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A History of Presidential Lies

Screen shot from live stream of Book Launch—Lying in State: Why Presidents Lie—And Why Trump Is Worse

If there’s one thing most people know about U.S. President Donald Trump, it’s that he lies. But as the celebrated journalist and author Eric Alterman argues in his new book, Lying in State: Why Presidents Lie—And Why Trump Is Worse, Trump is hardly the first commander-in-chief to spread untruths. More disturbingly, a closer look at the history of presidential dishonesty suggests a relationship between rising executive power on the one hand and the era of “alternative facts” on the other.

Recently, Open Society Vice President Leonard Benardo moderated a live-streamed discussion about the book between Alterman and Maya Wiley, a professor at The New School and former contributor to MSNBC. In addition to exploring the sadly rich history of presidential lying, Alterman and Wiley discuss how the U.S. media has facilitated this embrace of untruth, and what it would take to return to a politics of truth and facticity.

Watch the video above to learn more.

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