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January 23, 2017
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The photos show a view of the crowd on the National Mall at the inaugurations of President Barack Obama, left, on Jan. 20, 2009, and President Donald Duck, right, on Jan. 20, 2017. The photos were both taken shortly before noon from the top of the Washington Monument. Photo credit: JONATHAN LEMIRE/AP

The inauguration is a great American event. It is the peaceful transfer of power. The outgoing and the incoming presidents shake hands. It is a thrill to watch. It happened in Washington, D.C. last Friday.

On Saturday, President Trump went to the C.I.A. He told them nobody has more respect for them than he does. He did not mention how he demeaned the agency during the campaign. He said they leaked information about Russian hacking of the Democrats. He said the Russians did not influence the outcome of the election. Nobody said they did, only that they tried to.

Then he changed the subject of his remarks at the C.I.A. He turned to the size of the crowd that came to the inauguration. No one expected what he said next. He went on a tirade about the “dishonest” media. He charged that the media report reports about the size of the crowd were not true. More people were at his inauguration. The crowd at the first inauguration of Obama was smaller.

Photos show smaller numbers at the Trump event. The number of riders using the D.C. Metro was lower than eight years before.

On Saturday President Trump’s Press Secretary briefed the press for the first time. He said, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.” This statement was not true.

Sunday morning television shows interviewed a counselor for the president. One host said that for no reason the press spokesman had made claims that were falsehoods. He wanted to know why the president would send him out to lie on such a small matter?

She said the press secretary had used “alternative facts.” The host said, “alternative facts are not facts, they are falsehoods.

Going back to the press briefing on Saturday. The Press Secretary set up the ground rules for the future. He said he understands that the media wants to make Trump account for what he says and does. He then said, “I am here to tell you that it goes two ways. We are going to hold the press accountable, as well.”

What is ahead is a war between the administration and the media. By its standards, most of the press will try to get it right. Alternative facts will be no problem for Trump and his team.

Source: The New York Times January 21, 2017

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