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Lies, Damn Lies & the Rumor Mill

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

As we approach the 2020 election, it’s sad that much of the energy will be focused on fighting rumors and false claims that are generated by a variety of sources.

For the party that shouts “Fake News” at any unfavorable coverage, Republicans have been the ones to spread false, outlandish and downright offensive stories about Democrats. From the birther issue to Pizzagate to open borders, there is no issue that the right won’t seek to exploit with false narratives.

So, let’s take a moment to compare fact to fiction.

Facts: It’s hard to tell when this rumor began, but its origins can definitely be traced to the NRA as a means of juicing up the anger of the right wing to oppose any candidate they don’t support. Despite so many mass casualty shootings in America, the NRA and its acolytes continue to stubbornly make this baseless claim. While Democrats support stronger gun control measures, there has been no blanket call to ban all guns except by Donald Trump. He quickly backed down from this position after meeting with representatives from the NRA.

Despite this, the right continues to push this distortion of the truth.

Claim: Democrats want open borders.

Facts: This is all tied to his promise to build a wall to halt illegal immigration through Mexico. The facts are, however, that 75 percent of illegal immigrants enter the country legally, but overstay their visas. No wall can prevent this from happening.

So, what about open borders? This is another fallacy spread by the right. Instead, Democrats have sought to work with Republicans on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which would provide asylum to those who legally need it, as well as offer a solution to those who came into the U.S. illegally, but were too young to make the choice themselves.

Claim: The press is “the enemy of the people.

Facts: It’s no secret that this administration has an adversarial relationship with the press. Sadly, it has become the norm to call any criticism “Fake News”. Certainly there is some bias among the various news outlets, but the cry against fair reporting in favor of those who speak favorably of administration efforts has reached a fever pitch, even to the point of a network journalists being temporarily banned from covering the White House for questioning administration policies. Instead, presidential decisions are being made based on the advice and viewpoint of a news organization that continually praises Trump and his actions.

There are so many more examples of the right, particularly the group that forms the base of support for President Trump, relying on rumor and innuendo to formulate its opinions and actions. That’s what makes factual reporting of information so important.

As a popular television show once said, “the truth is out there”.

CJ Waldron is a retired English teacher from upstate New York. An adjunct instructor at Horry Georgetown Technical College, he lives in Conway, SC with his wife, Donna.

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