When the Truth Gets Twisted by a Lie

Aug 29, 2021 · 49 comments
Vicki Ward MSN (Barnard, VT USA)
Why do we Americans, continue to believe in the current American Narrative? The US is not and has never been an honest country. If we could start with the truth, we might be able to make some repair but we are too far down the road for that to happen now. The start of the US was to steal the land from the Natives here and murder them, drag black folk here from another continent and use them as slaves and much much worse than just for work! WE whites, continuously worked to destroy the black experience in the US. Women make a little more on the dollar than they used to but must act like white men in order to do so. Americans in the lead have killed half of life on earth in 50 years. Despite the yellow light warnings in the 1960s about behavioral consequences of our extraction lives, we pursued, with renewed vigor in the 1980s, as we brought Hollywood into our government, Extraction, Pollution, Oil, Nuclear, etc... We chose to relegate mental health and substance abuse health concerns to homelessness and private prisons, so more $$$ could be made and more and worse punishment for these problems could be swiped into the back corners. The medical industrial complex, now dominated by MBAs with their MD pals, wanted the money!!!! The United States is an extremely dishonest society, a violent society and its seams are bursting, not just from social media dividing us but from this truth eating us from the inside out.
Pray for Help (Connect to the Light)
There is a science behind lies where Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler used lies with mastery, with intent. Start with the idea of a lie such as someone saying they didn't steal a cookie before dinner because we accept that level of lie even though we shouldn't. While seemingly benign, it lays the mental groundwork for an entire distortion of reality and thus the beginnings of social mental illness. The big lie is a propaganda technique used for political purposes, defined as "a gross distortion or misrepresentation of the facts, especially when used as a propaganda device by a politician or official body." The German expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, to describe the use of a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously." “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” ― Joseph Goebbels A lie combined with certain presentation can eventually begin to be accepted as truth, but it is a truth that feels crazy making. Then give this knowledge to a person with the personality disorder of malignant narcissism and you have given them the power to achieve their greatest goals... to be paid attention to which they see as being loved along with the power to control all.
LilaLeela (FL)
Face book took this to a new level, and no regulation or ethics.
Steve Moyer (Santa Fe, NM)
@LilaLeela Nope, right wing propagandists played their usual game, magnified by the desperation of the former guy. Facebook was nothing more that the paper and ink.
Vinnie K (NJ)
Time has shown that "social" media has become a weaponized "anti-social"medium. IN many ways, this is because the companies are too big, and therefore unmanageable.
Steve Moyer (Santa Fe, NM)
@Vinnie K No it shows that the right wing in the US as well as enemies of the US will weaponize any tool at their disposal.
Boone (Wild West)
> "...vilified by supporters of President Trump." They have proven time and again that they truly are deplorable.
Paul-A (St. Lawrence, NY)
This kind of hurtful situation gets played out every day in human interactions in many different ways, both big and small. However, the focus is often on how "organizations" and "systems" allow things like this to happen, but the depth of harm that's done to individuals is rarely acknowledged. A common example of this is harassment and abuse that occurs in the workplace. Coworkers and management often make "small" mistakes by not addressing situations early. When the victim begins to speak out and ask for redress, everyone who allowed it to happen goes into "legal defense mode," and start to twist the truth and propagate lies in order to create a new narrative that protects their own butts. These half-truths and lies take on a new life of their own and replace the foundational truths that are at the root of the situation. Soon, the victim of the harassment is painted as the problem, and their career (and mental health) are destroyed. Those of us who have experienced such things in our own lives aren't surprised even when we see it play out very publicly on a national level like this, because we know all-too-well how things like this take on a life of their own and spiral out of control regardless of how absurd it all seems when held up against incontrovertible facts and logic. Perhaps Mr. Coomer's story can help us all think about ways that we can help prevent similar harms from happening in our own workplaces and social networks.
Bonnie (MA)
And still Trump suffers no consequence for his efforts to undermine the right of citizens to vote and to have their votes counted, and his encouragement of violent insurrection. People who want Trump to be king of America should ask themselves how would anyone be safe once Trump threw away all notions of law and the Constitution. The entire nation would be hostage to his delusions and paranoia. Are you sure you want to vote for him and for the GOP that do everything they can to cripple government?
