Editor's corner/ Over a cup of tea
Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the
Year for the State of
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Alternative Fact and Alternative Endings
By Heidi M. Pascual
I am equally bothered by the use of “alternative facts” in Congressional budget policy matters. An article by Harry Stein of
the Center for American Progress thoroughly discussed this issue, and Stein wrote:
“...it is particularly problematic for sound budget policy, which requires an honest evaluation of the cost of new legislation
and the nation’s overall fiscal health. Data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, is the main
bulwark against false budget information. But lawmakers can always choose to use misinformation instead of CBO data.
Moreover, if Congress follows through on its apparent plans to pass temporary tax and health measures, the resulting
fiscal ambiguity will also make CBO data more nebulous. A lack of clarity in CBO data makes it easier for dishonest
politicians to claim their fiscal falsehoods are actually just alternative facts.”
“Alternative facts” is now at another level, and it’s scary to think it might also be used regularly by different government
agencies as basis for policy directions that undermine citizens’ rights, the Constitution, our environment, and even
The repeal of Affordable Care Act would also be based on alternative facts, I am sure, the alternative of choosing
between benefiting health insurance companies or the masses of our people who couldn’t afford to be insured without
The continuing attack on subsidies to poor people, grants to nonprofits, programs for women’s rights and the like, also
falls under this acceptance of “alternative facts.” Who pays more taxes should benefit more could very well be the motto
of this new regime.
The phrase “alternative facts” stole the limelight recently when Kellyanne Conway, a counselor
to President Donald Trump, used it to defend White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s
statement regarding the attendance at the presidential inauguration as the “largest audience
to ever witness an inauguration,” an obviously false statement. This issue went viral and tons
of negative feedback filled social media outlets as well as regular media networks. I was
stunned all over again because we all know that the 2009 inauguration of President Barack
Obama drew a much bigger turnout. It was funny to even compare ridership figures in the DC
Metro between the inauguration of 2017 versus that of 2013 as basis for such assertion that
Trump’s inauguration had the “largest audience...”
Because the term “alternative facts” seems to now be accepted as truth by this new
administration if convenient and suits their purpose, I can surmise that the mere perception of
people of color, especially non-Christians and Muslims, as probable terrorists, falls under the
category. Accepting “alternative facts” gave way to Trump’s travel restrictions that a number of
federal judges understandably turned down.
I have seen “alternative endings” of DVD
movies, and it is always a pleasure to be
able to choose how the movies end. Most
times, I choose to have happy endings or
resolution of a big problem through
compromise with justice. The important thing
is, I have the choice.
As Americans, we have the choice, as we live
in a democracy. People are free to speak up
and air grievances. We can go to court to
sue, to our legislators to pen or amend laws,
to demonstrate and march if we want to, or to
change our leaders via election or other
lawful means. We have the right to be heard
and be recognized, regardless of our
economic status in our society.
It is your choice and mine to let our leaders
remain in power and rule our lives this way. It
is our choice to have an alternative ending. It
would be great to hear ourselves say in
unison, “You’re fired!”