eisenhower's "Legacy of Ashes" 70

6 John F. Kennedy and the "Right" to Lie 86

7 Lyndon Johnson's "Credibility Gap" 104

8 Richard Nixon: "It's a Win. See?" 120

9 Gerald Ford: A Time for More Lying 143

10 Jimmy Carter "Will Never Lie to You" 152

11 Ronald Reagan: America's "Magic Totem" 161

12 George H.W. Bush: Don't Read His Lips 177

13 Bill Clinton: Defiling the Temple of Justice 185

14 George W. Bush: "We're History's Actors" 205

15 Barack Obama vs. the "Propaganda Feedback Loop" 218

16 Donald Trump's License to Lie 241

17 "What You're Seeing and What You're Reading Is Not What's Happening" 260

Conclusion: System Overload 307

Acknowledgments 319

Notes 321

Index 387

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