MichinobeKris (Los Angeles)
@Bonnie How would his supporters like Trump to be king of America? They would be fine with it because they share his delusions and paranoia, and because he persecutes the people they hate. ANYTHING a Republican does is OK because he's my guy. Nothing a Democrat does is OK because he's not my guy. It's as simple as that.
gregolio (Michigan)
Why did they go after Dominion!?! Because they knew their election fraud lie was a farce. The rapid collapse of Mr T's "Election Fraud Commission" in 2017 foreshadowed the info. Do as Trump and all extremists do: blame someone else.
Eldermace (United States)
Most of the comments here are very good examples of the title of this article.
Boone (Wild West)
@Eldermace To what "twisted lies" in these comments are you referring?
Robbie J. (Miami Florida)
@Boone Or at least can @Eldermace give an example of the *malinformation* that sustains his complaint about the comments here?
Lori (New York)
@Eldermace Please expound and where are the lies? The cult still believe the lies the snake oil salesman is telling. There was no fraud, even lowlife Barr concurs. Give it up already.
Thomas (New York)
Is the story a cautionary tale about social media? Well, not entirely, but it surely is one more reminder that venting on social media is really never a good idea. I tend to think that social media itself is not a good idea.
Ms D (wil)
A tragic story and a very sad, sick commentary on how proponents of the Big Lie hav twisted civic responsibility. This man's life has been ruined and all I can hope is that all involved in smearing him, Dominion, and our American acceptance of elections, suffer financially and lose their rights to freedom for a very long time.
Bonnie (MA)
@Ms D Trump, the GOP, and those who admire and vote for him do not care about civic responsibility. They want everything their own way and see other people as resources to be exploited for their own benefit. Their biggest mistake is imagining Trump is a leader or that he cares what happens to anyone who votes for him. He was once asked how much he participated in raising his children. He said "I allways take their phone calls."
Portland Dan (Yosemite, CA)
Thankfully, we have actual journalists working to counter the fascist (as opposed to merely ignorant) racist lies and criminal slander and libel. Mr. Coomer, and Dominion, must be made whole, after the criminal efforts by a cabal of actors, seeking to undermine our Democracy and overthrow our government. Those crimes must include RICO charges, and Treason.
TP (Connecticut)
If they went after Alexander Vindeman, no one is safe. No one.
Robbie J. (Miami Florida)
@TP Or Khizr Khan. Or John McCain. Or even Michael Pence.
Ed Smith (Connecticut)
The Republican right will discredit any American citizen, such as Mr. Coomer, if it helps them own Democrats or upend American government while a Democrat sits in the oval office. Tories were tarred and feathered pre-Revolution - but today we are more civilized and abide the know-nothings amongst us while they work their subterfuge. Of is it they have a disproportionate share of guns and ammo and a much greater proclivity to using them - making it wise to lay low? Like the NYTimes which seems intent on publishing headlines demeaning of President Biden's handling of the Afghan exit. What about Trumps immoral and sudden abandonment of the Kurds who were by-far our best Muslim allies and a potential exemplar for Islamic nations to embrace for a progressive future? What of Bush who invented weapons-of-mass-destruction lies to bring is into a ruinous Iraq war - creating ISIS and freeing up our enemy Iran by removing Saddam Hussein who once kept them contained for free? Fox News and conservative media demonizes Biden and Democrats ceaselessly. Consider giving Biden just a little more credit than you do now - lest in 50 years you have to dredge up an embarrassing position that is no longer moral or right as we look back at the facts from the vantage of a more enlightened future.
Robbie J. (Miami Florida)
@Ed Smith "The Republican right will discredit any American citizen ..." In that respect, at least, they look just like any authoritarian regime you look at over human history. When it becomes clear that no one trusts anything they say, they will ensure, using all the powers they can muster, that there is no information, no authority, no source that anyone can trust. That is, they will try to discredit everything and everyone. Just look at the present-day attempts to discredit the scientific community, especially in the fields of public health, epidemiology, pharmacology, medicine and climate science. Look at the attacks on the media. Look at the co-optation of several houses of the media towards that end. Indeed, in my opinion, that tendency by a party towards what I call "universal discredit" is one of the earliest signs of a society's drift towards authoritarianism that is hard to stop.
