The Big Lie (?) of Donald Trump
I’m a conservative Republican and evangelical Christian going out on a limb about a practice in journalism.
The issue I’ll be focusing on is the ‘common’ habit of journalists calling Donald Trump’s statements about the rigging of the 2020 election, “The Big Lie”. And, if you stick around, you’ll find out how I want your help with this concern in a way that could show if the problem is even wider.
I believe in creationism, and I could be wrong; evolution could be the correct way our solar system and humanity came into being, or there could be another unknown method. But am I lying when I say that creationism is true? As I understand dishonesty, it’s only if I know that evolution is true and make a statement about the truth of creationism, that I would be lying. In the same way, a news organization that calls President’s Trump’s statements ‘The Big Lie’ can’t, with complete integrity, accurately say that unless they have proof that he knows he’s not telling the truth.
Where’s the Proof?
In correspondence I sent to journalists, and others, who have used the ‘Big Lie’ argument, I asked “Do you have proof that former President Trump is lying when he claims that the presidential election was rigged and that he actually won?”
Later in my communication to them, I explained that I was “working on an article about the danger to our culture, of statements, such as yours, that may sound to many like facts but could be opinions.” I also let them know “I’ve been a Republican my entire life and voted for Donald Trump in both presidential elections,” but “wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he is lying when he makes his claims about the 2020 election.”
Then I went on to, what I think is, important points to this issue. I wrote, “I believe there are other possible explanations for his statements. They could come from an ignorance way beyond the norm; an arrogance making him believe he was cheated because he’s too wonderful and popular not to have won; or a delusional state needing medical intervention.”
“As I understand it, if either of these is the reason behind his continued claims for losing the election, or if there’s another I haven’t thought of, then he’s not a liar. And if that’s true, then people calling him one could contribute to an already unsettled political landscape in our country.”
Not Telling the Truth
Is President Trump lying? I think there’s strong evidence that the former president is not telling the truth, but that’s significantly different than knowing he’s lying. Perhaps the House select committee, investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, will uncover this ‘missing’ proof, but for now, I don’t know the answer with certainty, and none of the people I contacted responded with the proof I was searching for.
And there’s the problem. Without providing proof, there almost certainly will be those in the country who will take offense at the words, “The Big Lie.” And we have plenty of evidence in history to show that when that happens, bad consequences can result for parts of our society.
So with journalistic pride at stake, along with helping to maintain a peaceful society, as much as is possible, I think people in the news should be monitoring their choice of words more closely and perhaps even retracting some of the statements that have been made. But wait, that’s not all.
I’m encouraging you, our readers, who we highly value, to search for examples of people who have called others liars without providing proof. I fear this is not just a ‘Trump’ thing and you can help me prove it. In a way it will be sad if we find multiple examples of this type of communication, but it will also show us that it’s not just a thing of people who distrust President Trump.
So I encourage you to get out there and look for examples in written or video format, from any source you can think of. Here are some ideas to help you get started: magazine articles, blogs, newspapers, TV news, books, music, social media posts. You get the idea so don’t throw in the towel until you’ve checked it out and haven’t been able to find anything.
And when you locate an example, comment on this article, and include a link so others can read/hear it for themselves. And let’s all learn a lesson from this…being careful in what we say is important to the well-being of our culture.
NOTE: After either hearing them refer to “The Big Lie” or reading those words online, I reached out, from the middle of July to early November, via email or online connection pages, to Jim Acosta, Alisyn Camerota, and Fredrika Whitfield of CNN, Texas House Member James Talarico, U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, and Chauncey Devega of Salon. None of them responded.