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I have a bone, a small one to be sure, to pick with Nicholas Levis’s piece “Empire of Fraud, Made in America.” But first a thank you to Levis for the nice shout out.
In accurately dissecting the awful conduct of the Trumps, white collar criminals who grew richer by cheating our government while using their many mob connections, Levis is spot on.
But when Levis asserts that “the corporate media” were fully complicit he goes too far, writing that the commercial news organizations “did not take up the investigative research published by the likes of David Cay Johnston, Wayne Barrett, and several others starting already in the 1980s.”
In fact many of my stories ran on the top of the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer, then part of the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain. Its editor, Gene Roberts, encouraged my work as did the other senior editors.
So, to be fair as well as accurate, Levis should have said something like “with a few exceptions.” Monoliths are exceedingly rare, but on the whole Levis is right that the fake news Trump put out got far more attention than the hard realities.
Levis asserts that “recently” Trump has become a billionaire. No evidence supports that, as I have written and said in broadcasts many times and as I revealed in 1990.
Candidate Trump insisted he was worth more than $10 billion, but his disclosure when he became president showed $1.4 billion. Wow, about $9 billion just went poof in ten weeks. That’s because those billions never existed except as a Trumpian lie/delusion. Replace Trump’s inflated asset values with realistic ones and consider the debt that federal law does not require him to disclose and he’s not even within striking range of three commas. Please don’t buy into the nonsense that Trump is now a billionaire. Not a scintilla of verifiable evidence supports that.
David Cay Johnston’s most recent book is It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America.