The Fourth Estate is under constant attack by the president, and his right-wing minions. This attack is so relentless, pervasive … and successful, that many people who should know better, believe that the conventional news media deals in lies and distortions, and instead rely on their Facebook friends, and right-wing propaganda outlets for "the truth." The Oval Office being one of the worst offenders in dishing out lies and distortions ("alternative facts"), is by many people considered more reliable than the media.

This is truly frightening development. While the mainstream media is far from perfect, they generally try to do the best job possible, with one glaring exception that deals in deeply biased reporting. I won't name names here, but it is not The New York Times or The Billings Gazette, or the alphabet soup networks. This is resulting in deep divisions within our society, the deepest since the Civil War. A recent count showed an average of five lies a day coming directly from the president — entirely believable (the statistic, not the lies).

If I've learned one thing, it's how to tell when Trump is lying: His lips move. Otherwise intelligent people are falling for these lies hook, line and sinker, some so outrageous as to be laughable.

The singer/songwriter Jackson Browne wrote these prescient lines back in 1974, in the song “Farther On:”“There's a world of illusion and fantasy in the place where the real world belongs … ”

How true those words ring today. Some folks seem to have been immunized against truth.

Howard Wilkinson

Melville

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