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Colin McAfee, Staff Writer

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The use of lies this past election cycle and the first weeks of Trump’s administration have created something of a new precedent for dishonesty by many officials, including the president himself. On February 16, President Trump hosted a news conference to “take his message straight to the people” and push through all the “distortion by the media.” During the conference, Trump made many remarks that needed to be fact-checked in the question portion of the conference. For example, when Trump made the claim that his “306 electoral votes” were “the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan,” he was later fact-checked by a reporter who asked him how he could have had the greatest win when Obama had received 365 votes. Trump responded with “well, among republicans” which was instantly shot down when the same reporter quoted the win of President Bush with 370 votes. When confronted with the real facts, Trump responded with “I was given that information… I’ve seen that information around.” Not only was Trump called out for using provably false statements, but he was later fact-checked by CBS who pointed out that Trump won only 304, according to Congress’s official tally, instead of his claimed 306. It’s rather ironic that Trump himself is using distorted figures and statements at a conference he claims is designed to bring the truth to the public when the media is so “dishonest” and “out of control.”

These fake facts are popularly referred to as “alternative facts.” This term was coined by Kellyanne Conway when confronted about Sean Spicer’s gross exaggeration of Trump’s inauguration crowd:

CHUCK TODD: Answer the question of why the president asked the White House Press Secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood? Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What—You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re saying Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. (NBC News)

It’s rather alarming when the press secretary and the president are using “alternative facts” without facing any real consequences. Conway, on the other hand, has been rejected from interview opportunities on several occasions from media outlets like CNN due to her use of uninformed or false information. Her sinking reputation has earned her many headlines such as The New York Times’s “The Downfall of Kellyanne Conway.” It will be interesting to see how and if Trump and Spicer go forward with their use of “alternative facts” and their continued presence in Donald Trump’s administration.

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