Obama's 'Truth Decay' Comments On 60 Minutes Are Turning Heads

Over the last two weeks, America's electoral system has come under fire over accusations that the November 3 elections were neither free nor fair. The accusations didn't originate from impartial election observers, but from within the system itself — and more specifically from the White House, where Donald Trump has continued to claim that the elections that resulted in him losing the presidency "were rigged" — and even though both federal and state officials have said that this year's vote was the "most secure" in the nation's history (via VOA).

Ohio's Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is himself a Republican, has said, "There's a great human capacity for inventing things that aren't true about elections.The conspiracy theories and rumors and all those things run rampant. For some reason, elections breed that type of mythology" (via The New York Times). 

It shouldn't come as a surprise then, that a Politico poll shows that 70 percent of Republicans don't think the elections were fair; 78 percent believe mail-in voting led to fraud, and 72 percent believe ballots had been tampered with. Republicans were also distrustful of the result coming from swing states.

There is a 'truth gap' in society today: Obama

This data also reflects what former President Barack Obama considers to be a consequence of what he calls "truth decay." During his interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, Obama said: "We have gone through a presidency that disregarded a whole host of basic institutional norms, expectations we had for a president that had been observed by Republicans and Democrats previously. And maybe most importantly, and most disconcertingly, what we've seen is what some people call truth decay, something that's been accelerated by outgoing President Trump, the sense that not only do we not have to tell the truth, but the truth doesn't even matter."

He also blamed the current media gap for the truth deficit, saying: "The voters are divided. It has now become a contest where issues, facts, policies per se don't matter as much as identity and wanting to beat the other guy. You know, that's taken priority. I do think the current media environment adds to that greatly. This democracy doesn't work if we don't have an informed citizenry. This democracy doesn't work if we don't have responsible elected officials at other levels who are willing to call the president when he's not doing something right, call him on it."

Obama said: "I think we're gonna have to work with the media and with the tech companies to find ways to inform the public better about the issues and to– bolster the standards that ensure we can separate truth from fiction."