Considering the assault on facts that began on day one of the Trump presidency, it's kind of amazing that it has taken this long for some news networks to feel the need to make the case for facts.
But that's what CNN did recently when it released a buzzy 30-second spot that attempted to analogize the current political news climate using attractive fresh produce:
Of course, CNN is avoiding its own culpability for that climate, which Twitter immediately pointed out for the network:
CNN then invites banana truthers on-air to explain why they call it a banana.
They give the banana people and the apple people equal airtime https://t.co/Vi7D4rQR1U
— 🇳🇬 (@shOoObz) October 23, 2017
But still, it's a solid point that Trump White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway promptly illustrated by praising this parody of the CNN ad as “brilliant”:
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) October 25, 2017
No, it's not. That is not a baby, it is a fetus, and Conway's insistence to the contrary is at the heart of this administration's assault on the truth. Not only is that not a baby, it is also not something that anyone would refer to as a “clump of cells,” which is the anti-choice movement's favorite straw man argument.
In fact, I'd wager anti-choicers would rather you didn't know where that term originated. According to Nexis, the first such news reference was about the ethical debate over the artificial creation of embryos, something pretty much everyone likes now. In vitro fertilization involves the storage and/or destruction of loads of embryos.
The “debate” over “life” is a great example of where facts are often completely swamped by emotions, and not just by anti-choicers. I remember a few years ago, Melissa Harris-Perry spoke on the air about the complex way that people view fetuses in a very challenging way:
So, yes, even to a figure reviled by anti-choicers, a fetus can “feel” like a baby. I know mine did. But as she also points out, it's a complex emotional and moral issue, not a factual or legal one. A fetus is not a baby or a “clump of cells.” It is a fetus. That's just a fact. It doesn't automatically “win” a moral debate or even every legal debate, but it is a fact.
Conway's failure to recognize facts in favor of something she feels to be true is illustrative of the entire Trump administration's relationship with the truth, vividly manifested last week by Trump's insistence that he did not tell a war widow that her late husband knew what he signed up for, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's 20 lies in defense of Trump, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders's explicit defense of Kelly on the grounds that his lies felt true.
Feelings aren't facts. Unfortunately, they are often more important in politics than facts, a maxim that Democrats need to remember in 2018 and get both the feelings and the facts on their side.
Watch Melissa Harris-Perry's intro to the segment below.