Advocacy media outlets like MSNBC, ESPN, and the New York Times have lost credibility because of how they treat the political left and right when each side tries pushing a “big lie” on the American public.
When it comes to conservatives, they criticize and ridicule anyone who supports President Trump’s assertion that the 2020 election was stolen. He is not the first politician to claim he won an election long after his defeat. Stacey Abrams did the same after losing the 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia. In fact, several elected officials and celebrities publicly stated that she should be governor.
Trump’s legal team made claims about hacked voting machines that fell apart under scrutiny. They suffered a similar fate in multiple court cases that were filed after the election.
Liberal media outlets covered these events every step of the way and dutifully chastised any person who raised the slightest concerns — whether changes to state election law or social media censorship — about the election. They have shown a zero-tolerance policy for Trump’s “big lie.”
The left pushes different types of “big lies,” and this week alone has demonstrated its role in amplifying them.
The first lie is that sex differences between men and women are not real. Lia Thomas is a male swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania who competed as Will Thomas from 2018 to 2019. Thomas now identifies as a woman and has been allowed to compete on Penn’s women’s team. Several news outlets published stories about Thomas’ dominance in the pool, including details of him finishing 38 seconds ahead of the next closest competitor in the 1650 freestyle.
The left sees Thomas’ accomplishments as a symbol of progress. The same people who have spent over a year telling the public to “trust the science” when it comes to masks chooses to ignore the science when it comes to human anatomy. They also police the borders of acceptable speech with similar vigor. The creation of terms like “transphobic” is used to keep people who believe in the gender binary from expressing those views in public.
The second lie is that traditional standards of performance and achievement are rooted in white supremacy and must be upended solely to accommodate black people in America.
One example of that was the recent USA Today column that asked whether math — specifically math instruction — is racist. The headline generated a great deal of outrage, but the spirit behind it has been working its way through K-12 education for years. The elimination of entrance exams, gifted programs, ability tracking, homework, and grades have all been pushed by educators who claim to be advancing equity in the classroom.
One math curriculum funded by the Gates Foundation said that “white supremacy culture” shows up in the classroom when students are required to show their work and the focus is on getting the right answer. The specter of white supremacy hovering over a classroom is why many other school districts have eliminated classic texts from “old, dead white men.” Frederick Douglass, born into slavery and largely self-taught, studied the works of Cicero, but many of today’s educators believe black students need books about skin color and sexual preference to learn.
Politicians also help this lie spread. Kate Brown, the Democratic governor of Oregon, signed a bill earlier this year ending the requirement that high school seniors demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and math in order to graduate. As is often the case, this was done in order to help Oregon’s “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”
The third big media-supported lie is that American race relations in 2021 are no different than they were in 1921. That lie was fully exposed this week when Jussie Smollett was convicted on five of the six counts he faced for faking a hate crime in 2019. Smollett infamously claimed that he was attacked in Chicago by two white men at 2 a.m. who called him racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, put a noose around his neck, and told him he was in “MAGA country.”
The left immediately sprang into action. Robin Roberts interviewed an emotional Smollett and provided a platform for him to spread his lie. Multiple political figures, including the current president and vice president, called the incident a hate crime and attempted lynching. Hollywood celebrities chastised anyone who wanted to wait until more evidence emerged. That evidence showed Smollett was so desperate to be the victim of white racial hatred that he paid two Nigerian bodybuilding brothers to stage the crime.
Eventually the Chicago Police Department exposed Smollett’s tale and sought charges against him. Those charges were eventually dropped by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who faced intense backlash for appearing to give preferential treatment to the oppressed, marginalized actor. Charges were refiled in 2020, and a jury finally brought an end to this national psychodrama.
False claims about our election process matter, whether tales about rigged voting machines from the right or fear-mongering about the return of Jim Crow on the left. Anything that undermines confidence in our political system is dangerous for a country where the ties that bind the citizenry seem to be weakening every day.
It is more difficult to fully grasp the damage being done by the lies being promoted by ideologues in media, politics, big business, tech companies, professional sports, academia, and the arts.
One of Lia Thomas’ teammates told the website Outkick that when “the whole team is together, we have to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, go Lia, that’s great, you’re amazing.’ It’s very fake.”
What these young women are being forced to endure is shameful, as are the self-professed feminists in media and sports who refuse to speak up for them.
Being forced to smile in the face of a man as he takes what is rightfully yours is a soul-crushing act of humiliation that erodes one’s self-respect over time.
A similar loss of personal dignity also comes with accepting lower standards for yourself because of your skin color. Organizations that claim to care about the education of black students, such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), should be pushing back on any attempts to lower standards in the name of racial justice. Who would hire a person to build a bridge or design biomedical technology if they think one candidate has been subjected to a less rigorous course of study than his peers?
Jussie Smollett’s lie is a symptom of what I would describe as ethnic Munchausen syndrome. He, like many others who fake hate crimes, embellish tales of racial trauma, injury, or abuse, to draw attention, sympathy, and affirmation to themselves. This has a very unhealthy effect on the broader society, especially those who already believe America is a seething hotbed of bigotry against black people and anyone else other than straight, white, Christian men.
All of these lies are rooted in a perverse understanding of identity. All are encouraged by the cultural tastemakers. All erode human dignity. The first is an unwillingness to recognize biological sex differences. The second is a refusal to acknowledge human dignity and individual agency. The third is a stubborn inability to accept social progress.
Impossible standards in one case. No standards in another. Outdated standards in the third.
One lie that will unravel civilization. Another that undermines a culture. A third that will tear apart a country.
What we need today are brave, fearless people of every political stripe who refuse to say things they know are not true. That may come with a heavy cost, but the only thing that can defeat all of these big lies is a return to God’s truth.