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Progressive Misinformation Skews Our Debates

Rich Lowry writes at National Review Online about the impact of progressives’ attempts to spread false information.

How does a stupid and ridiculous lie come to be embraced and promulgated by top officials of the United States government?

Well, as it turns out, it’s easy.

You start with an easily misinterpreted news photo that seemingly confirms progressive opponents’ assumption about immigration enforcement: that the agents policing our southern border are cruel racists.

Then you work up a Twitter mob saying that the photo has captured a tableau of hideous abuse.

You add open-borders advocacy organizations and civil-rights groups denouncing the supposed misconduct in the harshest possible terms.

You throw on top a vice president and a White House press secretary who have no regard for the truth and are happy to push any narrative convenient to them.

Finally, as the pièce de résistance, you deploy a president of the United States who is too cynical or doddering to bother with the facts — and who is usually following the crowd rather than leading it — and you get him to make a statement endorsing the ludicrous fictions about the misleading photo.

This was the path to President Joe Biden’s condemnation of mounted Border Patrol agents for having “strapped” Haiti migrants at Del Rio, Texas; this is what led him to declare that they “will pay” for their “horrible” and “outrageous” behavior.

Never mind that there was no strapping, that the border agents did nothing wrong besides trying to enforce a border crossing while working for an administration fundamentally uninterested in the task, and that there is an ongoing investigation of the agents — itself a travesty — that Biden was prejudging. …

… The agents were, in a common, long-standing practice, using horses because of the difficulty of the terrain, and they were attempting to block migrants from entering the country illegally. They didn’t have whips but were twirling reins to control their horses. Within hours of the photo creating a stir, these facts were readily ascertainable.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...