The fact-checkers are out in force ahead of the third and final presidential debate tomorrow night, but with at least one major party candidate untethered to the truth, another entry in the reality-based roster is always welcome.
App designer and freelance creative director Peter Cortez has created his own method of displaying Donald Trump’s falsehoods – a website made in collaboration with production company 14Four composed entirely of a cartoon Trump with a nose as long as his hands are small. His ever-growing schnozz is festooned with quotes from the GOP candidate and their corrections, pulled directly from PolitiFact.
In 2008, as an art director at SS+K, Cortez worked on Voteforchange.com, Barack Obama’s voter registration initiative aimed at young, first-time voters. "It felt great to combine my craft and my career with something I felt passionately about," he said. "I wanted to use my skills to do something similar, encouraging the undecided voter to register and vote this year." (Aside from an email contact, a link to Rock the Vote is the only other content on the site.)
Unlike most other fact-checkers, particularly those affiliated with news organizations, Liar Liar Trump On Fire doesn’t purport to be nonpartisan or objective. Its stated goal is to convince people not to vote for Trump, and it minces no words. The first "fact" displayed on the site is "Donald Trump is a racist, misogynist, and xenophobe." It’s a passion project for Cortez, a self-described "Mexican-American Jew" – the son of a Jewish mother and Mexican father.
"I wish I could say it was one specific lie," Cortez said, trying to pinpoint the catalyst for the site, "but it was more when all the lies started to add up, and the fact that lying just comes so easy to him. It became too much."
To help promote the site, post-production company PS260 created a 15-second video featuring some of Trump’s most blatant falsehoods. Joining in the pro-bono effort was a simple decision, said Zarina Mak, managing partner at PS260. "When supporters for one candidate are calling for a repeal of the 19th Amendment in defense of a sexual predator who’s running for the highest office of our nation, it was an easy, swift and resounding ‘Yes!’ to the call for help from Peter," she said. (Trump has not been convicted of any sexual or assault related crimes, but a string of allegations appeared last week.)
Over the next three-and-a-half weeks (and tomorrow’s nationally televised 90 minutes), there will surely be more statements that require extreme vetting, and Cortez plans to add the most recent assertions – and an even longer nose. "It actually would be awesome if we didn’t need to update the site anymore because Trump stops lying," he said, "but we’re not holding our breath."