The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Something very troubling has been happening over the last few years—facts and objective reality no longer seem to matter if they clash will one or more well-established narratives. Let's take a look at a few of those narratives:
  • The first, espoused by radical feminists and promulgated by their media supporters, makes the claim that men are predators and that 1 in 5 college women are victims of sexual assault. 
  • A second, pushed by race-baiting opportunists and promulgated by their media supporters, is that police systematically murder black men and are representative of a broadly racist society. 
  • A third, promoted by a wide array of leftist activists, focuses on victimization—people with specific identities, normally associated with the color of their skin or their gender, are continually victimized by white male dominated society.
  • And finally, a corollary to the third narrative, again promoted by many on the left, suggests that white "privilege" is the dominant reason that some people of color struggle to make their way in life.
Each of these narratives can be refuted with facts, with hard evidence, with copious counter-examples, and with common sense, but any attempt to do so results in demonization of those who try to get to the truth.

In an excellent analysis of this phenomenon, Ross Kaminsky considers three recent cases that have gained national attention:
  • the largely unsubstantiated claim by a young women that she was gang-raped at a University of Virginia fraternity house, reported unquestioningly and without verification by Rolling Stone.
  • The highly questionable claim by actress/writer/director Lena Dunham that she was raped 10 years ago by a "campus Republican," published without fact checking by Random Hose.
  • The canard that a police officer in Ferguson, MO shot and killed a black man who had his hands raised in compliance, reported by virtually all of the main stream media.
In every instance, activists suggest that the details don't matter, that even if the claims are false, they highlight bigger issues (see the "narratives" noted earlier). As a consequence, any attempt at investigation and any delineation of facts that might disprove the original claim or more broadly, bring the entire narrative into question, are attacked viciously. The truth? Who cares?

Kaminsky comments:
With UVA and Dunham and Brown [the Ferguson case], it is depressingly easy to find shrill voices arguing that the truth is secondary to the importance of their cause.

But it’s not.

Lies are not harmless.

These lies are not harmless.

Lives are turned upside down. People [innocent, but accused of vicious crimes] stand to lose far more than Facebook “friends”; they stand to lose their futures, their ability to get jobs, their families, their reputations for the rest of their lives.

Institutions from fraternities to universities to police departments are thrown into chaos searching for a solution to a problem that does not exist to the extent the shrill voices claim — and seem to hope for in order to stay relevant. People, including our children, are being taught to mistrust others based on superficial characteristics such as gender or a uniform, a standard that in other situations the same voices would decry with great fanfare and indignation as “profiling.”
But activists are desperate to "stay relevant," and if lies help them do that ... so be it.

If it was only activists, it might be possible to dismiss all of this as a disturbing but transient phenomenon, but lies have wormed their way into the highest level of government in ways that are both unprecedented and shocking. Consider that lies were used to protect the current administration from its many scandals and to push through the healthcare law despite all of its obvious flaws. It's not even that national leaders lied, so much as the outright arrogance of those who lied—in your face, steely-eyed, unapologetic, and unrepentant when the lie comes to light.

Activists and their media supporters watch and observe as the administration that they championed lies and succeeds. They learn that it's okay to lie, if lying is done in support of the narrative. No apologies when innocent people are hurt by the lies, only their blind arrogance that the cause is just.

UPDATE (12-14-14):

Jeff Jacoby discusses the UVA rape case and the media's new goal of placing the "narrative" ahead of the facts:
Well, if the “narrative” is what matters most, checking the facts too closely can indeed be a huge mistake. Because facts, those stubborn things, have a tendency to undermine cherished narratives — particularly narratives grounded in emotionalism, memory, or ideology.

It’s a temptation to which journalists have always been susceptible. In the 1930s, to mention one notorious example, Walter Duranty recycled Soviet propaganda, assuring his New York Times readers that no mass murders were occurring under Stalin’s humane and enlightened rule. Duranty is reviled today. But the willingness to subordinate a passion for accuracy to a supposedly higher passion for “justice” (or “equality” or “fairness” or “diversity” or “peace” or “the environment”) persists.

Has the time come to give up on the ideal of objective, unbiased journalism? Would media bias openly acknowledged be an improvement over news media that only pretend not to take sides?

This much is clear: The public isn’t deceived. Trust in the media has been drifting downward for years. According to Gallup, Americans’ confidence that news is being reported “fully, accurately, and fairly” reached an all-time low this year. Would you be astonished to see that number sink even further next year? Me neither.
Over the past decade, the MSM has become a propaganda tool that pushes a collection of narratives that parrot their left-leaning biases. If you read it in the newspaper (the NYT comes immediately to mind) or watch it on any of the alphabet networks (CNN, ABC, NBC or CBS come to mind), be skeptical, very skeptical.