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为什么没人在乎特朗普说谎

更新时间:2017-2-7 11:51:20 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why Nobody Cares the President Is Lying
为什么没人在乎特朗普说谎

If President Trump’s first tumultuous weeks have done nothing else, at least they have again made us a nation of readers.

如果说特朗普总统的最初几周在混乱无序中没什么别的成就,他们至少让美国重新成了一个阅读者的国度。

As Americans grapple with the unreality of the new administration, George Orwell’s “1984” has enjoyed a resurgence of interest, becoming a surprise best seller and an invaluable guide to our post-factual world.

在美国人努力面对不可思议的新政府的同时,乔治·奥威尔(George Orwell)的《1984》正再度引起人们的兴趣,出人意料地成为畅销书,也成为我们的后真相世界的一本宝贵指南。

On his first full day in office Mr. Trump insisted that his inaugural crowd was the largest ever, a baseless boast that will likely set a pattern for his relationship both to the media and to the truth.

在他就任后的第一个全天工作日里,特朗普坚称他的就职仪式观礼人数是史上最多,这种毫无依据的吹嘘,日后在他与媒体和真相的关系中可能是个反复出现的元素。

At an event marking Black History Month last week, the president took a detour from a discussion of Frederick Douglass — he described the abolitionist as “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more” — to talk about the press. “A lot of the media is actually the opposition party — they’re so biased,” he said. “So much of the media is the opposition party and knowingly saying incorrect things.”

在上周纪念“黑人历史月”的一场活动中,总统在谈论弗雷德里克·道格拉斯(Frederick Douglass)时跑题了——他形容这位废奴运动人士是“典型的做了出色工作的人,他会得到越来越多的肯定的”——转而去说媒体。“很多媒体其实是反对党——他们太有偏见了,”他说。“太多媒体是反对党了,有意说不正确的东西。”

Mr. Trump understands that attacking the media is the reddest of meat for his base, which has been conditioned to reject reporting from news sites outside of the conservative media ecosystem.

特朗普知道,对媒体的攻击是他的选民最爱的美味,他们已经习惯了拒绝保守派媒体生态系统以外的一切新闻报道。

For years, as a conservative radio talk show host, I played a role in that conditioning by hammering the mainstream media for its bias and double standards. But the price turned out to be far higher than I imagined. The cumulative effect of the attacks was to delegitimize those outlets and essentially destroy much of the right’s immunity to false information. We thought we were creating a savvier, more skeptical audience. Instead, we opened the door for President Trump, who found an audience that could be easily misled.

多年来,作为一名保守派电台脱口秀主持人,我也在这种习惯的形成中发挥了作用,斥责主流媒体的偏见和双重标准。但是代价远远超出我的想象。经年累月的攻击产生的效果是,这些媒体的正当性被瓦解了,从根本上对右派人士抵御不实信息的能力造成了损害。我们以为自己在培养一个更有见地、更具怀疑精神的受众。然而实际上,我们为特朗普总统打开了一扇门,他发现了一个可以轻易误导的受众。

The news media’s spectacular failure to get the election right has made it only easier for many conservatives to ignore anything that happens outside the right’s bubble and for the Trump White House to fabricate facts with little fear of alienating its base.

在本次选举的解读上,新闻媒体的惨痛失败让许多保守派人士更容易无视右派泡泡之外的一切,让特朗普的白宫可以在炮制事实的同时,丝毫不需要担心疏远自己的选民。

Unfortunately, that also means that the more the fact-based media tries to debunk the president’s falsehoods, the further it will entrench the battle lines.

不幸的是,这也意味着基于真相的媒体越是去揭穿总统的谎言,双方阵营的隔阂会越大。

During his first week in office, Mr. Trump reiterated the unfounded charge that millions of people had voted illegally. When challenged on the evident falsehood, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, seemed to argue that Mr. Trump’s belief that something was true qualified as evidence. The press secretary also declined to answer a straightforward question about the unemployment rate, suggesting that the number will henceforth be whatever the Trump administration wants it to be.

在就任首周,特朗普再次提出了毫无依据的指控,认为有数百万人非法投票。在被指出缺乏证据后,白宫新闻秘书肖恩·斯派塞(Sean Spicer)的观点似乎是,只要特朗普相信某事是真的,那么就可以作为证据。这位新闻秘书还拒绝回答有关失业率的一个直接问题,这说明,这个数字今后可能会任由特朗普政府编造。

He can do this because members of the Trump administration feel confident that the alternative-reality media will provide air cover, even if they are caught fabricating facts or twisting words (like claiming that the “ban” on Muslim immigrants wasn’t really a “ban”). Indeed, they believe they have shifted the paradigm of media coverage, replacing the traditional media with their own.

