These past few weeks have witnessed the creation of a non-true fact: Ben Carson wasted taxpayer money on a lavish dining room set. It will be “true” until the end of time as it has now been officially adopted as an aside in The New Yorker.
This is an article about Stormy Daniels, so it doesn’t matter that a lie is told about the dining room set. It’s not one of the facts that is checked. No, it is far more powerful than facts. The press uses facts to cut and paste together a piece. Facts come and go. Facts are ephemeral. This is now something the press knows . And that’s the deadly shit.
The Trump White House appears to function much like the Trump Organization, in terms of the blurring of lines. Recent weeks have brought a compendium of stories about Cabinet members treating public money as a personal privilege—thirty thousand dollars for Ben Carson’s office dining set, forty thousand for Scott Pruitt’s soundproof phone booth, a million for Steven Mnuchin’s military flights.
Contrarian Slate is willing to buck the press narrative by interviewing an interior designer who helps furnish offices :
It’s a sideboard, a lowboard, eight chairs [plus two armchairs. —ed.]—there’s a whole bunch of stuff there, and when you start to break it down by piece the cost goes down a lot. It’s not, like, this one gold-plated table. How many people work in HUD? It’s huge. It’s not at all surprising that an executive would have a suite with a table where he might have lunch or an informal meeting, that would be very typical of a corporate office suite. All of those pieces would be quite typical in any office suite.
But the narrative will win. Google “Ben Carson’s dining room” if you doubt me. Al Gore claimed to invent the internet, didn’t you know?