While politics has always been sleazy, one of the more concerning trends occurring in this arena – especially with the advent of the internet — is use of the phrase “If true” and all its derivatives — perpetrated by the media and those taken in by it. One of the first stories that brought this awful phrase to light surrounded Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory – ass kicking – of Jimmy Carter (emphasis mine).
Congressional Democratic leaders today ordered a formal investigation into whether Ronald Reagan’s Presidential campaign made a deal with Iran in 1980 to delay the release of American hostages until after the election.
Thomas S. Foley, the House Speaker, and George J. Mitchell, the Senate Democratic leader, said they had designated the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to supervise separate but coordinated inquiries.
“These allegations are both persist ent [sic] and disturbing,” the two leaders said in a joint statement. “We have no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, but the seriousness of the allegations, and the weight of circumstantial information, compel an effort to establish the facts.”
(Read the whole piece. You could copy virtually the entire article, and paste it into 2016 as a lesson in witch hunts with no evidence. The only thing you’d have to change is in today’s world, Democrats didn’t back down)
“We have no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing” should have been the end of that conversation, but it wasn’t. While rumors persisted, it still didn’t come to the level we now see in the phony Russian “collusion” investigation of President Trump.
I first noticed the consequences of this awful phrase in the 2012 presidential race where then-Senator Harry Reid (D-UT) accused Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes. Naturally, the media ran with the story that multi-millionaire Romney is a tax cheat (and an abuser of dogs, but why get into that now?). It’s all we heard for at least a couple weeks. After Romney lost – for a host of reasons, chief among them he was a bad candidate – Harry Reid was accused of lying about Romney’s taxes. Reid’s response: “It worked, didn’t it?” Indeed it did, because people took a bad accusation and ran with it without any evidence. This upends all pretense of innocent until proven guilty.
Now we’re seeing all manner of “bombshell” stories and rumors hinted, implied, or flat-out broadcasted across all of media concerning President Trump. The more recent was an accusation that the president told Michael Cohen, one of his former attorneys, to lie about the investigation into collusion. The Atlantic ran with “IMPEACH,” CNN was of course breathless in anticipation, and naturally Twitter exploded with GET HIM. Virtually all of these media types preceded their remarks with “If true.”
We need to appreciate how dangerous this is.
Innocent until proven guilty is fundamental to everything we hold dear in this country, and codified and guaranteed in the 5th and 14th amendments to the Constitution, requiring legal procedures to establish due process and guilt before any punishment can be enforced.
“If true,” when put through Democrat media, prevents evidence from appearing, convicts without trial, and alleviates all moral and legal responsibility from those reporting the falsehoods.
Let’s try a few:
* I don’t know if Barack Obama eats puppies – wait, bad example. He admitted to eating a dog — but I’ve heard rumors they were alive first.
* Hillary Clinton, I’m told, sacrificed a baby goat upon a satanic alter, and bathed in its blood.
* Kamala Harris is a man
* Elizabeth Warren, Chiefette Sitting Bull, injects black tar heroin every day
I have no evidence of these but, hey, when has that stopped anyone from running with the story.
Do not let “If true” get legs, my friends. It’s a slippery slope to a cliff we’re destined to plummet from if we’re not careful.