The Dominion lawsuit against Fox News is exposing the lies of the so-called news organization. Filings reveal emails showing Fox News personalities like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity knew election conspiracies were bunk, but they kept reporting them. Hell, they’re still reporting them. Carlson worries that Trump will destroy him if he doesn’t repeat what he knows are lies. They are more concerned with losing their viewers than they are about telling the truth or protecting our democracy. 

Rupert Murdoch, for his part, told his people to help Republicans win the Georgia Senate races “any way we can.” Clearly, they are a partisan operation, not a news outlet, and should be subject to Federal election laws. That has seemed blatantly obvious for years, but now we have the ownership admitting it. 

Nobody should ever take Fox News seriously, but, of course, conservatives will never hear this stuff. They’re buried away listening to talk radio, Fox, or Newsmaxx. They’re reading right-wing websites like the Washington Examiner or The Daily Caller that will never mention these stories. No, in the conservative world, the Dominion lawsuits aren’t happening at all. 

You know what else isn’t happening? The Georgia grand jury that found no evidence of voter fraud in the state and suggested that people who claimed it happened committed perjury during their testimony. Just more Republicans lying. I guess that’s not news. 

What the Fox News leadership said about their viewers is true for most conservative media outlets: They are more worried about offending their audience than telling the truth. The Washington Examiner and Daily Caller are committing lies of omission where Fox is just outright lying. 

Lying has become so much a part of conservative culture that there’s no penalty for it. George Santos made up his entire history and he’s not facing any repercussions. Margorie Taylor Greene promoted election conspiracies and crazy stories about Jewish space lasers and she got rewarded by the House leadership.

Now, we’ve got another Republican member of Congressman who fabricated his life story. Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles claims to be an economist and “a former member of law enforcement, worked in international sex crimes, specifically child trafficking.” Apparently, none of it’s true, but since he’s a Republican, none of it matters, either.  It’s getting so common for Republicans to lie about their background, that it’s no longer a serious news story. We have Donald Trump to thank for that. 

And it’s not just election denial and resume enhancement. Republicans lie about policies, too. In North Carolina right now, they are getting rid of pistol permits. To hear them tell it, more guns make us safer, but the leadership knows that’s not true. Just go to the legislature.

I spent about a decade hanging around the General Assembly from the mid-1990s to the mid-aughts. Back then, we had an assault weapons ban and other gun control measures. After a decade of making guns more accessible, we now have metal detectors to get into legislative buildings. 

This week, I was denied entry in the Legislative Building because I had a pocket knife. I’ve carried a pocket knife my entire life and, I assure you, I carried one when I spending time over there 15 years ago or so. So did a whole lot of other people. 

Those metal detectors aren’t meant to stop pocket knives. They’re there to stop people from bringing guns into the building. And why? Because guns kill people, a whole lot of people, and there are so many guns out there that our society is far more dangerous, not safer. If it were safer there wouldn’t be metal detectors to get into the People’s House, as we used to call it.

Who ordered those metal detectors put in place? Why the Republican leadership, the same people who told us more guns make us safer. It was a lie and they knew it was a lie. 

Not only are we less safe, we’re less free. If we were more free, I would be able to walk into the Legislature Building without going through a metal detector and without concern about the government confiscating my goddam Swiss Army knife. 

And their lies about making us more safe also contribute to the problem of police shootings. Thirty years ago, police didn’t think everyone they encountered was armed. Today, they do. That’s the default. Now, our interactions with police are more risky, because we are less safe, not more so. And we are consequently less free because we have more to fear from our encounters with agents of the state. 

The Republican Party has embraced a culture of dishonesty. It began with the rise of talk radio and Fox News. They’ve spent the last 30 or 40 years convincing a portion of the population to believe their lies and ignore the truth. Now, the people who know better are more concerned with angering the people they’ve conditioned instead of holding anyone accountable for anything. 

Instead of debunking the lies of a George Santos or the cadre of election deniers, they try to claim that Democrats and progressives are as bad as they are. It’s a political campaign strategy. Don’t rebut the attack; make your opponent look just as bad. They don’t address the former President of the United States when he knowingly lies about the election result. They point to Stacy Abrams and her claim that her election was stolen. Or to the conspiracy theorists on the left who claimed there was voter fraud in Ohio in 2004. There’s no broad support for those claims among Democrats. The comparisons aren’t valid, but when the Republican media machine makes them repeatedly and nobody in the GOP leadership debunks them, they become the reality for the conservative base. 

We live in the world that George Orwell warned us about. Part of our society no longer knows the difference between the truth and a lie. One party is exploiting that casualty of our discourse for political gain. They reward the liars in their midst and they protect those who distort the truth. They know better, but they are more concerned with losing the trust of the people they are manipulating and deceiving. And they are a threat to our democracy and our safety.


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