Donald Trump

'Alternative Facts' Cannot Hide Trump's Petty Dishonesty

The spat about the size of the crowd at Friday's inauguration highlights the new president's vanity, lack of discipline, and casual disregard for the truth.



The ongoing spat about the size of the audience at Donald Trump's inauguration, in itself a trivial issue, is significant because it highlights the new president's vanity, pettiness, lack of discipline, and casual disregard for the truth. Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway took that last character flaw to a new level in a Meet the Press interview yesterday when she described White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's verifiably false assertions about attendance at the inauguration as "alternative facts."

Conway was responding to host Chuck Todd's question about the dubious decision to have Spicer, in his first official interaction with the press as the president's spokesman, peddle "a provable falsehood when it comes to a small and petty thing like inaugural crowd size." Here is what Spicer said on Saturday:

Let's go through the facts. We know that from the platform where the President was sworn in, to 4th Street, it holds about 250,000 people. From 4th Street to the media tent is about another 220,000. And from the media tent to the Washington Monument, another 250,000 people. All of this space was full when the president took the Oath of Office. We know that 420,000 people used the D.C. Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama's last inaugural. This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period—both in person and around the globe.

Almost none of that is true. Aerial photos of the National Mall clearly show it was far from full during Trump's speech. A crowd expert consulted by The New York Times estimated that Trump's audience was one-third as big as Barack Obama's in 2009. About 31 million Americans watched Trump's inauguration on TV, compared to 38 million who watched Obama's in 2009 and 42 million who watched Ronald Reagan's in 1981. The Washington, D.C., transit authority counted 570,557 Metro rides on Friday, compared to 1.1 million on the day of Obama's first inauguration and 782,000 on the day of his second.

According to Conway, Spicer "gave alternative facts." To which Todd replied: "Alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods." Undeterred, Conway used the same formulation toward the end of an exchange in which Todd unsuccessfully pressed her to answer his original question, which concerned not the veracity of Spicer's statement but the political strategy behind what Todd called "this ridiculous litigation of crowd size." Conway said Todd's description of the issue reflected the news media's bias against Trump:

Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That's not your job. You're supposed to be a news person. You're not an opinion columnist….Think about what you just said to your viewers. That's why we feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative facts out there.

In other words, we have to lie because the press is so unfair to us. The lying, of course, only invites more negative coverage, which confirms the administration's complaints and gratifies Trump supporters who see journalistic hostility as validation of the billionaire bully's anti-establishment credentials. Presumably that is the strategy, to the extent that there is one, behind "this ridiculous litigation of crowd size," although for obvious reasons Conway could not say so plainly.

Spicer was amplifying what Trump said during his speech at CIA headquarters on Saturday, which included the demonstrably false claim that the crowd at his inauguration filled the National Mall "all the way back to the Washington monument" and numbered something like 1.5 million. The Times reports that "most of Mr. Trump's advisers" disagreed with the decision to pick a fight about the size of the audience at the inauguration, and it sounds like the skeptics included Conway. During her interview with Todd, she kept trying to change the subject to Trump's policy agenda, saying, "I don't think ultimately presidents are judged by crowd sizes at their inauguration." She conspicuously refrained from defending the numbers cited by Trump and Spicer. "I don't think you can prove those numbers one way or the other," she said. "There's no way to really quantify crowds."

While there is always some uncertainty about crowd size estimates (which is why they're called estimates), it's clear that, contrary to what Trump and Spicer said, the National Mall was not full on Friday and there were more people there for Obama's first inauguration, which also had a bigger U.S. TV audience. There is no shame in admitting that. The inauguration of the first black president was a watershed event, the D.C. area is heavily Democratic, and the weather was nicer in 2009. None of these factors reflect negatively on Trump. The same cannot be said about his reflexive insistence that everything he does is the biggest and the best, his temper tantrums when those claims are questioned, or his obliviousness to how such behavior makes him look: like a spoiled child instead of a grown man.

The fact that we have a ridiculous president does not mean he cannot accomplish serious things, and maybe even good things. But trying to paper over his manifest flaws with "alternative facts" is no way to persuade skeptical Americans of that possibility.

NEXT: Brickbat: Political Crime

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  1. The ongoing spat about the size of the audience at Donald Trump’s inauguration, in itself a trivial issue…


    …is significant because it highlights the new president’s vanity, pettiness, lack of discipline, and casual disregard for the truth.

    Apparently not just his, as we’re all still fucking talking about it. It’s going to be a long four years.

    1. we’re all still fucking talking about it

      I’d rather not, but you people won’t shut up about it.

      1. This little matter of alternative facts is certainly something that should be passed over in silence; those who continue to talk about it should be ashamed of their indiscretion. The people of this great nation will learn to understand that the “facts” are always to be viewed, and accepted, in the light most favorable to our leader and his highly qualified administrative team. And soon, hopefully, we will begin to establish certain limitations with respect to the “expressive” capacities of those who do not understand how this works. Surely no one here would dare to defend the outrageous “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

    2. 3rd article in 2 days….blah.

      1. I’m worried!!! Apparently, for the past 8 years we haven’t had a president who practices “vanity, lack of discipline, and casual disregard for the truth”. WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!?!?!

