A Moment of Silence for the Bowling Green Massacre: The practice of muddying the truth is destroying our democracy

Adam Lyman, Staff Writer

The day has come when the atrocity of Trump’s policies has become unbearable, when I can no longer stand silent against the barrage of lies coming from the White House. The new president’s administration tries to sugar-coat his falsehoods, dismissing them as post-facts or alternative facts. I want to tell it how it is. These are lies.

Lies can ruin reputations and result in mass misinformation. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “the cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.”

Jefferson’s wisdom still holds true to this day. The information we get from the media and the government determines how we formulate opinions and make decisions. Thus, the media has an immense responsibility in making sure its information is truthful. Lying, especially when spread by the President of the United States, is arguably the biggest threat to a democracy.

The claims above regarding the veracity of White House commentary are not unsubstantiated. The most recent controversy caused by these lies is the Bowling Green Massacre. If you’ve scrolled through a Facebook feed in the past week or at least read a news headline, you’ll know that the entire event is a blatant lie. Of course, Trump’s aide, Kellyanne Conway, was trying to justify the travel ban for which Trump’s representatives are so passionately battling.

The incident Conway was referring to was the discovery of two Iraqi refugees who were arrested, leading to a re-examination of the refugee program in Iraq for six months. No one was harmed in this situation. Conway repeated this lie on multiple occasions, both on Hardball with Chris Matthews and again in an interview with Cosmopolitan.

Conway was deliberately misleading the public, which is unacceptable for anyone, let alone a high-ranking White House staffer.

Perhaps fueled by his ego, the president has consistently pushed a lie that three to five million people, mostly in California and New York—states he lost by a large margin—voted illegally. When asked to cite evidence of this bold claim, he broadly referenced studies and papers without providing specific examples.

When many prominent figures in election law came forward rejecting Trump’s claim, he refused to back down. The scariest part of this lie is that it has traction. Around a quarter of people polled actually believed his statement. Something is decidedly wrong if the public starts believing lies propagated by the government.

The truth is not what you choose to believe. Rather, it is dictated by fact. Trump’s administration has proven time and again it cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

Having to take everything the White House says with a grain of salt is incredibly dangerous to our democracy. Attacking the media and so clearly distorting reality will lead to an uninformed public, which can allow the administration to pursue its agenda with little to no opposition.

To remedy this, all media sources need to drop the facade and not be afraid to call the president out for lying. Most importantly, the media must inform the public of what is real, so that we can preserve our democracy and avoid falling into the trap of a total demagogue.