I knew from my time at FDH and on the campaign trail that Tunny had different definitions of “truth” and “lying” than most Camerians did. I viewed my press secretary position as an excellent opportunity to moderate the frequency of his lies. If I could do this, I would be doing a great service for all Camerians.
The Curse of Real-Time Fact-Checking
My boss was running me ragged trying to keep up with the brave new world of big data, mega statistics, and real-time fact-checking. Previous press secretaries had it so much easier! To be fair, most of my problems started because Tunny was seemingly incapable of telling the truth. Then he would get so defensive when anyone called him on his blatant exaggerations and outright lies. About halfway through my tenure in the Beige Palace, I gave up trying to defend the outrageous statements that came out of Tunny’s mouth. When I was asked about one statement or another, I usually just shrugged, rolled my eyes, and said something like, “You will just have to ask the Grand Poobah about that.”
Much as I like the guy, I am the first to admit, having worked closely with Tunny for fourteen years, that he is definitely what I would consider a pathological liar. He lies so often and so well that I think his line between truth and deception isn’t just blurred—it’s vaporized. Tunny’s reality is whatever he wants it to be, and the housefly of truth is an insect that he will swat with great conviction. He is such a competitive person that he needs to win all the time. To win all the time, he needs to be right all the time.
Here’s a brief sampling of statements made by very credible media outlets during Tunny’s first two years in office . . .
Within days of the inauguration, the highly respected BrightLights Times ran a pretty scathing editorial positing that Tunny had absolutely no regard for the sanctity of reality, truth, and fundamental science. “The Grand Poobah is a pathological liar,” the editorial said. “Let’s not go to great lengths to sugar coat it with terms like ‘false’ or ‘exaggerated.’ He speaks lies more often than not. He cannot be trusted to tell the truth.” Wow!
The HiOO Observer editorialized that “Grand Poobah Drump is, at best, a sociopathic exaggerator and at worst, an outright sociopathic liar. He grossly exaggerated or outright lied over 3,000 times during his first seventeen months in office. To make things worse, he likes to joke about it.”
The Hoama Gazette reported: “The Grand Poobah told 3,500+ outright lies during his first seventeen months in office. His rate of lying has been increasing dramatically over time. It’s not clear that the sheer volume of lies is going to decrease any time soon.”
Just two months after his inauguration, the Cohagic Post reprinted this quote from Grand Poobah Drump defending his wild claims: “’I’m Grand Poobah, and you’re not,’ he retorted when asked about the way he handles truth and fiction.”
In September of 2017, the Surfin’ Inquirer mentioned that “Drump has made 1,638 false or misleading statements over the past 243 days. He has averaged over five claims a day, even picking up his pace since the six-months-in-office mark.”
By June of 2018, the Hotlanta Bugle reported that “Drump made 3,742 false or misleading statements in his first 500 days in office. He made a record thirty-seven in a single day at his May 22 rally in Elvistown.”
The Wolverine Tribune was a little more conservative in their reporting that “Grand Poobah Drump made 110 false claims last week, setting a new one-week record for his time in office. His previous record for false statements in a week was 72, which he set in early April. By some counts, that brings Drump’s total to 1,937 false statements in the first 500 days of his tenure as Grand Poobah, an average of 3.9 per day. Other counts put the number of false or misleading claims well above 3,000.”
By July of 2018, the National Investigator reported that “Drump has made 4,277 false or misleading claims in the first 547 days of his administration—an average of 7.8 claims per day. In the last two months alone, Drump added 988 claims to the tally. During his first 100 days, Drump clocked in at an average of ‘only’ 4.7 false or misleading statements per day.”
In early 2019, the Larymand Toast Chief Truth Verifier, Ken Tesler, summed up the first twenty-three months of the Drump Administration by claiming that “by the end of 2018, Drump had racked up over 8,000 non-truths (outright lies, gross exaggerations, and deliberately misleading statements) since Inauguration Day in 2017. He accelerated his pace in 2018, averaging over sixteen non-truths a day, almost three times more than his rate in 2018. What’s in store for 2019?”
In January of 2019, two years into Drump’s term as Grand Poobah, the Los Verdes Post (the “LoPo”) tallied that Tunny had lied 8,227 times since Inauguration Day. He clocked in at 6.1 lies or misleading statements per day during his first year in office. He escalated to 16.9 per day in his second year—just about three times as many per day. By April of 2019, the LoPo calculated that Tunny was averaging over 25 false statements per day for the first three months of the year.
Some Entertaining Examples!
While it was pretty mind-blowing to see how much attention people were paying to the number of times that Tunny has made misleading statements, exaggerated greatly, or outright lied, I have to confess that it is also entertaining to look back at some of his most outrageous moments . . .