    3. Heh, I just love how the press is really digging in to this one.

      while they couldn’t be bothered to question the line…

      “Its because of a video on the internet”

      The Mainstream Press can burn in Hell…..

  2. I am pretty sure it shows how useless the media and trump both are…..Nothing of substance comes from either.

    1. the only thing a pres should say is that the media has plenty of better things to report but they report this shit?….fucking worthless.

      That should be the only response.

    2. Trump already signed ex cutie orders to freeze new regulations and for all agencies to begin dismantling Obamacare to every extent possible. Today’s he’s announcing the Israeli embassy moving to Jerusalem.

      You don’t know any of that because of the medias obsessions not Trump’s.

      1. Ex Cutie orders….i’m stealing that.

      2. Exactly. And at the Spicer event the main news was that Trump is meeting at the White House with the president of Mexico and the prime ministers of Canada and Great Britain.

      3. In six months, all Trump’s enemies will be in camps and they’ll still be talking about inauguration attendance. He’s cleverer than people realize.

  3. Did you guys notice that today’s Google doodle is honoring George R.R. Martin?

    1. Who? (/sarc)

      And no, I don’t typically have cause to visit google this early in the morning.

    2. Did he finally eat himself to death?

    3. Phew. Had to look him up. Though he was some commie asshole Google was honouring.

      1. No, just a regular asshole.

        1. Ah. Example (s)?

          1. I give him credit for not striking me as a commie and you want me to pay enough attention to the guy to dig up citations for my offhand insult?

            You’re too polite.

          2. He freaks out about people on the internet writing fan fiction of his work when his own work is really just fan fiction of medieval history?

    4. Huh? I just checked out Google, and the home page features Ed Roberts, the disability rights advocate.

  4. I had hoped Reason’s TDS would go into remission after the election, but no such luck.
    As Fist said, it’s going to be a long four years.

        1. thanks….I still dont get it :/

          1. In this context it stands for “Trump Derangement Syndrome” which is an overblown reaction to the politician in question by members of the media or public.

              1. You must be new here. Get used to the SQIRLZ.

                1. And you have to tow the lion.

                  1. Look, the last time I tried that, we ended up with naught but a frayed rope and a red smear on the asphalt.

                2. Does SQIRLZ stand for something too, or is it just a funny spelling of “squirrels”?

                  1. Server quack in real life zer….yea…I am bad at these

            1. Yep, if Hillary made the same statement, you would be one of the guys first in line making fun of Hillary(and she has been deserving of the backlash of some of the whoppers she has told in the past). I highly doubt you would be calling it HDS if reason put up a similar item bashing her or her flunkies for similar lies.

      1. Insufficient deference to Combover Christ.

    1. Here’s the thing, I was mildly enthusiastic about the prospect of a triumphant return of the Fourth Estate as a check on the Executive, forgetting that, during Republican administrations, that check always consisted of shrieking moonbattery that always ignores legitimate policy issues for liberal peccadilloes instead. So here we have it, journalists taking up column inches with nonsense, using up whatever journalistic capital covering a new president brings.

      1. I know – I just want to know what the #$%& is going on with all the departments, EOs, etc. I don’t care if eleventy billion people watched or 3 people and an asthmatic dachshund.

        1. Asthmatic Dachshund….band or album ?

          1. Band

            1. At 1st I thought it was Automatic Dachshund & agreed that had to be a band name. But Asthmatic Dachshund…hmm, could go either way.

  5. Reason still using the dubious photo from the media I see. Hey Sullum take a look here and explain why the crowd in this photo has a lot more people.…..gigapixel/

    1. reason is as much of a hack as everyone else?

    2. I’ll discuss the media misbehaviour but I don’t really give a damn about the crowd.

      Point 1 – the NYT picture is from about an hour before the inauguration proper, meaning it’s not relevent.

      Point 2 – the Gigapixel picture is from the opposite direction and at a lower angle, making the abnormal white tarps less visible.

      Point 3 – The high contrast tarps distort the impression of the size of the crowd because the bare ground tends to blend with the people in crowds but the tarps stand out, so visual estimates will skew lower with the high contrast background.

      Point 4 – Who the fuck cares!?

      1. Rhywun said it best during the weekend: it’s a dick measuring contest.

        1. But it was being used by the media to compare Trump’s dick with those of the women who marched the next day.

          1. In this media age, almost every bit of trivia gets reported. Funny how people like you get outraged by reason dissecting a lie wihle you guys gets outraged by the media reporting something just because it is trivial. What gets reported on liberal sites or MSNBC talk shows is not given the same emphasis on other networks. If it’s this trivial, then the media coverage of it should not be a big deal either. I find coverage of Kardashian family to be a waste of any media time.

            And still, you offer no valid reason for the Trumps and their alternate factual reality. All Spicer had to do was say why does it even matter how big the crowd size was. End of story. But no.. you guys have to be all defensive about this.

      2. You can zoom in and see that the crowd extends back to the Washington momunment.

        Maybe the people are not as tightly packed in as they were at the Obama inaguration, but it is also vastly larger than the photo all media outlets have been using.