Dave (New Jersey)
I have proudly disliked/ despised/ hated Trump for over 40 years, going back to when he was a Democrat (when it suited his purposes), and a friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton (guests at his wedding to Melania). I have been posting negatives (factually based) about him for years, and wil continue to do so. When he's right about something, I acknowledge it, and usually chalk it up to broken clock syndrome (right twice a day). My hate is not based on political ideology; there are many politicians on both sides whom I don't agree with (Liz Cheney, though I dislike her father, Omar, AOC, Tlaib), who I I don't like, but i don't hate. There are many Republicans who either actively support, or do not denounce (and grudgingly support, because it suits their agenda) Trump (see McCarthy and McConnell), who I actively dislike. Trump has no ideology except being amoral, unethical, mendacious, arrogant, and a narcissist; when he does or or says the right thing, it's usually for the wrong reasons. The best thing he's don't is expose the overt racists and right wing extremists in our midst, including in Congress and government, Federal, state, and local. I totally understand Mr. Coomer's need to vent on his own time on what he (mistakenly) thought was a secure and private venue; that doesn't that he didn't do his job properly and ethically. After all, he's not Trump.
Robbie J. (Miami Florida)
@Dave "I totally understand Mr. Coomer's need to vent on his own time on what he (mistakenly) thought was a secure and private venue; that doesn't that he didn't do his job properly and ethically." The lesson for us all: If you want to say anything on a forum like Facebook or Twitter (or any other social media), perhaps just to get things off your chest, and you want to keep it private, _encrypt it *before* you post it._ Providing clear text to the likes of Facebook and Twitter is guaranteed to not remain private. Keeping things private is not the purpose of such a forum as social media.
Steve Kennedy (Deer Park, Texas)
"Rudy Giuliani says bogus election fraud claims about Dominion are 'substantially true' in answer to defamation lawsuit ... Rudy Giuliani said his false claims about Dominion Voting Systems' role in the 2020 presidential election were 'substantially true' in a new court filing, even as he acknowledged that he doesn't understand how the company's voting software works." (Yahoo News, 26Aug2021) In true Trumpesque fashion: Don't confuse me with the facts.
Robbie J. (Miami Florida)
@Steve Kennedy But since he does it in a court filing, doesn't that constitute perjury?
bl (rochester)
The underlying mindset of those involved in this story is strongly evocative of what must have been happening in Moscow prior to and during the show trials and the great purge of the late 1930s. A second analogue is, of course, the red terror scares in this country starting after WW 1 and ending in the 1950s. History repeats because its principal actors share deeply wired psychological traits and skills in manipulating others who are selected for exhibiting a strong need to display loyalty at any price. At the apex of this pathological pyramid, it is a story of an amoral, malevolent, and paranoid sociopath who is very skilled in manipulating and convincing underlings to display their loyalty and do his bidding, no matter how vile. By himself little could be achieved, but with the zealous loyalty of committed servants, vast evil can be perpetrated. Their actions under his directions help organize and direct groups of loyalists who do all the really dirty, nasty stuff since they are the ones most committed to rooting out any signs of disloyalty and active opposition. The consequences then snowball without external resistance. Soon you have an out of control display of mass delusion and conspiracy believers, consumed by the obsession to look everywhere for the guilty ones. This then continues until it exhausts itself, leaving its victims strewed behind for historians or authors to reanimate and everyone else to wonder how could this have happened.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@bl Correction: Ending in the 1960s. Still active in 1960.
bl (rochester)
@Thomas Zaslavsky Yes I forgot to think of the malevolence which hoover (not an inappropriate analogue of his soviet homologues, though without the occasional oversight of a politburo) was still capable of inflicting plus the blacklists that were still in effect in the early 60s.
