Skip to main content

Book Launch—Lying in State: Why Presidents Lie—And Why Trump Is Worse

A History of Presidential Lies


If there’s one thing we know about Donald Trump, it’s that he lies. But he’s by no means the first president to do so. In Lying in State, Eric Alterman asks how we ended up with such a pathologically dishonest commander in chief, showing that, from early on, the United States has persistently expanded its power and hegemony on the basis of presidential lies.

Alterman also reveals the cumulative effect of this deception and how, together with the recent radicalization of the Republican Party and the failure of the media to clearly distinguish between politicians who lie and those who do not, it has led us into a world in which political misinformation and disinformation have become the rule, rather than the exception. Donald Trump, then, represents not an aberration but the culmination of an age-old trend.

In this conversation, moderated by Open Society Vice President Leonard Benardo, American civil rights activist Maya Wiley and Alterman will discuss the book, the rich history of presidential dishonesty, and how we arrived at our current age of alternative facts.

Please bring a glass to toast the publication of Lying in State with us.


  • Eric Alterman


    Eric Alterman, distinguished professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York and The Liberal Media columnist for the Nation, is the author of 11 books, including the New York Times national bestseller, What Liberal Media? The Truth about Bias and the News.

  • Leonard Benardo


    Leonard Benardo is vice president of the Open Society Foundations.

  • Maya Wiley


    Maya Wiley is a university professor at The New School, a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, and a frequent contributor to news outlets including Time magazine, the Guardian, and

Read more

Subscribe to updates about upcoming Open Society events