    3. Facts lacking comparison. Is there an identical photo vantage point from 2009? If so, is there an identical circumstance of obstructions on the Mall or do they differ? Insufficient evidence to come to a conclusion.

      1. Here

        According to Reuters the photo was taken at 12:01:18 p.m on the day of the inauguration. But who are you going to believe, Trump, or your lying eyes?

        1. Yea … 12:01:18 PST.

      2. Trump very likely honestly believed he has a bigger crowd than he did precisely because the media said he did not and he knows they always lie.

    4. I remember, not so long ago, when the aerial photos of the “Million Man March” were all over the news and we were all supposed to be impressed with what a huge crowd it was. And then the “Promise Keepers” (I think) made a huge march and suddenly you couldn’t make useful estimates from pictures like that anymore. At least after that the National Park Service decided (wisely) that they weren’t in the crowd estimating business anymore.

      1. The New York State police stayed in the crowd estimating business for Albany protests, but they simply began falsifying numbers. It became blatant when they reported a very low value for the anti-SAFEAct protest. As I mentioned I had an office overlooking the park in question for several years. That was the only protest I ever saw where the crowd had to spill over to the other side of all three streets bordering the park and up the stairs of the office buildings there (state offices, still public property, so not tresspassing). They claimed it had fewer people than some rather flimsy protests I’d seen as well.

    5. That picture is taken from the capitol steps, which is much lower than the top of the Washington monument. It’s a matter of perspective, and the same effect causes your neighbor’s grass to look fuller/greener than your own. Further, the large white scaffolding halfway to the monument hides the emptiness behind it.
      Birds eye shot from the monument show a true comparison:…..index.html

    6. Wow. You can clearly identify everyone who attended the seated area of the inauguration. Who needs spy agencies when the media is publishing these great surveillance photos?

  6. size of the crowd.

    It’s not the size that counts.

  7. Obama spread falsehoods too (but few, if any, journalists like Todd dared challenge him) and was clearly thin-skinned and petty himself. He just showed it differently.

    The more you play this game Sullum the more you breath more life and power into Trump.

    We just witnessed eight years of sycophancy and the media suddenly acting tough again and doing their jobs is only pissing people off more.

    It’s a weird juxtaposition because it’s happening in favor of Trump who isn’t exactly the sort of fella who should benefit from it. But here we are and he’s going to troll you guys and you’ll take the bait.

    I could be wrong.

    1. its not even a tough job. Its just as much of a shill as before but now towards someone they dont like.

      If they were tough on stuff with substance and had real claims awesome but they aren’t even pointing out the real issues.

    2. I don’t trust the lying liberal/conservative/government-ass-kissing media.

      1. They do always echo chamber a spurious interpretation of events until everyone believes a lie. Like that Trump criticized rank and file intellgence agents as opposed to the political appointees who run them.

    3. Bingo! We have a winner! Obumbles lied like a rug, and most of the media played rug merchant for him, 24/7/365. Shrillary lied so mcuh neither she nor the media could keep her lies straight. Which is to say that she loed as much as her husband, but less intelligently. Calling Trump a liar ismdamn small beer.

    4. I dont think Obama needed to lie for every damn trivial thing. This item is about Trump. love how you Obama haters love to deflect the topic from Trump. That would be as stupid as liberals blaming Trumps lies when someone takes Obama to task about all the lies related to the ACA. I highly doubt Trump is the kind who wil limit his lies to only harmless stuff.

  8. casual disregard for the truth

    Where have you been for the last 8-16 years?

  9. The End of rhe World Day 4

  10. Who’s obsessing about the crowd size?

      1. Actually many people with bylines.

        They always start with a line about crowd size not mattering and then spend the entire article proclaiming that its a huge story

        1. Meanwhile, Trump is busy signing executive orders undoing as much of what Obama did as he can. And it doesn’t get covered because all the media can talk about is this story and how Trump lied to them and was mean to them.

          Remember, Trump is the stupid one. The smart ones are the journalists. Uh huh.

          1. I said during the campaign that Trmps tweets are like flourishes and tits in a magic show. They distract the audience from the real action. I’m more convinced of that as time goes in. He signed two momentous executive orders in his first twenty four hours and all the press can talk about is this bullshit that no one cares about.

            1. Trumps tweets are clearly crafted and calculated for effect. Part of the effect is the notion that they are the random thoughts of a volatile, slightly un-hinged megalomaniac. I don’t think so.

              For example, his tweet after the Hamilton/Pence thing said the theater should be a “safe place”. I gotta believe that was purposeful.

              He is compared to Hitler, but tweets that the attacks on him are like Nazi Germany. Again, he’s trolling.

              1. I have been telling anyone who would listen for months that Trump is nothing is not the ultimate troll. I have never seen anyone so adept at getting under people’s skins, creating a ruckus and then moving on while his targets continue to complain about what he said.

                This is not meant as a compliment. Just a recognition of reality. More journalists need to figure this out.

                1. *if not

                2. Troll level: POTUS….

                3. Exactly. He also gets them to expose themselves via their responses to all who are watching.

          2. A bill has been introduced to exit the UN, but most U.S.-based media is still hyperventilating about crowd size at the inauguration. Ironically, when you Google the story about the UNExit bill, the first hit is from RT.