Right after Christmas in 2017, Tunny played croquet two days in a row after twerping, “It’s back to the office to Make My Country YUUUGE Again.” After some reporters saw him playing croquet the first day, a big moving truck was parked between the press cameras and Tunny on the second day to block the view of the Grand Poobah’s game play.
Six months into his term, Tunny claimed to have signed more bills than any other Grand Poobah in their first six months. Unfortunately, it was quickly reported that two recent Grand Poobahs had signed more bills. Even his hated predecessor, Grand Poobah Moblamah, had signed almost as many bills. The consensus was that Moblamah’s bills were far more significant and impactful, covering important issues like a substantial economic stimulus package, equal pay for women, tobacco industry regulation, and expanded national health insurance for children.
But Tunny had no qualms about comparing these to his signature first-six-month accomplishments, including bills to create a new one-dollar coin minted with Tunny’s image, limiting a woman’s right to control her own sexual health, sharply cutting aid to the poor, making FDH soft drinks the official soft drinks of the Beige Palace, and eliminating the words “tiny” and “small” from all government websites and publications.
In January of 2018, Tunny tried to make a big deal about how much he had accomplished during his first year in office. He talked in his usual superlative terms about what a YUUUGE, wonderful first year it had been, and how he was more successful and accomplished than almost any other Grand Poobah. For the myriad of fact-checking organizations, Tunny’s bold claims were like throwing red meat to a lion—they became very excited. The consensus was that Tunny’s first year in office had indeed been memorable, but not for the reasons he touted. Here is a quick consensus of the actual “best ever” accomplishments from Tunny’s first year in office:
• Most days away from the Beige Palace on vacation
• Most rounds of croquet played
• Least amount of legislation signed
• Lowest approval rating
• Most lies told (confirmed by fact-checking)
• Most Executive Team resignations
• Most criminal indictments of close confidants
In April of 2018, Tunny’s personal physician revealed that Tunny dictated a letter to him in 2015 describing candidate Grand Poobah’s health as “immortally fantastic.” “I did not write that letter,” the doctor said. “He rambled on, and I tried to write down what I could.” The letter stated that Tunny’s “core strength and physical fitness are beyond amazing. If he wins, Mr. Drump, I can claim without any reservation, will be the bestest and most-healthiest [sic] person ever to hold the office of Grand Poobah.” In reality, at six feet three inches and 238 pounds, Tunny was only two pounds away from being labeled “obese” based on the well-accepted BFAT standard. Over the next twelve months, Tunny gained six pounds, officially moving him into the territory of obesity. He was definitely packing on the cheeseburgers.
In September of 2018, I was pushed to make the false claim that Tunny won the Grand Poobah election with a “substantial majority” of 62 million votes. In reality, Tunny trailed in the popular vote by almost 3 million votes: 64.8 million voters cast their ballot for Jillary Glynnton. Even though this was the largest-ever popular vote loss by a winning candidate, I found it hard to believe that a person who won a Grand Poobah election felt so compelled to make it look like much more of a victory than it was.
At more lucid times when Tunny does acknowledge that he lost the popular vote, he tells anyone who will listen that three to four million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote. He claims, without any proof, that this significant voter fraud was why he lost the popular vote to Jillary Glynnton. The way Tunny laments about the election, you would imagine that he had lost!
Later, right before the 2018 mid-term elections, Tunny tried to articulate who these illegal voters might be. The most coherent description he provided mentioned unspecified people who had no legal right to vote. After voting once, they would change clothes in their cars and come back in to vote again. None of this made sense to me.
About a month after the inauguration, Tunny was quoted as saying, “I usually want to tell the truth. When I try hard enough, I can tell the truth. I just don’t try too often.” During the same interview, Tunny claimed once again to be “pretty excellent at guesstimating crowd sizes.” This is how he knew that the “wagon train” of immigrants traveling south to Cameria’s border with Adanac is “much more YUUUGER than people might believe.”
At a February 2015 fundraising event, Tunny boasted that he had fabricated facts about Camerian trade relations with Great Barrierland during a meeting with their Grand Poobah. Tunny had insisted that Cameria runs a trade deficit with Great Barrierland, without any insight into the truth of the statement. In reality, Cameria has a large trade surplus with Great Barrierland. In this case, Tunny’s lie served no purpose. The two countries were not negotiating any deals or treaties. Tunny just felt the need to mess with his counterpart. Such adult behavior!
