On July 4th, CNN posted a thinly-veiled dig at Trump, who they believe has been blocking the release of the facts about Russian interference in the 2016 election. They attributed a quotation to Abraham Lincoln, “Let the People know the facts, and the country will be safe.”
But as one Twitter User quickly pointed out, the quotation wasn’t quite right.
The actual quotation was “Let the People know the truth, and the country will be safe.”
This could have quite a different meaning. While facts are simple things—like what Trump had for breakfast—the word truth evokes universal truth. Lincoln was asking for people to know a deeper truth—the truth that “All men are created equal.”
The Federalist points out a similar issue with the swapping of the two words. “The conflation of “facts” and “truth” is perfect. Facts can be manipulated. Truth is much more difficult to attain,” wrote Mollie Hemingway “It might be factual that intelligence chiefs briefed President-elect Trump about a Russian dossier, for instance. But whether that fact is used to spin a Russian conspiracy hoax is where truthfulness is important.”
Maybe next time CNN will look twice before they misquote one of America’s most beloved presidents.