            Pro tip about pursuing that “adversarial journalism” you media whores all promised us on Friday: you might want to grab your ties/scarves and try pulling your heads out of your asses first.

  11. Trump is a refreshing antidote to the PC nonsense of having to constantly monitor what you say lest you offend the perpetually and professionally offended. Screw ’em – they’re not really offended, they’re just asshole cry-bullies, Trump’s being an asshole right back at ’em. He doesn’t care what people think, he just says what he wants.

    Well, it’s refreshing for about 5 minutes until you realize Trump was an asshole talking shit even before the cry-bullies existed. He doesn’t lie despite his lies being so easily disproved, he lies because they’re so easily disproved and that’s his way of waving his dick in your face – I’ll stand here and spew bullshit and you’re gonna stand there and eat it. Not caring what other people think easily crosses from being thick-skinned to being an inconsiderate egomaniac. Manners – consideration for others – are necessary for smoothing social interaction. Trump ain’t got no manners, he’s a pig.

    1. I have no problems with mannerless pigs.

      I have problems with people telling me what to do and what to say.

      1. Shut up and go make me a fucking sandwhich.

    2. He’s shock treatment.

    3. To some degree yes. What the media doesn’t realize is that Trump doesn’t give a shit. The people who voted for him and will re-elected him if he is to be so hate the media and don’t give a shit if he lies to them and fucks with him. In fact, they love it when he lies to them. The media spent 8 years telling outrageous lies to the public about Obama. Now the portion of the public that the media lied to are happy to see someone lie to them for a change.

      People compare Trump to Obama but in many ways he is kind of a Republican Clinton. Clinton perfected the art of lying and waving his dick in front of his opponents. The Republicans hated him for it. But the more angry they got, the less the public cared or paid attention to them. When the Republicans ran against Clinton 1996 all they had was Bob Dole saying “don’t you see what he is doing, where is the outrage” and the public said “yes but we don’t care or see why that is a reason to elect you”. Trump is doing much the same thing here.

      1. That’s not a bad analogy, but the difference is that Billy could charm the press, The Donald cannot.

        1. But times have changed. Trump doesn’t have to charm the press. In fact, pissing on the press is half the reason he got elected.

          1. The election is over (contra the whining from the Left). The question now is, will pissing on the press be enough to sustain him and allow him to achieve the goals his group of supporters want?

            Not that pissing on the press isn’t its own reward, but still, I’d guess the Trumpies want more than that ephemeral satisfaction.

          2. Nope. He’s got his own press, Twitter. He can communicate directly to his voters.

            In comparison, Clinton wasted a lot of time trying to charm middlemen.

        2. Billy could charm the press.

          Only because they’ were true believers that wanted to be charmed. If it weren’t for the internet and specifically Drudge, the Lewinski affair would have been completely ignore, as were Kennedy”s.

        3. Billy could charm the press because of that big ole -D…. after his name. Democrats with bylines is a fair way to describe over 90% of journalists, which hurts them severely, since even I, who is very skeptical of Trump, and did not vote for him, feel the urge to defend him against the media’s lunacy. Basically, it comes down to, I wouldn’t treat a rabid dog this way, and if you are going to treat politicians as rabid dogs, I expect every politician to be treated as a rabid dog.

        4. Thats what he’s using twitter for. Its an end run around the hostile press middlemen….

          1. Forgot to add, the hostile press middlemen that can burn in Hell…

    4. YEp And the same can be ssaid for Putin. Go live in Russia since you love such personalities. Hey you lie blantantly, that is a mark of a man. Same with the FIFA execs too.

  12. Three articles on this, basically all missing the point, peddling dishonest DemOp talking points, and getting Reason no closer to a donation from me this year.

    1. At least elaborate on the point reason missed as you see it so we can still discuss the issues.

      1. I explain the point below. Trump got up there and told the Washington establishment that they were not going to run things anymore and spend their time stealing and getting rich. That is a big fucking deal and why they all had a case of the vapors over the speech. And reason completely missed it and instead put up a bunch of posts repeating the daily journolist talking points about how “dark” and “ominous” it was.

        1. It’s almost like Reason is just another outlet of the msm pushing the establishment narrative and memes, or something.

          1. Breitbart, IJR, Daily Caller, Free Beacon, Hot Air, Red State, Federalist

      2. The media and Reason have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. In their insensate hatred of Trump, they peddle falsehoods like the dishonest photo comparison and the “dark tone” of his speech. Trump actually plays their game by their rules, and they cry foul.

        Meanwhile, stories of some substance get lost while flacks and hacks snark and claw at each other.

        And Reason just can’t help but be disappointing, ordinary in its rush to be part of the herd. Sad!

      3. At least elaborate on the point reason missed as you see it so we can still discuss the issues.

        Here you go, USC:

        R C Dean|1.22.17 @ 4:52PM|#

        Why hasn’t Reason reported on the executive order freezing new [ObamaCare/PPACA] regs? It’s the most libertarian thing in DC in a a very long time.

