That was a parody of a line from the old TV show “To Tell the Truth.”
It featured a person who had accomplished something but was not a well-known celebrity, plus two well-schooled imposters. The panel asked all of them questions about their alleged field of expertise and life history, and they answered. The group received points for each person on the panel that the imposters fooled into thinking they were the real deal.
And then at the end of the segment, the MC would say, “Will the real [fill in name] please stand up!” There was then a lot of fake standing and sitting, standing and sitting, until the real person finally was standing alone.
It was a fun show back in my youth. It’s not fun, though, when we can’t tell what news reports are real and what are fakes. I don’t just mean what stories are given a partisan spin and which are told straight; we can just assume that all of them are of the first variety nowadays, unless they’re about a subject so neutral that no one can make political hay of it (I’m not sure there is such a subject anymore). I’m talking about stories that are based on a premise that is false.
In other words, how to evaluate this set of lead stories on Memeorandum today? Good luck. What I do if I don’t have time to read everything (and who has time to read all of that?) is to go to my usually-trusted sources, or ones that seem to be most skeptical and reasonable about the story, and then read them and decide what I think about it.
And so we have this article from Lawfare. I’m not all that familiar with the blog although I’ve read it before, but the headline sounds reasonable and here’s some of the content, which also sounds reasonable and thoughtful:
This afternoon, CNN reported that President Barack Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump had been briefed by the intelligence community on the existence of a cache of memos alleging communication between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and the possession by the Russian government of highly compromising material against Trump. The memos were compiled by a former British intelligence officer on behalf of anti-Trump Republicans and, later, Democrats working against Trump in the general election…
This cache of memos has been kicking around official Washington for several weeks now. A great many journalists have been feverishly working to document the allegations within it, which are both explosive and quite various: some of them relate to alleged collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian intelligence, while others relate to personal sexual conduct by Trump himself that supposedly constitutes a rip-roaring KOMPROMAT file.
We have had the document for a couple of weeks and have chosen, as have lots of other publications, not to publish it while the allegations within it remain unproven…
First, we have no idea if any of these allegations are true. Yes, they are explosive; they are also entirely unsubstantiated, at least to our knowledge, at this stage. For this reason, even now, we are not going to discuss the specific allegations within the document.
Second, while unproven, the allegations are being taken quite seriously…
Third, precisely because it is being taken seriously, it is—despite being unproven and, in public anyway, undiscussed—pervasively affecting the broader discussion of Russian hacking of the election…
There’s much more at the link; well worth reading. But I’ve read enough about this to say the truth is unknown, but the general story of collusion is very useful to the anti-Trump forces. Trump and his people are vociferously and vehemently denying those reports, of course.
Of one thing I’m pretty sure, however—and that’s that attacks on Trump will continue unabated. They will be harsh, they will be dirty, and they will be relentless.
One thing I would also love to know is: if this report is true, what’s the remedy? Attempt to impeach Trump before he takes office? I think it is an attempt to “impeach” Trump, but in the general legal rather than constitutional sense: “to bring an accusation against…to cast doubt on…to challenge the credibility or validity of…”
Those attempts will not ever end. Be prepared for it.
ADDENDUM: More here about fakers and their fake faking. Or is the report about the fakes a fake? They report, you decide.
For those of you who would relish seeing Trump tell CNN off, here it is: