An American Editor

September 25, 2016

On Politics: Do Facts Matter?

When editors discuss editing — whether among themselves or with clients — it is pretty clear that facts are important. If an author were to write that Columbus sailed the ocean for the Americas in 1692, I’m willing to bet that the manuscript’s editor would note that factual error. Getting facts right is one of the pillars supporting the concept of consistency in editing.

Alas, as we all know an editor’s penchant for fact accuracy does not seem to be a cornerstone of politics and this year’s presidential campaign may be the worst example of factual honesty thanks to Donald Trump. I doubt Pinocchio’s nose could grow long enough to envelope all his falsities.

With the first debate quickly approaching (Monday, September 26, 2016 at 9:00 PM EST), the question of facts in politics takes a front seat. An excellent opinion essay  on the issue of whether facts matter, see

Facts Matter

by Barbra Streisand at The Huffington Post. And when it comes to corruption, Trump is no slouch, as noted in this opinion piece by Paul Waldman in The Washington Post:

Trump’s history of corruption is mind-boggling. So why is Clinton supposedly the corrupt one?

I find it odd that facts matter to editors and authors in their daily work but that some are willing to set aside the requirement for facts when choosing the president of the United States. Perhaps the presidential debates will demonstrate why we should be supporting and voting for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

For me there is one overriding fact that supports my decision to support and vote for Hillary Clinton: I am confident that with Hillary Clinton as president there will still be an America for grandchildren 4 (or 8) years from now. I have no confidence that will be true should Trump be elected.

And if I were younger, a second fact that supports my decision is the economic harm that Trumpism promises to bring to America with his isolationism, and which I discussed  in On Politics: Freelancing in a Trumpian World.

Just as facts matter in editing, they matter in politics — especially when electing a president of the United States.

Richard Adin, An American Editor


  1. I agree. Facts matter and we need to look closely at all of our presidential candidates, including Stein and Johnson.


    Comment by hessekedits — September 25, 2016 @ 10:39 am | Reply

    • Two observations regarding the candidacies of Stein and Johnson: First, they’re both third-party candidates who are polling at 2%and 9% of the electorate, so they are not viable candidates. The fact — and this is a discussion on facts — is that either Clinton or Trump will be president — no one else. Second, the more I look at Stein and Johnson, the more relieved I am that they are not viable candidates.


      Comment by Teresa Barensfeld — September 25, 2016 @ 2:32 pm | Reply

  2. Another point for editors and writers who are freelancers, self-employed, or consultants (in other words, independent contractors) is that with a Clinton presidency, health insurance reform (the PPACA) will continue; under Trump, it will be obliterated and it will be replaced by something that will screw us. Or not replaced by anything, which again would totally screw us. While the ACA is not perfect, it is a huge step in the right direction for anyone who has to provide their own and their family’s insurance. As independent contractors, it would be foolish of us to vote against our own best interests here.


    Comment by Teresa Barensfeld — September 25, 2016 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

    • Teresa: I agree with your sentiments utterly! My concern over the possibility of Trump being elected is piercing enough that I have paid off all my outstanding debts over the past 7 months, and have set aside an emergency fund that is making small quarterly gains.

      After freelancing fulltime for the past 20+ years, I’m very aware of how my world works when the economy is more stable, or growing. The past 3-4 years have been solid enough that people have the money to spend on personal adventures oft-viewed as ‘luxurious’, like hiring an editor.

      Although I am now old enough to access Medicare, the only health care support that’s proven worthwhile is my ACA coverage, which has been very affordable. I knew people on Medicare pre-ACA who could barely make their supplement insurance payments — it was food or insurance, and food usually won out.

      On Trump as leader of this wonderful country, I can only ask why would anyone want a classic bully mentality to hold such power? I’ve seen his type all my life in positions of power, men who abuse those positions, refuse to grow, refuse to embrace change, refuse to acknowledge the wisdom of others. They are the socially inept and psychologically stunted louts who smile widest when they look in a mirror.

      And as Richard notes about facts, Trump and his kind have no need of actual facts, backed by research or deep consideration of all sides and worldwide impact. Nope — they have their own ‘facts’ — and they change them as needed to fit whatever rationale is the soup of the day.

      Thank you, Richard, for speaking out — and up — always enjoy your posts.
      Maria D’Marco/TigerXGlobal


      Comment by TigerXGlobal (@TigerXGlobal) — September 26, 2016 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  3. As an editor working in Australia and regular reader of your columns, it just seems mind-boggling that Donald Trump is actually a candidate in the US Presidential election, let alone someone with a viable prospect of winning. What is happening to your nation that a good proportion of the population is considering voting for someone who has made a career out of telling readily-identifiable lies?


    Comment by pdriches — September 26, 2016 @ 10:56 pm | Reply

    • To the Australian editor — I am asking myself the same question all the time! I really don’t get it. I didn’t agree with the Republican candidates in the past several elections, but I thought they were basically decent people. They had views and policies that I disagreed with, and I thought those policies, if enacted, would not be good for the country, but I didn’t think they’d destroy our republic if they were elected, as I think a Trump presidency would do. I can only compare his candidacy it to Goldwater in 1964 (I’m sure there were worse, but I’m confining my observations to elections during my lifetime). I was just a kid then, but I well remember how (most sane) people were similarly shocked that Goldwater got the GOP nomination, especially when a moderate Republican, Nelson Rockefeller, was also in the running for that nomination. Luckily Goldwater was defeated by Johnson in a landslide.


      Comment by Teresa Barensfeld — September 29, 2016 @ 10:57 am | Reply

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