        The road to my donation isn’t getting any shorter.

        *emphasis mine

        THAT is real policy and leadership substance. And because it’s Donal’d Junebug Troomp doing it, as opposed to The Unrealised Messiah, GayJay (who got skunked by a Breakfast Sandwich in his HQ backyard and couldn’t even crack 10% in a state that overwhelmingly elected him Governor *twice*), and his O-care and Shrill-Bot loving sidekick, William The Geld, who couldn’t sell water to parched Tuareg and Bedouin, much less get elected dog catcher.

        Yet, Reason would rather cover this nonsense. For no other reason than the wrong person is starting to implement the types of policy changes that can at least start the ratchet in a new, positive, and more beneficial direction.

        1. My appologies, I don’t tend to visit reason on weekends and there’s not enough time to go back and follow threads that took place during my absenses.

          1. I am behind the curve as well, USC. I caught it because I didn’t dare wade into The Vagina Monologues 3.0a Service Pack 4 Blurb that appeared over the weekend, opting to skim other articles.

        2. Mike’s nicknames are funnier than yours.

          1. R53.1

        3. My god man he uses the wrong fork !

    2. The reaction to the inauguration speech was a new low for Reason. Here we had a newly elected President standing in front of the capital and telling the entire Washington establishment that the days of them getting rich at the taxpayers expense are over and an allegedly “libertarian” publication just repeats the stale establishment talking points of how “dark it was”.

      Is it too much to ask that Reason take the speech at its word and criticize the parts that were not libertarian but celebrate the parts that told the truth?

      1. Don’t forget that Reason is part of the establishment. It’s at the butt-end of the table with the drunks and losers, but it’s still at the table.

        1. Whoever thought it was a good idea to push Libertarian ideas by hiring a bunch of Washington journalists and wanna be “wonks”?

          1. Center-right establishment paymasters?

        2. The saddest thing is how it always seems to be trying to move up the left side of the table.

      2. Wait, NOW we’re supposed to take Trump at his word?

        So when he was calling a large proportion of Mexicans of being “rapists and criminals”, do we take him at his word then?

        So when he was demanding that the US military commit war crimes and kill the families of terrorists, do we take him at his word then?

        1. First, you have to win the election. Then you pivot.

      3. Trump never called a large proportion of Mexican immigrants rapists or criminals. He said since we don’t vet immigrants we end up with rapists and criminals among them.

      4. Trump never called a large proportion of Mexican immigrants rapists or criminals. He said since we don’t vet immigrants we end up with rapists and criminals among them.

      5. Trump never called a large proportion of Mexican immigrants rapists or criminals. He said since we don’t vet immigrants we end up with rapists and criminals among them.

      6. Trump never called a large proportion of Mexican immigrants rapists or criminals. He said since we don’t vet immigrants we end up with rapists and criminals among them.

        1. You said it four times because it’s true.

    3. Oh boo hoo. Reason isn’t a conservative website. Film at 11.

      1. Tulpa, no one is complaining that Reason is not a conservative website.
        They are complaining that it doesn’t seem to be a libertarian website.

    4. How are the dishonest?

  13. I worked the inauguration. My impression from watching video feeds was that the crowd was bigger than 13 and close to what it was in 2009, despite there being a band of violent fascists assaulting people on K street. A few hundred assholes showing up and burning shit and beating people up and getting into with the cops unsurprisingly caused a lot of people who would have come to take a pass.

    Instead of the petty dishonesty of fighting about crowd figures, how about we talk about some real dishonesty like how the media is acting like the crowd issue is important and has already put the fascist mob that showed up to assault the public in the name of “protesting Trump” down the memory hole. At 4 o’clock on Friday, I went to an update briefing. One of the slides had a line “Assaults on Trump supporters, too many to count”. The mob was running around assaulting and beating the shit out of people trying to attend the inauguration. That it seems to me is a bigger deal than “Trump was a big meanie to the media about the crowd size”.

    Sullumn doesn’t give a shit about the crowd size or who is telling the truth here. He is butt hurt that Trump keeps attacking the poor snowflakes in the media. Doesn’t he know who they are!!

    1. “I worked the inauguration.”

      Please tell me prostitution.

      1. The kind of opportunities the inauguration creates for a high end cross dressing hooker only happen once every four years. And they are even bigger when the Republicans are taking office. Just saying.

        1. It’s the mix of philosophy and crass that keeps me from giving up on the Commentariat.

        2. Better than a Shriners’ convention, John?

    2. I worked the inauguration

      Easier to catch ambulances in that big crowd

    3. Anecdotal evidence is sooooo much better than actual photographs showing crowd size (of which zero have yet shown the crowd reaching the monument)

      1. I can only believe my lying eyes which saw the arial feed that showed it did. Sorry if my eyes didn’t fit your narrative.

        1. And sorry that the evidence doesn’t fit your narrative.

          1. The size of the crowd varied. The pictures you are looking at were not taken when the crowd was at its largest. If you can’t handle that, too fucking bad. It is what it is.

            1. If you have evidence to the contrary, I will be glad to change my opinion.

    4. lets not forget Trump supporters were at work that day i know i was had to listen on the radio

      1. Wait, I thought they were all out of work due to the horrible economy and crumbling infrastructure. I have it on good authority that only the 1% has jobs.

