Jay Rosen, journalism professor at NYU and blogger for PressThink, wrote a fantastic piece about the rise of “make our own reality” politics (starting in the W. Bush White House and largely but not exclusively on the Right) and the war on objective reality as represented by Facts, devoid of spin.
This is what set the stage for the Trump candidacy and explains why he is dismissive - no, derisive - of reportable, objective facts. His intent is to replace reality with a consistent, constructed story that rings the bells for his supporters:
Stanley made the point that fact checking Trump in a way missed the point. Trump was not trying to make reference to reality in what he said to win votes. He was trying to substitute “his” reality for the one depicted in news reports.
Jay explains that Trump’s (and other totalitarian leaders) communication style is all about power: the power to define reality for his supporters (and by extension, everyone else, by simply refusing to acknowledge any facts outside the preferred narrative):
The goal of totalitarian propaganda is to sketch out a consistent system that is simple to grasp, one that both constructs and simultaneously provides an explanation for grievances against various out-groups. It is openly intended to distort reality, partly as an expression of the leader’s power.
He goes on:
Trump’s campaign was “openly intended to distort reality” because that is a show of power. Power over his followers. Over the other candidates he humiliated and drove from the race. Over party officials who tried to bring him to heel. And over the journalists who tried to “check” and question him.
This is the closest I’ve ever been authoritarianism and totalitarianism in my lifetime, and it’s terrifying.