The irony of Bill Barr talking about truth as 'a meaningful concept'

If Barr really wants to have a conversation about who believes truth is "a meaningful concept," he may not like where this conversation ends up.
Image: US-POLITICS-JUSTICE-BARR
Attorney General William Barr speaks on Operation Legend, the federal law enforcement operation, during a press conference in Chicago on Sept. 9, 2020.Kamil Krzaczynski / AFP - Getty Images

A couple of weeks ago, Attorney General Bill Barr sat down with CNN's Wolf Blitzer and peddled some egregious falsehoods. Most notably, the Republican told a national television audience that the Justice Department "indicted someone in Texas -- 1,700 ballots collected from people who could vote, he made them out and voted for the person he wanted to. OK?"

As it turns out, no, it wasn't OK. There was no such indictment, and the Justice Department felt compelled to concede that Barr's story wasn't accurate.

It was against this backdrop that the increasingly unhinged attorney general delivered unsettling remarks this week, including this gem about American journalists.

"[T]hey don't care that they're not telling the truth, because they don't believe truth is a meaningful concept. It's about the pursuit of power. I'd be more tolerant of it if they were informed people, but they're not. In the old days, even the great liberal journalists were very educated, erudite people."

If the attorney general really wants to have a conversation about who's telling the truth, and who believes truth is "a meaningful concept," we can, though I don't think the Republican will like where this conversation ends up.

The New York Times' Charlie Savage recently pulled together a list of several incidents in which Barr peddled demonstrably false claims on matters ranging from arrests in Kansas City to the circumstances surrounding the ouster of federal officials, from lying about an FBI investigation to his wildly wrong rhetoric about the Mueller investigation, which a federal judge described as "distorted" and "misleading."

The Washington Post's JM Rieger today highlighted the "untrue or misleading statements" the attorney general has made since April, and it's not an especially short list. Most of the falsehoods relate to the elections, reinforcing concerns that Barr is more concerned with boosting Donald Trump's re-election prospects and less concerned with promoting the truth.

"[T]hey don't care that they're not telling the truth, because they don't believe truth is a meaningful concept. It's about the pursuit of power." Perhaps the president isn't the only one who turns to projection to make himself feel better.