    5. I watched the coverage on a couple of networks as I was channel surfing. Guess what, The crowd size was mentioned in the same breath as them describing everything else trivial – like what did the Obamas wear. what did Melania wear. Oh her dress looks like something Jackie O woudl wear. If the idiots in the Trump gang didnt react so butt hurt to the size of the crowd reports, it would not have been a big deal. The news would have moved to something else about Trump. The Trump lies are what kept this story going.

    6. I watched NBC, CNN. I didnt watch CNBC. So if anyone was gloating forever about the crowd size as they were doing on the liberal sites, it doesn’t mean the entire MSM was obsessed with it.

  14. OT: Google+ notifications are super helpful. Here’s a post from some rando I’ve never seen in my life, provided as a recommendation for me:

    “Mary McD originally shared:

    Missing your Social Security Raise yet???
    No worries…You may not have any Social Security when the RepubliCANTS get done.?”

    Thanks toots, my expectation has been for an insolvent and/or highly depreciated ripoff payout from SSA if/when I get to that age. I’ll look forward to seeing Mary’s bumpersticker in the future, telling me to thank Democrats for Social Security. Thanks Google.

  15. Man, fuck this. I am going back to sleep.

  16. Wake me up when Trump starts prosecuting reporters under the Espionage Act and subpoenaing their notes.

    1. Or throwing them in jail for refusing to reveal their sources like the special prosecutor in the CIA soccer mom case did.

      1. While the media scream outrage over crowd estimates, I received the following link in an email from the US Department of Transportation–a proposed new rule adding new drug testing requirements for employers of CDL drivers:

        Presidents come and go. The regulatory Leviathan grinds on.

    2. I hope the hangings will be public.

  17. So they are suing Trump to force him to sell all of his businesses. Or so they say.

    At any rate, they claim that a foreign government can hold an office party at a Trump hotel overseas and that would be an emolument…. illegal payments to the Pres under the constitution.

    So sayeth the lawyers for CREW

    The lawyers attached to the case include CREW board chairman Norman Eisen, an ethics lawyer for President Obama,

    Wait, what????

    an ethics lawyer for president Obama is the CREW board chairman, and he says hotel stays are illegal bribes to the President if he owns the hotel.

    Obama administration… where Hillary Clinton as secretary of state took in hundreds of millions in “charitable contributions” from foreign governments and many tens of millions in speaking fees from foreign governments and corporations both directly and through her husband.

    Eh…. not buying it. If you couldn’t find anything wrong with the ethics of the uranium deal, you ain’t got no business casting stones at the opposition.

    1. An emolument is a gift, not a payment, presumably fair market value, for goods and services.

      Plus, I doubt the TDSERS really want to force officeholders to give up every stock they own in companies that might sell to a foreign government.

      1. You are kinda making my point.

        Not every officeholder. Just their political opponents.

        Their team is just fine. If your team’s gal has her husband getting a quarter million appearance fee from a corporation with business before h6er office isn’t worth of at least a look-see when you are in charge of ethics for her branch of government, I don’t see how you can pretend with a straight face to be an honest advocate for responsible government when going after your political opponents.

      2. Look at how they treated Tom Price for his stock purchase, where the timeline does show he likely did not insider trade (even though it’s perfectly legal for Congresscritters to do). If the media and or democrats had any standards at all, they’d call out the hypocrisy of half the party doing the same. Yes, it is corrupt, but unless you treat the same thing from all parties as corrupt, I don’t want to hear about it.

    2. There are a couple of reasons why this lawsuit is ridiculous. First, it relies on the theory that Trump’s businesses making money overseas amounts to acceptance of payments from foreign governments in violation of the clause of the Constitution prohibiting that. That is facially ridiculous. The clause means payments not indirectly benefiting in some way from business done in the country. If courts were to interpret the clause to mean that, Presidents couldn’t so much as own stock in any company that did business overseas.

      The second and larger problem is standing to bring the suit. You can’t bring a lawsuit unless you can claim some real harm or interest in the issue. And what harm can these people claim? None. This suit will never get passed a motion to dismiss for lack of standing. They won’t even get to have discovery

      1. Unless, of course, they have a sympathetic ear in the court.

        This could all be a ploy to get that precious discovery and get the deep opposition research they thought they were paying for with the golden shower files.

  18. So here’s my theory: Reason realizes that it took the suckerbait on this whole inaugural nonsense by its junior buckeye award winners that it had to trot out sullum to give it the verneer of serious journalism.

    Am I close?

    p.s. Don’t go see spliy. It sucks.

    1. Nah, they’r just all “journalists” that have to accept proggy norms to maintain career viability. And let’s be honest, they’d all bail on Reason in a heartbeat for a better offer, like working at HufPo.

      1. It’s true, Hufpo has Chinese take out for their Thursday staff meetings.
        At Reason’s, Gillespie always eats both jelly filled donuts out of the assorted dozen.

  19. “I don’t think you can prove those numbers one way or the other,” she said. “There’s no way to really quantify crowds.”