In June of 2017, Tunny gave a speech to a large gathering of the Future Leaders of Cameria. The day after, he twerped that the head of the Future Leaders of Cameria called to thank him for “the best speech we have ever heard.” Many people were skeptical, because the speech was full of racist and nationalist comments. He also ranted about Jillary Glynnton and Grand Poobah Moblamah. Under pressure, I was ultimately forced to admit that while Tunny thought it was a great speech, no one from the Future Leaders of Cameria leadership had called to praise it.
As part of a September 2018 ceremony touting a huge $100 billion arms deal with Howdee Nabia, Tunny boasted that the deal would generate 500,000 high-paying jobs in Cameria. Next-day fact-checking by several media outlets pegged the number of new jobs likely to be created at less than 1,000. But up to 12,000 new jobs might be created in Howdee Nabia. That was another stressful day at the office for me.
Gross Exaggerations and Self-Delusion
During a rally in Cheeseland, Tunny continued to escalate the self-congratulations by calling himself the grandest Grand Poobah since Raynam Dekun. This was primarily based on his claims that he had done more in his first six months than any other Grand Poobah. He also thought that he had better hair than most other Grand Poobahs.
I started to wonder whether Tunny had been challenged by math in school. About a year into office, Tunny boasted that his first State of Cameria address had the most viewers ever. Unfortunately, I had to backtrack this statement when Greelson mentioned that the three previous Grand Poobahs all had higher viewership numbers for their first SOC speech.
This uproar reminded me of Tunny’s continued preoccupation with insisting that the crowd for his inauguration was significantly larger than the crowd for the inauguration of Grand Poobah Moblamah eight years earlier. The man was definitely into having as many adorers as possible, even if he had to perform a miracle to make it happen.
Right after the inauguration, MaryJan Whonwey, Tunny’s campaign manager and now a top counselor to the Grand Poobah, created quite a sensation when she said on Beat the Media that the Beige Palace was using “reality distortion” to report a crowd size far larger than in any other reports. I groaned when I heard mention of “reality distortion.” Based on how much Tunny likes to stray from the truth, I feared that reality distortion would become more and more popular in the Beige Palace and I would be the unfortunate one on the front lines trying to defend an endless list of shameless exaggerations and outright lies. This reminded me of one of my favorite games as a girl—whack-a-mole. I envisioned beating down one lie just as two more popped up.
Tunny felt compelled to make sure everyone knew that the crowd at his inauguration was significantly larger than the crowd at the first Moblamah inauguration. I had recommended that he not go there, because all aerial pictures of the two crowds showed a far more massive crowd for Moblamah. But Tunny was deep in denial, and even six to nine months later, he would randomly refer to his larger crowd size in the middle of an unrelated speech.
Tunny seemed oblivious to the damage that his pathological lying was doing to the reputation of Cameria. In August of 2018, Tunny gave a major speech to the primary gathering of the World Countries. After slamming the WC, Tunny went on to boast that his administration had had more successes than almost any other administration in history. World leaders were more aware of current events and Camerian history than Tunny expected. In an extremely rare sign of disrespect, the WC leaders laughed at Tunny. He later admitted that he was a little offended by the laughter, but he thought it had been a great speech—maybe one of the best ever given at the WC.
I was starting to feel a lot of pressure from the press. It was my job to try to make sense of some of the wilder things that Tunny had said. At the same time, I had to try to draw some separation between the two of us. I did not want the world to think that I personally believed in all (or even most) of the odd thoughts that swirled around in Tunny’s brain and often escaped through his mouth unfiltered. Here’s one of my twerps expressing some frustration regarding the fine line I had to walk:
In August of 2017, Tunny disinvited the World Champion Bronze City Terriers basketball team from visiting the Beige Palace after the team had already taken a vote and decided not to attend the ceremony at the Beige Palace. Another famous basketball player twerped that “being honored at the Beige Palace was very special until you took office.”
When asked during a Locks and Buddies interview how he would rate his time as Grand Poobah so far, Tunny first lamented about the Donkey Party’s inquisition into Aissurian assistance in the 2016 National Cartoon Debate. He then boasted that he would rate himself very highly. Here’s what he twerped later:
So much for thinking that I could be a force for good trying to moderate the rate of Tunny’s lying. I was a total failure! Both sides of the political divide seemed to be enabling Tunny’s lying in different ways. Half of the population was so tired of all the lies that they just didn’t care anymore. The other half of the population were the true Drump diehards who believed anything (and I mean anything!!!) that their exalted leader had to say.
I must say that Tunny’s demonstrated inability to tell the truth started to take a real toll on me. I started losing faith in Tunny and started to blame myself for being complicit in this sad state of truth-telling in Cameria. Most people saw me as an extension of Tunny. They couldn’t see inside my soul.
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