Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The problem with "fact-checking"

All the responses to Trump's flubbed tweet about the death toll in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday pointed to the fact that the population of Sri Lanka is 21.4 million.  Trump initially tweeted a death toll of 138 million (it was, at the time, only 138).  Too many people, you see.

But Trump's claim is typical of Trump:  138 seems hardly enough to worry about.  138 million, now that's a number!  It would also require devastation on the scale of a nuclear war.  A BIG nuclear war.  138 million is roughly 1/3rd of the population of the United States.  You can't kill that many people in a single event without using nuclear weapons, and even then across a large area (no state in the union has that population).  The problem is not Trump's "slip of the tongue," or his tendency to exaggerate because bigger is always better (even in death counts?).  The problem is his complete failure of imagination, which is based on a complete failure of understanding.

To kill 138 million people in even one day would require a massive national effort by at least one nation, if not several exchanging nuclear weapons in retaliatory strikes.  If you don't understand the difference between the destruction of a car bombing in a crowded square, and the annihilation of millions in nuclear blasts, you really don't need to have your finger on the "trigger," literally or figuratively.

It's not an impeachable offense; but it's at least one more reason not to return the man to office in 2020.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe we should be relieved that he didn't say "bajillions".