    We’ll be hearing that quote again, but replace “crowds” with “civilian bombing casualties.”

  20. The lies are not ‘vain and petty’. They are calculated and cynical – the purpose is to pick a fight with the media as a pretext to shut it down. Just like his buddies Putin and Erdogan. It worked for them so why not try it here? What I don’t get is why the media here is so quick to fall for it. I mean seriously, how naive can you be? I’m almost starting to think they’re taking the bait on purpose. Of course, Trump is the master baiter.

  21. It won’t be physically possible for Trump to lie as much as Obama did.

  22. It’s called “misdirection”. I bet Chucky has fallen for quite a few shell games in his day.

  23. Is it going to be (at least) four more years of this petty bullshit at Reason? It’s getting to where the majority of commenters don’t want to read the articles. Pull your heads out of your asses fellas.

  24. […] like a spoiled child instead of a grown man.

    A man who speaks like a child, at least. For instance, his problems with basic logic, evidenced by how he described more than half of all immigrants from Mexico as: rapists, drug dealers and some, he assumed, being good people.

    Of course Trumpistas want you to believe the man is an oracle or a soothsayer whose words must be “interpreted”, rather than the plain-spoken person everyone praised him for being. And only that time.

    Yep, it will be a loooong 4 years.

    1. Like a spoiled child having a tantrum?

      A tantrum over precise semantics?

      A tantrum over precise semantics that just goes on and on and on?

      and on?

      and on?


  25. Worth reading to understand why Trump sounds as he does (by a friend of mine):

  26. It’s been several days and articles now, and I’m no closer to giving a flying fuck about this “controversy” than I was at the start.

    It’s like the ridiculous argument over the campaign logo that supposedly was shaped like a dick – with all of the legitimate gripes you could make about Trump, you focus on this kind of nonsense? Why? No one gives a shit outside of the media.

    1. He’s actually done some things of consequence but all we get are articles about this nonsense story.

      1. Huh? Like what? Other than sucking up to CIA “rank and file” (whoever that bunch of leeches happen to be) and bullying BMW because, I guess, they lost the war, what has he done? I’m still waiting for these wonderful deregulation measures and tax cuts he promised to all of his gullible… I mean, loyal, supporters?

        1. Gold drapes, motherfucker.

    2. Trump’s team started it, and the media took the bait. “Alternative facts” gave it stronger legs.

  27. Stop the presses, a lawyer made weaselly statements in an attempt to twist the facts.

  28. Jacob, take a deep breath, and remove the hook from your cheek.

    You have been Presidentially trolled.

    The “crowd size controversy” is a huge shiny object nothing burger to distract the hyper reactive outraged press.

    And you now win.

    For your prize, you seem to have totally missed that his first official visit was to the CIA – and if you watched the video, and listen to the crowd gathered (all spooks) – Trump basically pwned the rank and file guys in the trenches, rendering political guys like Brennan and his ilk pretty freakin irrelevant.

    The bungling, stupid, buffoonish caricature of your imaginings work very well for him. He is alpha=ing the country. Sit back and watch how it is done. (btw, I voted for Gary, but this is gonna be entertaining, at the least)

    1. ^This.

      Trump may be many things including and not limited to being crass and vindictive, but he ain’t stupid. I’ve been thinking for a while that maybe I should write and publish a re-working of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, demonstrating just how much of it is routinely practiced by Trump.

      Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment ? that which they cannot anticipate.

      Applicable? Maybe.

    2. ^^^ yes. Was going to post something similar, but you nailed it.

      Media published meaningless put-down about crowd size. Trump put it right back in their face, making them spend excessive print on agonizing refutations. It’s hilarious.

      Bush II ignored the press hits for 8 years, and they escalated throughout that time. I think Trump’s tactic will be the opposite. Put it in their face and make them defend. Force them to go overboard and lose more and more readership.

      1. Does anyone really believe that there isn’t a jpg in Bannon’s in-box that *at the very least* discredits the media’s narrative concerning the attendance numbers?

        Attention starts to flag, out comes the JPG and a twitter message “When you compare apples with apples, look what you get”.

        Media goes full-sperg whining about how the jpg was “photoshopped” – gotta be good for another week’s misdirection – we could be in the mid-terms before the press finally drop the chew toy.

  29. highlights the new president’s vanity, lack of discipline, and casual disregard for the truth.

    Not to yokel this thread up anymore than it needs to be, but where have you been the last eight years?

    1. How about Bill Clinton arguing the definition of sex and the meaning of the word “is”.

  30. “The fact that we have a ridiculous president does not mean he cannot accomplish serious things, and maybe even good things.”

    Doesn’t it? Of course, a broken clock is right twice a day. So far, the best thing he’s done is go back on his campaign promises. If he accidentally accomplishes something “good”, how much will that mitigate the damage this man-child will surely cause?