Bonnie (MA)
@bl Trump is a cancer on the nation and he is unable to be otherwise, due to his extreme narcissism. He is the symptom of the decay of the GOP which, knowing exactly who he was and how destructive he would be as president, chose him for their own reasons. THey could have picked as their candidate someone not delusional, dishonest, and incompetent, but instead they chose and supported every step of the way their human wrecking ball.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Long Island)
Coomer said there was no way Trump could win - He never said "because an accurate vote count will kill him" or "because the machines were rigged" - Considering that forensic analysis of the code proved he meant the former, I don't understand what the stink is about. Maybe it's a lack of understanding of the programming-for-elections process. Code is written, then tested and vetted by other parties. A pro-X coder who writes crooked code will soon be not only out a job, but under indictment. Ffrom the sound of things, Coomer assumed that if his code accurately counted every vote, and based on the polling, especially tracking polling (a bit tougher due to COVID and the number voting long before the campaigns had ended - like everyone in some Southwestern states), Trump was not going to get a second term. Trump was the one who called officials in at least one state, Georgia, where elections officers who were more committed to their oaths of office, the law, and the will of the people, refused to "find" votes that would prove the would-be dictator's claim, (repeated through January 6, during his attempt to disrupt the ceremonial ballot counting and called for a crowd to do something about the "disloyalty" of his own vice-president) recorded the call, and released the tapes, proving their commitment to the actual votes cast. Coomer was right - the most carefully conducted election in the nation's history proved Trump legitimately a Loser.
Thomas (New York)
@Eatoin Shrdlu It's not a lack of understanding; it's just lies, backed up by shouting and death threats. Where have you been since 2015?
Miss Anne Thrope (Utah)
"When the truth is found to be lies, And all the joy within you dies…"
Russell Scott Day/Founder of Transcendia (Carrboro, NC)
Born in White Plains NY and growing up in small town red dirt North Carolina I learned that I had no effective argument better than my fists. I have no doubt that those who stormed our Capitol Building on January 6th had every intention of preventing the certification of the vote. I understand their capacity for lies is as great as their capacity for violence. When your judgements conflict with their own you must still watch what you say or write. It appears Coomer did not think of screen shots & thought private meant privacy.
USAF SERE (Washington)
@Russell Scott Day/Founder of Transcendia Fair comment and I wish we could start using that effective argument more often. These clowns think they can get away with anything, basically because guess what - they are getting away with it. Sure, we track them down and charge them but the vitriol and thug like behavior has to be squashed. Perfect example - the so called "proud boys" who play dress up soldier and go looking for fights.
Bonnie (MA)
@USAF SERE Trump called his vicious, violent followers "patriots" after their cruel attacks on police and their attempts to harm members of Congress on Jan 6. Has there ever been another president serenely untroubled by mobs calling for his VP to be hanged? I don't think Trump can claim to be a supporter of "law and order" as he has pretended to be. He is no supporter of the Constitution, having said publicly "As president I can do whatever I want." Exactly the sort of guy the founders did not want.
guyslp (Staunton, VA)
@Russell Scott Day/Founder of Transcendia: The sooner that every single person who actively uses the internet in any capacity accepts that NOTHING is private that involves cyberspace, the better. It never has been, and never will be, private in any meaningful sense of the word.
TMSquared (Santa Rosa CA)
Eric Coomer's great sin was to oppose Trump. Remember "lock her up"? It's a through line in Trumpism: opposition is criminal, beyond the pale. Punishable by death. We really should be able to recognize this. Treating political opponents with jail or violence is a universal trait of violent authoritarian movements. This violent authoritarian movement is not trying to hide what it is from the rest of us. I'm not sure the rest of us are paying proper attention.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Long Island)
@TMSquared Adding, his great sin was to oppose Trump in his public statements. Dominion's records and the code in the machines used itself (mostly backed by paper ballots, counted three times in Georgia) proved Coomer's other sin was to do his job properly, and predict that an accurate count would show, of those who voted, more than 8 million more preferred Biden to another 4 years of anarchic, disruptive government of the nation in one man's self-interest. I'm saddened it wasn't 20 million, a real landslide, but, when votes are properly counted, a margin of a 1-vote win in every one of 50 states gives a candidate 100 percent of the Electoral College. It's also time we remembered that the purpose of the Electoral College was (in addition to giving 2 extra votes to the underpopulated farm states, the South in the late 18th Century) was to select electors of the quality of the "founding fathers" (remember, women couldn't vote back then), who would renounce a candidate who won on lies, a reputation based on lies, and slanders aimed at the opposition, to deny the votes to a populist would-be monarch, who put himself and his own personal gain ahead of the nation's (as they looked at Aaron Burr). Today, an elector who uses this basis for defecting from the party's choice is deemed "disloyal" by the NYT, where history is sometimes forgotten. Trump never won the popular vote. GW Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore. It's time for the EC to go - the voters have proven wiser.
