National Commentary

As a Nation, We Can No Longer Tolerate the GOP’s Lies

In a backhanded congratulations to the pro-Trump winners of the GOP primaries this Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee issued a statement assuring them that they will be inundated with the following questions between now and this November’s midterm elections:

Do you believe Donald Trump’s Big Lie and do you support his calls to still overturn the 2020 election?

Do you support an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest?

Do you support the current Republican plan that could end the guarantee of Social Security and Medicare and raise taxes on half of Americans?

Do you support making Donald Trump’s tax giveaways to billionaires permanent?

This editor will be eager to report the answers to these questions often during the course of this year’s important election campaigns.

Already, Republicans are not happy that news organizations are reminding readers where their party stands on abortions without exceptions and the racist “replacement theory” so enthusiastically promoted by the likes of Tucker Carlson of Fox News.

Just this week, the Associated Press, the Insider, the Rolling Stone, the New York Times and National Public Radio took heavy hits at the racist and sexist nature of the policies GOP candidates have committed to.

The Associated Press reported this: “Several mainstream Republican Senate candidates are drawing on the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory once confined to the far-right fringes of U.S. politics to court voters this campaign season, promoting the baseless notion that there is a plot to diminish the influence of white people in America.”

The Insider reported as follows: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said racism in all its forms is ‘abhorrent’ but sidestepped questions about his party’s association with the so-called replacement theory at his weekly press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday. McConnell was speaking just days after a white man shot and killed 10 people in a predominantly Black area of Buffalo, New York.”

The Rolling Stone wrote this: “Elise Stefanik is the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. She is a member of the party’s leadership, in other words, elevated last year by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. She’s also one of a growing contingent of conservatives who have brushed up against the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory, a white supremacist tenet holding that white people are being replaced by people of color and, politically speaking, that Democrats are deliberately trying to flood the U.S. with immigrants in order to gain an electoral advantage. The mass shooting in Buffalo on Saturday was inspired by the great replacement, but that didn’t keep Stefanik from continuing to push the idea that Democrats are trying to replace white people with people of color.”

The New York Times reported this: “Yet in recent months, versions of the same ideas, sanded down and shorn of explicitly anti-Black and antisemitic themes, have become commonplace in the Republican Party — spoken aloud at congressional hearings, echoed in Republican campaign advertisements and embraced by a growing array of right-wing candidates and media personalities.”

National Public Radio said this: “The ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory isn’t fringe anymore, it’s mainstream.”

Indeed, this shows a promising trend, that news organizations are becoming more and more likely to tell the public what this racist, sexist stuff really represents. Much more of that is required to ensure the public isn’t duped and subjected to more big lies going into this November.

After all, responsible reporting requires that truth enters into the equation in a central way. It is not just a question of repeating what liars say. It is necessary that falsehoods be called out and actual realities set in their place.

Having the media, or the Internet, be a passive receptor of lies has been the biggest problem the nation has had at least since 2015. There are always people lying and deceiving, but it has been the historic role of the media to monitor and report lies and deceptions as such and not to condone them to stand unchallenged.

There is no question but that free societies have been targets of the worst forms of lying and fakery by their enemies, strategic and otherwise, in a relentless assault.

We all can no longer abdicate our responsibility.