“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

I’ve been meaning to post about a particular kind of bullshit for a while: the use, particularly by bigots and other arseholes, of Goebbels’ tactic of repeating blatant lies. As he put it:

It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle.

Today, it’s being used about Michelle Wolf by Trump supporters, who are parroting the same lie: Wolf humiliated press secretary Sarah Sanders by saying terrible things about her appearance.

She did no such thing. Here’s the video.

She attacked press secretary Sarah Sanders for being a liar. “She burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye.”

That’s it, and yet MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinkski tweeted that he saw “a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks”.

That didn’t happen.

A wife and mother may have been humiliated on national television, but it had nothing to do with her looks. There was no “intense criticism of her physical appearance”, as the NYT’s Maggie Haberman tweeted. Intense criticism of her words and deeds, sure. Of her moral fibre? Definitely. Of her appearance? None whatsoever.

What’s terrifying about this is that the people repeating the lies are journalists. A journalist’s job is to report what happened, not what they imagined happening.

This isn’t a he said/she said thing. It’s easy to verify. The video’s embedded in this post. Wolf simply didn’t say the things some journalists are claiming she said.

This is basic, basic stuff. If you can’t accurately report what somebody said, publicly, in an event recorded and immediately available on video for you to check, you shouldn’t be working in journalism. You’re a useful idiot, or a propagandist. Either way, you can’t be trusted to do your job.

As Arwa Mahdawi writes, Wolf called the problem out during her speech:

“You pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him.”

Before Trump took power, real journalism was derided as “fake news”. Now, fake news is being passed off as real journalism by craven apologists for the regime in power.

We’ve seen this before. It never ends well.