  31. Except, as it turns out CNN were lying AGAIN !

  32. The Instapundit nails it with this….

    “Trump knows that the press isn’t trusted very much, and that the less it’s trusted, the less it can hurt him. So he’s prodding reporters to do things that will make them less trusted, and they’re constantly taking the bait. They’re taking the bait because they think he’s dumb, and impulsive, and lacking self-control ? but he’s the one causing them to act in ways that are dumb and impulsive, and demonstrate lack of self-control. As Richard Fernandez writes on Facebook, they think he’s dumb because they think he has lousy taste, but there are a lot of scarily competent guys out there in the world who like white and gold furniture. And, I should note, Trump has more media experience than probably 99% of the people covering him. (As Obama operative Ben Rhodes gloated with regard to selling a dishonest story on the Iran deal, the average reporter the Obama White House dealt with “is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns.” In Rhodes’ words, “they literally know nothing.”)”

    1. more…
      “The counter-move for the press isn’t to double down on anti-Trump messaging. The counter-move is to bolster its own trustworthiness by acting more neutral and sober, and by being more trustworthy. If the news media actually focused on reporting facts accurately and straightforwardly, on leaving opinion to the pundits, and on giving Trump a clearly fair shake, then Trump’s tactics wouldn’t work, and any actual dirt they found on him would do actual damage. He’s betting on the press being insufficiently mature and self-controlled to manage that. So far, his bet is paying off.””

      1. Instapundit gets it, a perfect synopsis of what’s going on.

    2. They do think he’s dumb. The guys who chose journalism majors think he’s dumb and they are smart.

    3. But he tweets at 3 a.m. therefore he is impulsive

      1. Wanna know what I’m doing at 3am?

        Hint: involves peanut butter…

  33. Jacob, remember when obama lied about not understanding auto liability insurance? Or do you contend he was being truthful and is just that stupid? That was a lie about something that mattered and trump started dismantling it already and it’s crickets.

  34. Oh, shit. This is going to be four years of comedy gold.

    1. Stay at home mom Kelly Richards from New York after resigning from her full time job managed to average from $6000-$8000 a month from freelancing at home? This is how she done


  35. You know – you guys are just giving more fuel to the narrative that the size of the crowd actually matters.

    1. It doesn’t.

      If anything, you should point out that people not showing up for Trump’s swearing in is a *good* thing and that’s why both the media and Trump are freaking out about it.

  36. Sorry, if you use the NYT as a source for anything, I can’t believe it.
    Even if they said the sky is blue (which it isn’t in their world), I would need another source.

  37. The size of the crowd is a petty item but does anyone else remember back in 2009 during Obama’s inauguration when the media was caught photo shopping more people into the event than were there and those are the same photos they are using to prove Trump’s inauguration was smaller. You can’t use false numbers to prove false quantities no on wins this argument neither Trump or the Media

    1. No, Trump wins. Because while the media focuses on this nonsense, he steadily moves his agenda forward in the background. I don’t think this is an accident, I think they picked this fight deliberately for just that reason. Andrew Breitbart would be laughing his ass off right now at how Trump is playing the media.

  38. Hey, media.

    Did you ever hear the story about the boy who kept lying about things to get attention and made people distrust him so much that when he actually said something that was true nobody believed him? And then he got eaten by a wolf? That’s what’s happening. Trump may (and I think is) lying about all kinds of stuff. But you know what? For decades you’ve claimed to be impartial truth-tellers while you’ve carried the Democratic party’s water. You’ve spun, you’ve outright deceived, and you’ve exercised “creative” editorial decisions in order to create a biased narrative rather than inform the public.

    You’ve just rediscovered the virtue of skepticism and critical analysis, and I think that’s a fine and noble thing. But guess what? Nobody’s buying it, because you’ve spent so damn long spinning and lying and displaying bias that you no longer have any credibility.

    1. ^This.

  39. The spat about the size of the crowd at Friday’s inauguration highlights the new president’s vanity, lack of discipline, and casual disregard for the truth.

    Yeah, so what? Is that any worse than the carefully constructed facades and deceptions of previous administrations?

  40. Jacob, are you really interested in this subject?

  41. The Trump administration are amateurs who will never match the press with their professional disregard for the truth.

  42. Congrats Mr. Sullum, you went straight to the NYT’s early AM fake photo to make your case.

    Of course Trump will boast and exaggerate when challenged – we’ve know that for a long time. The NYT puts out this early photo, compares it to a speech time photo for Obama, and then acts outraged that Trump would object.

    (I even had a person arguing with me on Twitter tell me to watch a time elapsed photo from 8am to 10am to prove her point – but Trump was on stage at n0oon!)

  43. The photos from the NYT are not at the same timing. I think the Times photo is not when Trump was sworn in. See this photo…..?slide=106

  44. “Everyone look at these photos of the inauguration while I sign devastatingly consequential executive presidential orders”.

    The US media and population has collectively fallen for the old “Hey, what’s that behind you?” trick.

    The closer we look at what they want us to look at, the more they can get away with in our blind spots.

  45. When Trump’s tariffs trigger a recession, he’s going to claim that the US economy is “amazing, the best it’s ever been” and, sadly, tens of millions of people will believe him.

  46. Alternative facts are not falsehoods if they are true. There is a certain “How many angels can dance on the point of a pin” to this whole argument. If Conway had used a phrase like “alternative claim” instead, she might have been wrong, but there would not have been a grammatical issue.

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