"This is wild. The State Department's spokesman can't comprehend why the Associated Press feels the need to distinguish between a claim and a fact. And becomes visibly offended — and then angered — by the suggestion that his claims may require evidence to be accepted as credible."
The epistemological razor “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence” is generally attributed to Christopher Hitchens, who ironically has a rather significant history of failing to follow his own advice when it comes to claims made by western government agencies. But that’s precisely when it is most important to take Hitchens’s razor to heart: not when you’re arguing with someone about whether or not God exists, but when a very consequential claim is being made by the most powerful people on our planet.
Anything that’s been asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence. It’s true of arguments, it’s true of government claims, and it’s especially true of claims coming from governments that we know for a fact make false claims all the time.
What this means is that a simple “Nah” is all that’s required whenever you’re presented with these claims, or if you’re feeling particularly generous a “Provide proof, or it didn’t happen.” If anyone objects to your low-energy dismissal of their parroting claims by western governments, simply tell them that what has been put forward without evidence may be dismissed without evidence. They might want you to try to prove their position wrong, but that ain’t how the burden of proof works, buttercup.
Hitchens’s razor. It slices. It dices. It wins arguments. It keeps the news man from turning your brain into clam chowder. Use it, and use it often.