他之所以能这么做,是因为特朗普政府自信地认为,报道“另类现实”的媒体会提供空中支援,即便它们被逮到有凭空捏造或歪曲词义的行为(比如声称对穆斯林移民的“禁令”并非真正的“禁令”)。事实上,他们相信自己已经实现了媒体报道的范式转型,用自己的媒体取代了传统媒体。

In a stunning demonstration of the power and resiliency of our new post-factual political culture, Mr. Trump and his allies in the right media have already turned the term “fake news” against its critics, essentially draining it of any meaning. During the campaign, actual “fake news” — deliberate hoaxes — polluted political discourse and clogged social media timelines.

特朗普和他的右派媒体盟友已经将“假新闻”一词变成了攻击批评者的工具,本质上消除了它的其他任何含义,这一点格外惊人地体现了我们这种后真相政治文化的力量和弹性。在竞选期间,真正的“假新闻”——有意编造的骗局——污染了政治话语,阻塞了社交媒体的时间线。

Some outlets opened the door, by helping spread conspiracy theories and indulging the paranoia of the fever swamps. For years, the widely read Drudge Report has linked to the bizarre conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who believes that both the attacks of Sept. 11 and the Sandy Hook shootings were government-inspired “false flag” operations.

有些媒体散播阴谋论,给狂热群体的妄想多疑添柴加火。多年来,拥有众多读者的Drudge Report和怪诞的阴谋论者亚历克斯·琼斯(Alex Jones)搭上了线,后者相信9·11恐怖袭击和桑迪·胡克小学(Sandy Hook)枪击案都是政府策动的“假旗”行动。

For conservatives, this should have made it clear that something was badly amiss in their media ecosystem. But now any news deemed to be biased, annoying or negative can be labeled “fake news.” Erroneous reports that the bust of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office or misleading reports that sanctions against Russia had been lifted will be seized on by Mr. Trump’s White House to reinforce his indictment.

保守派从中应该可以清楚地看到,他们的媒体生态系统中出现了严重的问题。但是,现在一切被认为有偏见、烦人或负面的新闻都被打上了“假新闻”标签。有关小马丁·路德·金(Martin Luther King Jr.)博士的半身像被从椭圆形办公室搬出的错误报道,或者对俄罗斯制裁已获解除的误导性报道,才会被特朗普的白宫抓住,用于巩固自己的指控。

Even as he continues to attack the “dishonest media,” Mr. Trump and his allies are empowering this alt-reality media, providing White House access to Breitbart and other post-factual outlets that are already morphing into fierce defenders of the administration.

即使当特朗普继续攻击“不诚实的媒体”之际,他和盟友们这种构建另类现实的媒体,让布莱巴特新闻(Breitbart)以及其他后真相媒体得以为白宫所用——它们已经蜕变成了政府的激烈捍卫者。

The relationship appears to be symbiotic, as Mr. Trump often seems to pick up on talking points from Fox News and has tweeted out links from websites notorious for their casual relationship to the truth, including sites like Gateway Pundit, a hoax-peddling site that announced, shortly after the inauguration, that it would have a White House correspondent.

这看上去是一种共生关系,因为特朗普似乎常常对福克斯新闻(Fox News)抛出的话题详加阐述,还在Twitter上发过那些因为不在意真相而臭名昭著的网站的链接,其中包括以兜售骗局见长的Gateway Pundit等。特朗普就职后不久,Gateway Pundit便宣布自己会有一名驻白宫记者。

By now, it ought to be evident that enemies are important to this administration, whether they are foreigners, refugees, international bankers or the press.

到目前为止,有一点应该很清楚:敌人,不管是外国人、难民、国际银行家还是媒体,对这届政府而言非常重要。

But discrediting independent sources of information also has two major advantages for Mr. Trump: It helps insulate him from criticism and it allows him to create his own narratives, metrics and “alternative facts.”

不过,对特朗普来说,不可信的独立信源也有两个主要的优势:可以帮他远离批评,并让他得以构建自己的叙事、标准和“另类事实”。

All administrations lie, but what we are seeing here is an attack on credibility itself.

