ECOMONY/HUD/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: "When Donald J. Trump swore the presidential oath on Friday, he assumed responsibility not only for the levers of government but also for one of the United States’ most valuable assets, battered though it may be: its credibility.
The country’s sentimental reverence for truth and its jealously guarded press freedoms, while never perfect, have been as important to its global standing as the strength of its military and the reliability of its currency. It’s the bedrock of that 'American exceptionalism' we’ve heard so much about for so long.
Disinformation was for dictatorships, banana republics and failed states.
Yet there it was on Saturday, emanating from the lectern of the White House briefing room — the official microphone of the United States — as Mr. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, used his first appearance there to put forth easily debunked statistics that questioned the news media’s reporting on the size of the president’s inaugural audience (of all things)."
– “‘Alternative Facts’ and the Costs of Trump-Branded Reality,” The New York Times online, Jan. 22, 2017, Jim Rutenburg, 1/22/2017