Thomas (New York)
@Eatoin Shrdlu Actually, as you may recall, Burr and Jefferson got equal numbers of electoral votes; the House, strenuously lobbied by Hamilton, made Jefferson the president.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@Eatoin Shrdlu All states were farm states in those days. The Southern slave states just wanted more power.
Ellen (CH)
What is the more universal danger exposed in this story? Is the real culprit not the current "fashion" of going back to past private/personal opinions people have made to paint an individual in an exclusive of all context, negative light to ruin their lives and/or promote a larger narrative? This man was a perfect victim of his words, as so many others have been, losing their careers over personal, albeit unpleasant for some, comments made even decades before. Selective manipulation & twisting of a person's words is rejecting the very principles of free speech/opinions for political gain that today is clearly not limited to a left or right as this story proves. What Democracy can survive without tolerating speech some do not want to hear?
Bonnie (MA)
@Ellen Surprisingly few people seem concerned with Trump's frequent lies and his long record of escaping all accountability for his words and deeds. He remains protected by the GOP, regardless of his clear demonstratios of contempt for democracy.
baron_siegfried (SW Florida)
I sincerely hope he's part of the suit that Dominion has against their slanderers and is adequately compensated for what he's been forced to endure.
Daniel (St. Louis)
If your job is to referee anything whether it is a football game or an election, you should not engage in partisan social media bashing of one of the participants. That is the story here. As someone who has engaged in business fraud research in my career, I can tell you that absence of proof of fraud is not absence of fraud. The best fraudsters are able to disguise their activities, so they are not discovered for many years. That said, I doubt that fraud due to Eric Coomer likely happened, as fraudsters tend to be very quiet when they commit their crimes. However, that there was the potential for anomalies in 2020 election is clear, given that most ballots from Dems were sent in by mail and given that this would allow caregivers to fill in ballot for cognitively impaired patients who never would have voted in a previous elections. There are over a million cognitively impaired patients in AZ, GA, and WI due to all causes including AD and severe depression. Only a small percentage were needed to throw election to Biden, who won Electoral College by only about 40,000 votes in those states. There is no proof that this happened, but caregivers for these patients are overwhelmingly younger, female, and Black and hence skew to be Biden supporters, and so would be more likely to have urged patients to fill in ballots and sign them if they knew the patient preferred Biden. This is not fraud, but just an anomaly of 2020 election.
Renee Margolin (CA)
@Daniel You start with the standard Republican operating procedure of saying “this could happen”, then argue that it must have. Where is your proof? Why is it that the only intentional fraud found in the 2020 election was committed by Republicans? A “potential for anomalies” does not equal “there were anomalies”. The long and short of it is your guy lost, and by a record popular vote margin and skewed-right electoral college vote.
bl (rochester)
@Daniel Actually your iteration of conjecture upon conjecture, always carefully qualified as being without proof, but nonetheless surely worthy of a skeptical "anomalous", is just a variant of the southern white perspective during Reconstruction about how all those newly freed slaves must have voted. You may employ a dispassionate tone throughout by repeating "anomalous" in place of a cruder "steal", but there is the same underlying assumption about how African-American voters must have behaved to get what they really wanted. In addition, your perspective is completely similar to those poll watchers and recount obsessed legislators who thought something had to be very fishy (aka "anomalous"), but only where African-American voters were a significant part of the electorate. You also offer, though surely you do not realize this, why it is so essential to teach the details of this country's racial history in as unvarnished and unprettified manner as possible, not the half truth filled whitewashed history, as is now the case in far too many red zones and red states of the country. A simple question here. Are you aware that absentee ballots had to be signed to be counted and that handwriting recognition algorithms were used to verify the signature matching required before tabulation. Do you really believe, deep down, that all those signatures of all those unfortunates, tended to by black health care helpers, would have passed such a verification?
bl (rochester)
@Daniel A second simple question also occurs and merits asking here. Why do you not even think to mention, if not also to pose the conjecture, that of the many white female health care helpers out there, especially in red exurban zones, there could have been a not insignificant number of trump supporters who aided and abetted an absentee ballot to be cast for trump by an ailing or "cognitively impaired" trump supporter (or is that a redundancy?)? After all that appears to be just as likely as your conjecture. This could easily have made the vote "anomalously tight" by increasing trump's tally. Why would you not have thought of that too and included it in your examples of unprovable "anomalies"? This is a very curious omission, don't you think?
See also