所有政府都会撒谎,但我们此刻正目睹一场针对信誉本身的攻击。

The Russian dissident and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov drew upon long familiarity with that process when he tweeted: “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

俄罗斯异见人士、国际象棋大师加里·卡斯帕罗夫(Garry Kasparov)在推文中提到这个他熟悉的过程:“现代政治宣传的重点不只是让人误解一项议程或推动一项议程。它还要摧毁审辩式思维,要消灭真相。”

Mr. Kasparov grasps that the real threat is not merely that a large number of Americans have become accustomed to rejecting factual information, or even that they have become habituated to believing hoaxes. The real danger is that, inundated with “alternative facts,” many voters will simply shrug, asking, “What is truth?” — and not wait for an answer.

卡斯帕罗夫深知,真正的威胁不仅仅是大批美国人已经习惯于拒斥事实性信息,甚至是习惯于相信骗局。真正的危险是,被“另类事实”淹没的很多选民只会耸耸肩,问道:“什么是真相?”——却根本不期待有人给出答案。

In that world, the leader becomes the only reliable source of truth; a familiar phenomenon in an authoritarian state, but a radical departure from the norms of a democratic society. The battle over truth is now central to our politics.

在那样的世界里,领导人会变成唯一可靠的真相来源;此类现象在威权国家里屡见不鲜,但却从根本上背离了民主社会的规范。围绕真相展开的斗争目前处于美国政治的核心位置。

This may explain one of the more revealing moments from after the election, when one of Mr. Trump’s campaign surrogates, Scottie Nell Hughes, was asked to defend the clearly false statement by Mr. Trump that millions of votes had been cast illegally. She answered by explaining that everybody now had their own way of interpreting whether a fact was true or not.

这一点也许可以用来解释选举后的一个格外说明问题的瞬间。在特朗普宣称有数百万选民非法投票之后,其竞选代理人之一斯科蒂·内尔·休斯(Scottie Nell Hughes)被要求为这种显而易见的错误说法辩护。她解释说,每个人现在都自有其阐述什么是或不是事实的方式。

“There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts,” she declared. Among “a large part of the population” what Mr. Trump said was the truth.

“遗憾的是,事实这种东西已经不复存在了,”她宣布。在“很大一部分人”看来,特朗普说的就是事实。

“When he says that millions of people illegally voted,” she said, his supporters believe him — and “people believe they have facts to back that up.”

她说,“当他说有数百人非法投票时”,他的支持者相信他的话——而且“人们相信自己握有支撑这一说法的事实”。

Or as George Orwell said: “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” But Ms. Hughes’s comment was perhaps unintentionally insightful. Mr. Trump and company seem to be betting that much of the electorate will not care if the president tells demonstrable lies, and will pick and choose whatever “alternative facts” confirm their views.

也许正如乔治·奥威尔所说:“客观真理本身正淡出这个世界。谎言将被载入史册。”但休斯或许在无意间说出了发人深省的一番话。特朗普及其同伴似乎相信,很多选民不会在意总统是否说着显而易见的谎言,而是选择相信一切能证明他们的观点的“另类事实”。

The next few years will be a test of that thesis.

这一论点将在接下来的几年里经受检验。

In the meantime, we must recognize the magnitude of the challenge. If we want to restore respect for facts and break through the intellectual ghettos on both the right and left, the mainstream media will have to be aggressive without being hysterical and adversarial without being unduly oppositional.

与此同时,我们必须认清挑战的严峻性。如果想要重塑对事实的尊重,突破左右两派阵营中的智识贫民窟,主流媒体必须积极而不歇斯底里地行事,既要对抗,又不能过度对抗。

Perhaps just as important, it will be incumbent on conservative media outlets to push back as well. Conservatism should be a reality-based philosophy, and the movement will be better off if it recognizes that facts really do matter. There may be short-term advantages to running headlines about millions of illegal immigrants voting or secret United Nations plots to steal your guns, but the longer the right enables such fabrications, the weaker it will be in the long run. As uncomfortable as it may be, it will fall to the conservative media to police its worst actors.

或许同样重要的是,保守派媒体也有责任唱反调。保守主义应该是一种基于现实的哲学,如果能意识到事实真的很重要,保守主义运动的效果会更好。数百万非法移民参加投票或者联合国密谋偷走你的枪支之类的消息频频登上头条,或许可以带来短期的好处,但右派越是长时间地为这些谎言推波助澜,从长期看就会变得越虚弱。虽然这或许会让人觉得不舒服,但保守派媒体有责任监督自己阵营中最糟糕的参与者。

The conservative media ecosystem — like the rest of us — has to recognize how critical, but also how fragile, credibility is in the Orwellian age of Donald Trump.

保守派媒体生态系统——像我们其他人一样——必须意识到在唐纳德·特朗普的奥威尔时代,信誉有多重要,又有多脆弱。

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