It has been over 20 years since Dennis McCallum published The Death of Truth: What’s Wrong With Multiculturalism, the Rejection of Reason and the New Postmodern Diversity in 1996. We are witnessing the full impact of the death of truth in our culture today.
Fake News is not a new reality for Americans, but it has taken until 2019 for the average American to accept that when it comes to journalism, there is no truth anymore. If truth died in 1996, we will put the shovel to journalism in 2019.
Two hate hoax stories in the last month serve as the final stake in the heart for American journalism. The first, the Covington Catholic School debacle, and the second, the Jussie Smollett story, showed journalists for what they really are in 2019: unashamed political hacks so devoted to the Cult of Progressivism they see no truth beyond what they believe truth to be.
That is indeed sad.
From the New York Times to the LA Times to the Washington Post to the Associated Press, Reuters, ABC News, and CNN, they all pushed forward the unproven narrative of Smollett’s alleged assault as if it were proven fact. Politicians from Nancy Pelosi to Cory Booker to Kamala Harris all expressed their outrage at the “culture of hate” that permeates America. (See “Did the Media Jump the Gun on the Jussie Smollett Story?“)
When the Chicago Police Department started to suggest the the accusation was a hoax, you could almost hear a collective, “Noooooooooooooooo” from the leftists elites.
I think Nana Efua Mumford writing in the Washington Post best summed up the leftist angst concerning the possibility that Smollett made up the story:
If Smollett’s story is found to be untrue, it will cause irreparable damage to the communities most affected. Smollett would be the first example skeptics cite when they say we should be dubious of victims who step forward to share their experiences of racist hate crimes or sexual violence. The incident would be touted as proof that there is a leftist conspiracy to cast Trump supporters as violent, murderous racists. It would be the very embodiment of “fake news.”
And that reason, more than any other, is why I need this story to be true, despite its ugliness and despite what it would say about the danger of the world I live in. The damage done would be too deep and long-lasting. This could be one tragedy that the Lyon family — and more importantly, the ordinary people who loved the show and invested in Smollett and his character — could never overcome.
Sometimes even the most devoted disciples of the Cult of Progressivism and their doctrine of intersectionality trip over the truth, and the truth still hurts.
Mumford is correct. If it is proven that Smollett was race-bating and staged the entire story in order to sow mistrust and deceit, then his actions and the actions of the celebrity leftists who voiced the emotion-laden support for Smollett in the hours after the story broke minimize and discredit all victims of true racism and violence.
That is another unintended consequence of the Cult of Progressivism: true racism and our ability to call it out and identify it with authority and integrity has also died.
How can we stand in judgment of someone accused of racism or violence when every day new stories emerge that trumpet the left’s desire to prove their narrative right only to learn that their entire narrative is nothing but a house of cards. Racism, violence, and the host of other labels the left throws around like confetti have lost their value and impact in our culture. That is sad.
In many ways, I read Mumford’s editorial as the rough draft of an obituary for journalism in America. “I need this story to be true, despite its ugliness and despite what it would say about the danger of the world I live in. The damage done would be too deep and long-lasting.”
Unfortunately, the elitist left will not learn from this painful lesson. Just as they quickly brushed the Covington hoax under the red carpet, so this hoax will quickly die and the Progressive bandwagon will wait until the next big story about MAGA-wearing thugs surfaces and they will race to twitter to express their outrage and support.
A generation ago, Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America,” used to sign off with the words, “And that’s the way it is…”
Today, journalists end their report with the words, “And that’s the way we want it to be, so it is true.”