June 25, 2022

The truth never had a chance

Information coming out of the January 6 Committee hearings is stunning, even for those who follow politics closely. The evidence and number of witnesses who dispute the claims of a stolen 2020 election is beyond anything I had expected.

I wasn’t sure how interested Americans would be in the hearings, so I was surprised that 20 million people viewed the first one held in prime time. And that number hardly represents all the social and media outlets that redirected the news to millions more. Interest in subsequent hearings has been just as strong.

I believe people sincerely want to learn the truth – about everything. I also believe most journalists and most media outlets strive to tell them the truth. There are exceptions, of course, so we must be committed to always seek the truth for ourselves. We should never rely on a single source of information. This is a nation where freedom of the press is one of the most important tenets of the Constitution; when we see evidence of it being abused, we should protest with everything we’ve got.

The other day I heard a journalist say how difficult it is for them to get ahead of misinformation that has preceded their news stories. Instead of being able to report the news as it occurs, journalists often have to counteract the “fake news” already out there. The journalist sadly concluded, “Too often, the truth never had a chance.”

More than anything, the January 6 Committee is trying to counteract false information about the 2020 election. It’s a tough assignment. It’s hard to understand how so many American citizens could have been hoodwinked. It’s alarming how easy it is to convince millions of people of a lie, that so many other millions can clearly see is not true.

Someone once said, “It’s a lot easier to fool someone than to convince someone they’ve been fooled.” That’s what the January 6 Committee is trying to do -- convince many Americans they’ve been fooled. We won’t know until future elections if a large segment of American voters is convinced they were lied to about the 2020 election.

I was struck by the willingness of so many White House officials and supporters of the former president to tell the truth about what was going on before January 6. The witnesses – all Republicans – testified that claims of widespread election fraud were ridiculous. They didn’t hold back, calling it nonsense, nuts, crazy - finally running out of words to describe efforts to overturn the election.

It was obvious that not one of these people believed the election was stolen from Trump.

Unfortunately, they all failed to tell the public the truth a long time ago. They could have declared Joe Biden was fairly elected a long time ago. Why didn’t they admit months ago there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud? Or that all the crazy claims of dead people voting and truckloads of Biden votes being dumped into the system were just that – crazy claims. They knew the notion of a stolen election was bogus, but said nothing.

Vice President Mike Pence has never said a word to the American people about Trump’s pressure to illegally overturn the election. His passivity and blind obedience have enabled Trump’s wrongdoings for far too long.

White House officials should have called out Trump’s crazy lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and the nutty Pillow Guy. That could have ended the nonsense about voter fraud constantly being fed to Trump’s gullible supporters. And still is today.

Misinformation about the election began immediately after the election. Actually, it was spread by Trump before the election. He was telling everyone the only way he could lose would be if the election were rigged. He said the election was rigged when he lost to Ted Cruz in the 2016 Iowa caucus. And he said the election was rigged when Hillary won the popular vote in the 2016 general election. He even declared the election rigged when he didn’t win an Emmy for “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Since it is second nature for Trump to lie, the truth about the 2020 election was in jeopardy the minute Biden was declared the winner.

The January 6 Committee hearings are at least giving truth a fighting chance.