TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA — Citing several recent lies they’re calling “tremendous and breathtaking,” the people behind PolitiFact announced that their fact-checking machine’s needle has reached a point of critical mass. PolitiFact Chief Fact Checker Susan Williamson told reporters during a quarterly conference call with the press that in less than a month, the Trump Administration has told so many “massive whoppers of tremendous mendacity” that the needle which indicates where on their truthfulness scale a statement lies is coming loose and even fracturing.
“You see,” Williamson explained, “the needle has just been pegged to Pants on Fire so hard for so long that it’s starting to break the needle itself. It’s like if you take a pencil and hold it forcefully against the edge of your desk. Eventually, the dang thing just snaps.”
Lying about the “landslide” nature of his Electoral College win helped Trump push the needle “as far right as its ever been,” Williamson said while pointing to the historical record which indicates Trump’s margin of victory last year was actually just the 46th largest margin. There have been 48 elections, which means that Trump’s Electoral College victory was only larger than two others, or just 5% of the contests in total.
“The fact that the sub-president can’t stop talking about those millions of illegal votes is also threatening to break our needle,” Ms. Willamson said, “and it’s sort of like when you build a dam out of paper towels. At some point, if you keep shooting it with water guns, you’re gonna poke a damn hole in the dam!”
Every time Trump tweets about or mentions historically high crime or murder rates, Williamson said the PolitiFact needle grows “dangerously close” to total failure.
“There’s just only so much abuse that needle can take,” Ms. Williamson said, desperation in her voice, “and when you have the so-called leader of the free world blasting out easily debunked crime statistics, or trying to pass off a small, temporary spike in crime as a long-term, permanent trend, well our needle just wasn’t built for bullshit like this, frankly. And it’s built for some pretty serious bullshit.”
It was Trump’s senior policy adviser’s appearance on Sunday talk shows last weekend that really pushed thinks to their brink, according to Williamson. When Stephen Miller went on four different shows and “spewed the same hot garbage about illegal votes in New Hampshire,” she said, he pushed the PolitiFact needle to its furthest point possible.
“Our flux capacitor is really fluxing,” Williamson said, “which means it’s just a matter of time before it reaches the thermal exhaust port, just below the main port. It’s only two meters wide, and ray shielded, but it cannot repel lies of this magnitude. Not forever.”
Ultimately, Williamson says the needle in precarious footing and the very next lie from Trump or one of his people could result in it breaking. Just how badly it will break will depend on many factors.
“The bottom line is that the next time he takes credit for jobs that he had nothing to do with,” Williamson warned, “or the next time he swears up and down that millions of people voted illegally, it could be the big one. It could be the last lie that our needle encounters. The shrapnel would be gnarly. Just completely gnarly. We hope for our sake, and the sake of the planet, that the Trump team finds some way to at least try to tell the truth even once in a while.”
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.