Speaking at the VFW national convention, which became his latest equivalent of a campaign rally - paid for by the American taxpayers, of course - Trump urged those in the crowd not to believe anything they read or saw coming out of the mainstream media, saying that all of it is lies. Those words would more aptly apply to anything coming out of the Trump White House and right wing news outlets such as Fox News that increasingly are adopting the tactic once employed by Hitler's Nazi regime and, of course, Vladimir Putin's Russia: delete any news that doesn't comport with the glorious leader's agenda or which reveals inconvenient truths. A case in point is the White House live stream or transcript of Trump's "summit" in Helsinki with his KGB handler. Amazingly, both have been scrubbed to delete Putin's statements (i) that he wanted Trump to win the 2016 presidential election, and (ii) that he worked to help him win. It's all there if one watches the original news feeds and non-Trump/Fox News transcripts. The Atlantic looks at this latest totalitarian technique embraced by the Trump White House. Here are highlights:
It was perhaps the most explosive exchange in an incendiary press conference: Russian President Vladimir Putin appearing to frankly admit to a motive for, and maybe even to the act of, meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, despite repeatedly denying Russian interference in American politics during the rest of his appearance with Donald Trump in Finland on Monday.But the exchange doesn’t appear in full in the White House’s live-stream or transcript of the press conference, and it’s missing entirely from the Kremlin’s transcript of the event. The White House did not immediately provide an explanation for the discrepancy.
Understanding what Putin said depends on what you watch or where you look. If you watch the video of the news conference provided by the Russian government, or by news outlets such as PBS and the Associated Press, you will hear the Reuters reporter Jeff Mason ask a bombshell of a question: “President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?”
Putin then responds with a bombshell of an answer, according to the English translation of his remarks that was broadcast during the press conference: “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”
if you watch the White House live-stream of the press conference or look at the transcript published by the White House, the first half of Mason’s question is not there. Without it, the meaning of the exchange is substantially different.
Compare this transcript, of what actually happened, to the White House’s version. Here is the record of what took place, starting with the last part of Putin’s comments before Mason’s questions. Putin is describing his willingness to assist with Robert Mueller’s probe (bolding is mine):
Jeff Mason: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
Putin: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.
Q: And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
PRESIDENT PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.
The discrepancies in the accounts of what was said also underscore the extent to which the Trump presidency has challenged a common understanding of reality. Even if the omission was accidental, it appears suspicious at a moment marked by the president’s repeated claims that legitimate news reports are “fake.”
The safest approach? Believe nothing Trump or his administration - or Fox News, et al - says unless and until independently corroborated. The lies and misinformation campaign is endless. It's like out of George Orwell's novel, 1984.