The ‘Narrative’ Is Killing Us

The truth has been politicized in America, and this is absolutely a war against the public good. Something is either true or it isn’t, and whether that truth helps or hurts someone politically (or any other way) should play no part in the decision to make accurate information available to the public.

Oh, but it does.

I’m not naive enough to expect politicians or corporate bigwigs to routinely fall on their swords exposing fraud or falsehood in their ranks (though some honorable people certainly do); greed and lust for power have been around as long as there have been human beings.

But there was a time when the pursuit of truth was an express aspiration of journalism. Today, however, too many so-called journalists have been educated to see themselves as “activists” — warriors for a variety of “causes” — with a duty to color, ignore or even hide the truth if doing so helps advance a desired objective, like cleansing the human race of all social ills, saving the planet or getting their preferred candidate into a position of power.

The story that the public hears instead of the truth is called the “narrative.” And the narratives are killing us. Literally.

Ann Coulter’s column last week is a perfect example. Titled “Apparently, Not All Black Lives Matter,” Coulter cited FBI crime statistics showing not only that most murders in the United States are committed by Blacks, but that most victims of those murders are other Blacks. She excoriated the Biden administration and Democrats, as well as the media, for their hypocrisy and racial hatemongering. The real facts and statistics don’t make the news because they run counter to the narrative that “white supremacy” is the biggest threat to the nation’s peace and security. Focusing on the false flag of “white supremacy” means that attention and resources are diverted away from the causes of so many deaths in America’s Black community. This is inexcusable.

Homelessness is another example. The “narrative” around homelessness includes the position that involuntary commitment of the seriously mentally ill is not “compassionate”; that poverty can be remediated with taxation and wealth redistribution; that drug abuse can be contained by decriminalization or sanction-free, subsidized “injection zones,” and that living in the streets is somehow a constitutional right, or a matter of “dignity.”

The truth is much uglier. In Los Angeles County, for example, the number of homeless people has been exploding year after year. In 2013, L.A. County had 39,000 homeless. In 2014, it was 44,000. Los Angeles County now has more than 75,000 homeless, and that number is an increase of nearly 10% from last year. Homeless encampments are riddled with disease and crime, and cities like San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle are facing the departure of residents and businesses fed up with violence and ever-present human waste.

How many lives have been destroyed or lost because of a slavish adherence to a “narrative” and the refusal to face reality?

The same can be said of decisions to reduce the penalties for shoplifting, as California did via Proposition 47 in 2014. The “narrative” was that prosecuting shoplifting as a felony contributed to prison overcrowding and disproportionately affected minorities. The reality is that retail theft in California (and elsewhere) has now become brazen and even more widespread, creating huge and often unsustainable losses for businesses. (Total retail theft in the U.S. in 2021 has been estimated at $100 billion.) Businesses are closing and leaving areas rife with theft.

The narrative around unfettered immigration is also closely tied to “compassion” and “combating racism.” And the Biden administration loves to claim that our borders are “secure.” In fact, the doors are being held securely open. And open borders mean increased crime. In 2021, the first year of Joe Biden’s presidency, the number of crimes committed by illegal immigrants increased 400%. Cartels traffic children and women in the illegal sex trade, and ever-more lethal drugs, especially fentanyl. Overdoses in the U.S. attributable to fentanyl increased almost 300% in just five years, from 6 of every 100,000 deaths to 22 in every 100,000 deaths.

And then there’s the COVID-19 pandemic, where the narrative was that anyone concerned about the safety of the vaccines, or pointing out the truth that masks do nothing to prevent the spread of the virus, or opposing lockdowns was “going to kill people.” Those who were inclined to try pharmaceutical treatments like ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine instead of multiple shots were painted as knuckle-dragging cretins eating horse paste. But the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis were real, as were the concerns about masking children and closing schools.

An enemy of the truth is an enemy of the people. That goes double for those whose job descriptions should include relentless pursuit of the truth and informing the public of that truth. In this climate, those who are willing to investigate, ask hard questions and hold powerful and popular people’s feet to the fire, regardless of their political viewpoints or stated aspirations to “save the world,” deserve our thanks. Their job is even more difficult than it used to be.

But the rest of you? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

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Laura Hollis

Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is a native of Champaign, Illinois. She received her undergraduate degree in English and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame. Hollis' career as an attorney has spanned 28 years, the past 23 of which have been in higher education. She has taught law at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and has nearly 15 years' experience in the development and delivery of entrepreneurship courses, seminars and workshops for multiple audiences. Her scholarly interests include entrepreneurship and public policy, economic development, technology commercialization and general business law. In addition to her legal publications, Hollis has been a freelance political writer since 1993, writing for The Detroit News, HOUR Detroit magazine, and the Christian Post, on matters of politics and culture. She is a frequent public speaker. Hollis has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education. She is married to Jess Hollis, a musician, voiceover artist and audio engineer, and they live in Indiana with their two children, Alistair and Celeste.

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